Ubisoft released Just Dance 3 for the Wii and the Xbox back in October 2011, but noticeably absent was a version for the Playstation 3, which didn’t get released until two months later. Those of you who’ve read my rather detailed reviews for the Wii and Xbox versions know that I’m a big fan of this series and have been since the first version came out for the Wii two years ago. The pop music soundtrack has a little of something for everyone, the motion detection is decent, and the choreography is easy-to-follow and a lot of fun. It’s one of the best party games out there.
The best way I can describe Just Dance 3 for the Playstation is that it’s a direct port of the Wii version, nothing more, nothing less. As a result it’s not a bad game, but you can’t help but feel that it could have and should have been so much more.
As with the Wii version, when you start the game you get a pleasantly simple home screen which consists of three menu options: Just Dance, Just Sweat, and Options. Menu navigation is seamless using the Playstation Move controller.
Choosing “Just Dance” lets you select individual songs to dance to or lets you select different playlists that group songs together by style or genre. As with the other versions, as you play you can collect “Mojo Points” to unlock new playing modes, new songs, etc.
Turning on “Just Sweat” mode lets you choose a free session where you can start working out to any song or playlist, or a 7-Day Challenge section with three options of increasing intensity which are roughly the equivalent of walking, running, or swimming 30 minutes a day. As with the other versions, you collect “sweat points” as you dance to different songs. Like the Wii version, you’re basically on the “honor system”. If you just move your hands, you can get a high score. But to get real exercise (and have real fun) you should be putting your whole body into the dancing.
The choreography, graphics, and animations are literally identical to what you’ll see on the Wii and the Xbox. The only noticeable difference I saw was that some details are a little sharper in the PS3 version.
As with the Wii version, you hold a single Move controller in your right hand and mirror the on-screen character’s moves. The motion detection is decent, although not quite to the precision and detail of a game like Dance Central 2 on the Xbox or even Everybody Dance on the PS3. This is by design; while those games stress more complex dance instruction and technical accuracy, Just Dance was clearly designed to be a fun party game first and foremost.
As on the other platforms, all songs are marked with icons that designate their technical complexity and their workout intensity. All the songs can be played by 1 to 4 people, each with their own Move controller. In most of the songs all players dance the same steps, but there are a handful of songs that are cleverly choreographed for two players and four players to dance a full routine with each dancer having his or her own independent steps; these are a ton of fun to play in groups where up to four players can dance and the rest of the group can enjoy an entertaining performance. On the Xbox version multiplayer mode can get awkward, as all four players have to squeeze within the Kinect’s camera view. The PS3 developers wisely designed the game so that if the Move controllers happen to go outside the range of the Playstation Eye camera, the internal accelerometers of the Move controllers will still detect motion (much like a Wii Remote). While this may detract slightly from scoring accuracy, ultimately it makes multiplayer play a lot more fun as players don’t necessarily need to worry about squeezing into a tiny space.
While the port of the Wii functionality was near flawless, I have to admit I was disappointed that they decided to leave it at that. Given the capabilities of the PS3, it could have been so much more. For example, the choreography mode that was developed for the Xbox version is noticeably missing from the PS3 version (a shame given that Sony already demonstrated with Everybody Dance that it could be done and done extremely well on the PS3). Something else in the Xbox version that’s missing from the PS3 version is the ability to see your own video image and compare it to the on-screen character’s movements. Surprisingly, there isn’t even an option for downloadable content, something even the Wii version has.
In addition to the aforementioned omissions, I would have loved to see them push the envelope forward with a “record your performance” feature and the ability to share on social networks, both things which the PS3 is fully capable of. But there’s nothing like that here.
I’d say that Just Dance 3 is ideal for PS3 owners who happen to have friends or relatives who already have Just Dance 3 on the Xbox or Wii. You’ll be able to practice on your PS3 and not miss a beat (literally) when you play the same songs on their systems. Furthermore, if you have a child whose school uses Just Dance 3 in gym classes, this would be a great way for him or her to get a little practice at home. And of course, the fact that it’s casual makes it a lot of fun for families and friends to play together at parties.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for the best dance game on the PS3 and don’t have any ties to Just Dance on other platforms, I’d have to give the edge to Everybody Dance, which does a much better job of maximizing the use of the PS3 Move and the Playstation Eye camera, as well as overall better graphics.