DanceStar Party

Dance games have only been a recent investment for me. I’m a lover of video games, but I’m shy about standing up and jumping around in order to play them, because I’m terrible at dancing and I feel like an absolute plum.

I have found that space is an important issue for dancing games. There’s just about enough space in our living room for Just Dance 3 on the Kinect, but it is also an opportunity to elbow friends and loved ones in the face without repercussion, because you are “dancing”. DanceStar Party is very similar. Some of the same songs. Some of the same moves. But being on the Playstation Move, you’ve got to do it with a stick in your hand (an opportunity to hit friends and loved ones in the face with a stick).

For that reason alone I had a preconception that dancing holding a Move controller would be worse than dancing without one, but DanceStar Party has managed to address my biggest issue with Just Dance 3, which is that at the end of a dance, my boyfriend and I have to leave the room and look round the corner at our scores so we don’t accidentally breathe and are forced to replay the song or start the next one. Once I was dancing half way through a song on my own, having selected just one player, and Kinect suddenly decided I was two people. Using the Move controller removes these odd discrepancies, and navigation is easy, because while dancing you’re free to move and jump around as much as you like, while movement through menus only happens when you hold the trigger at the same time, so you can do whatever you like without freaking out the menu system.

The dancing is a lot of fun. There’s a range of tracks to suit a number of tastes, with more available to download, and each dance can be played on beginner, intermediate, or the absolutely exhausting professional. While you’re dancing, the music video of your chosen song sits on the left, a dancer to imitate performs in the middle, while the next moves slide towards the centre of the screen. I was especially pleased that LMFAO’s Party Rock on Professional wanted me to actually shuffle, there’s some extra satisfaction in feeling as though you’re following parts of the video itself. (Or at least I thought I was following, until I watched the video afterwards. Which brings me onto the PS Eye).

This is a feature that I was, initially, a big fan of. The Playstation Eye takes photos and records short videos of you during each dance, confirming that, yes, I dance like an absolute plum. But I’m also happy to laugh at myself afterwards. I thought that using a video, and a few images from some of my performances would be a great way to illustrate this review, but unfortunately this is not possible. At the end of a dance, you can see all the photos taken and watch the recorded video, each of which you can upload to Facebook, Twitter, save to your PS3, or upload to the community (the community being the DanceStar Party website). Incidentally, uploading to Facebook or Twitter still means uploading to the community, by posting a URL on your chosen site simultaneously.

I decided to save some highlights on my PS3, which I’d be able to copy over to my PC and upload to Ready Up and YouTube to show you all. Except I can’t. Saving the data from this game to your PS3 keeps it in a game data folder which cannot be copied anywhere. So I uploaded to the community instead, two days ago. I’ve visited the community site several times each day to check the latest photos and videos, and there are new ones appearing every day, but not mine. There’s no function to search through community uploads, and if you log in to the site there is no way to view your own uploads.

I can’t help but feel this is a huge missed opportunity. Instead of giving users the freedom to spread their DanceStar Party results anywhere and everywhere, (including their own home-made dance routines) they’ve decided it’s better for the whole lot to only go on their own website, which is unfortunately lacking useful features to sort or search for what you’re looking for. Some influence from Skate 3’s recorded videos and photos would’ve gone down a treat, or Dirt 3’s replay videos connecting straight to YouTube. It’s a frustrating twist on an otherwise great feature. Perhaps terrible dancing like mine requires immediate censorship, or they’re worried players will do something obscene with a Move controller and post it on the internet.







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