Reviewed: November 28, 2011
Released: October 18, 2011
Just when it looked like the dancing genre was all but dead, console makers have found a new reason to get gamers up off their feet. Fueled by the recent advances in motion technology – particularly Microsoft’s Kinect camera, and Sony’s Move system – the genre that was once a worldwide craze with the wildly popular Dance Dance Revolution series – is back with a whole new bag of tricks. |
On the forefront of the resurgence is the Kinect-exclusive release of Harmonix Music System’s Dance Central franchise. Given Harmonix’s impressive lineage with music technology (Frequency, Amplitude, Guitar Hero 1&2 and Rock Band 1&2), they have all but perfected the dance genre with Dance Central on Microsoft’s motion-sensing camera.
PlayStation 3 owners cried foul with a series of lame third-party attempts at the genre, and Sony has attempted to answer with the first-party release of Everybody Dance. But while there are a lot of aspects that Everybody Dance gets right, there are nearly as many that it gets wrong. Thankfully, the good ultimately outweighs the bad and we are left with a title that – while not quite near the caliber of the Xbox’s Dance Central – is still one of the most enjoyable and entertaining dancing games on the market.
With Everybody Dance, it’s all about having fun – and it delivers a great experience with a kick-ass soundtrack spanning a surprising variety of musical genres and time periods – from old school’s Elton John (look him up, youngsters) to the new school’s Lady Gaga, from the 70’s era R&B of Kool and the Gang to the modern-day viral indie pop of OK Go!, Everybody Dance has it’s musical bases covered. Gamers can be Kung Fu Fighting with Karl Douglas one moment, dancing with themselves (and Billy Idol) the next, and finish it up by being a Rude Boy with Rhianna – it is quite an eclectic mix of music, and one of the better soundtracks in the genre.
So how does Everybody Dance judge each player’s scores? I have absolutely no idea. I know it uses the Move Controller to register right the hand movement, but while the game purports to use the PlayStation Eye Camera for the body, that could not be substantiated with any degree of certainty. It was seldom clear how or why scores were being doled out as they were, and determining the “winner” often seemed as though it were a random act.
But winning was really the least of our motives, as Everybody Dance is so damn entertaining. A good deal of this entertainment comes from the exceptional presentation; combining FMV onscreen dancing, with an overlay window featuring an in-room view from the PlayStation Eye Camera (with trippy light tracers following the glowing Move controller balls), topped off with hot-swapping of the licensed music videos.
If that weren’t enough, each dance ends with a series of photos and video highlights of the action. Players can immediately share these highlights via the Everybody Dance website, with linking to Twitter and Facebook – users will need to turn their Facebook settings on in the main PlayStation X-Menu Bar for this to work correctly. Believe me, the results are hilarious – and with co-op play (2 at a time) for up to 20 players, you can imagine that the highlight reels end up being the hit of the party.
Everybody Dance is big on party play, but it also has some unique single-player modes – most noticeably the Workout and Dance Creator modes. Workout mode is a bit like a Tae Bo lesson with a calorie counter – it’s pretty stripped down, but it is nice knowing that all the flailing is actually doing some good. Dance Creator is neat – allowing gamers to choreograph their own routines for later play - but the fact that the routines can only be played locally is a real bummer.
Everybody Dance is no Dance Central, nor is it a Just Dance, but it is a heck of a lot of fun. The game has some of the better Move integration of any of the third party games, and the online sharing of highlight photos and videos is a real hoot – especially with Facebook and Twitter integration. If Everybody Dance was retailing at $60, I would definitely steer gamers elsewhere, but with a current sale price floating between $20 and $40, it is definitely worth a second look – especially for gamers who like party play.