Sunday, October 21, 2012
Sunday, October 21, 2012
Well, I've been playing Just Dance 4 for well over a week now – nearly two, actually, and I know some of my friends here at SP are curious about the game, or planning to buy a copy of their own, so I thought I'd review it. :-)
In three simple words...
So, what does Just Dance 4 have that the others don't?
Well, different songs, obviously. (Full list at the bottom of this review). Some of the ones that are somewhat iconic – Time Warp, Everybody Needs Somebody To Love (Blues Brothers), and the Ketchup Song, for example – use recognisable moves from the films/pop videos, which is important to me. Another Wii game - Dance on Broadway – has a version of Time Warp, and it is AWFUL!
Anyone familiar with the IT Crowd will recognise the characters dancing to Barry White's You're The First, The Last, My Everything. :-)
Incidentally, I can say with some certainty, thanks to this game, that I do NOT have the 'Moves Like Jagger'. More like the moves like Carlton (Fresh Prince fans will get this reference, LOL)
I recognised at least half the songs on the playlist straightaway, and most of the rest I liked as soon as I heard them.
Were there any disappointments with the song choices? Yes, a couple. Oops I Did It Again has a boring narrative halfway through that spoils the flow of the dance, and The Final Countdown has gone all wrestling-stylee, and not in a good way to my mind.
That aside, they are good dances, with interesting, and fun routines.
What else does JD4 do that is new?
Just Dance-Off!: Challenge your friends in 6 rounds of dance battles with the all-new Battle mode! Go head to head to unique choreographies and music to be crowned the dance battle champion!
Have to say that this is my least favourite part of the game. You can play it alone, against AI, if you don't have a real opponent, which at least means it is accessible to everyone, but for me it is a manic, unfathomable, waste of disc space! I can't even figure out how to adequately describe what happens … but I'll try.
Two songs are pitted together. For example – Beauty and a Beat Vs Call Me Maybe
You choose which song to battle with, and there are five rounds. During the first round you seem to dance a combo of the two songs, with each person being 'hit' when their opponent performs the moves better than them. The winner of that round has their song as the one to battle with in the next round, and so on, the winner being the one who wins the most rounds. Each round lasts about a minute or less.
Try it yourself. You may like it.
It may be one of those elements of the game that is more fun to use once you have mastered the routines of the dances involved. I will revisit it at some point, and see whether it improves my enjoyment. I have my doubts, though.
Just Sweat Mode – Now that has had a massive makeover! It also seems to be the part of the game that people either loathe or love!
Personally, I love it! :-)
When the game starts you have a choice of going into Just Dance, or Just Sweat.
Just Sweat has 4 sections initially (you open at least one more as you accumulate Mojo which opens up extras) The ones I have open are:
Aerobics in Space - Dynamic Fitness Steps/80's Pop Music
Sweat Around the World - Latin Dance Practice/World Music
Electro Body Combat Cardio - Fighting Exercise/Electro Music
Cheerleaders Boot Camp Extreme - Training/Punk Rock Music
Swinging 60's Workout - Funny Health Conditioning/Classy Pop Music
Each section has the choice of a 10 minute, 25 minute or 45 minute workout.
How does it work?
Well, let's take a ten minute Aerobics in Space workout as an example:
You start off with a 2 minute warm-up with an aerobics instructor, to 80s style music. At the top of the screen is a meter that gauges how active you are being as you warm-up. At the end of the warm-up, the meter will tell you if you have been 'Intense' or 'Cool', and this will dictate which song the programme will choose for your first song. (You get warm-up, song 1, exercise routine, song 2, cool down in a ten-minute workout). How energetic you are during the first song thus dictates whether you then get a Cool, or an Intense workout with the aerobics instructor, and so on through the second song. The workout is completed with a two minute cool down.
During your workout, there is a calorie counter in the top left corner (which is a wonderful addition to the game in my view), and at the end of the workout it tells you how many calories you have burned and how many sweat points you have accumulated.
A word to the Spark-Wise on the calorie counter...
I checked the exercise I had done, by comparing the calorie count to the same number of minutes according to the Sparkpeople Fitness Tracker – 'Dancing: disco, ballroom, square'. Turns out the game vastly underestimates the calories you burn. I would suggest that whatever total it tells you - double it!
The other workouts are also fun. You have the option of 80s Music, Latin Dance, Kick Boxing, Cheerleading, and some bizarre version of the Sixties! LOL
The main issue some people have with the Just Sweat is that you don't get to choose which songs you get to dance to. I can understand why that would irritate if you have particular favourites. I tend to find, though, that being freed from having to choose which songs to use actually helps me just concentrate on the exercise. JD4 is certainly the most exercise-oriented game of the collection so far.
I will also say that I have tried all the ten minute options, and they got me moving. I also tried the 25 minute Aerobics option, and proved it has the right to call itself Just SWEAT! LOL Can't wait to find the oomph for a 45 minute workout! Oh boy!
So, what else is there?
Well, there are duets and dance crews like earlier games, and there are dance mash-ups, which are unlocked by accumulating 'mojo' as you play. Added to this a few songs have 'extreme versions' to unlock. Anyone who has tried the Extreme Barbra Streisand from JD3 will have no trouble guessing how manic these routines can be!
There are also 16 little black and white icons to choose as your avatars for personalising your Dance Card – which is also a new addition to JD4. Your Dance Card contains your total dance time, your star average and your dance style – smooth, energetic, wild, etc, and your favourite dances. I don't know if there is a limit to the number you can create, but we have six already on our game, and there are 16 avatars, after all.
Another new addition is that there is a score card beneath each song, and it records the top five scores for each dance. I wish they had thought of this idea in earlier games.
Finally, each song has six Dance Quests attached – these are based on things like accumulating specific numbers of stars, getting all gold moves, dance styles etc
So, that is about it, I think. The game has plenty of variety. There is something for everyone (except my s-i-l who won't under any circumstances try the game at all). Well, we can't all be dance fans. :-)
It will never be the only JD game I use from now on, but it and JD3 are most definitely the two I will use the most. Until they produce JD5 anyway!
Full Song List for the Just Dance 4 Wii Game (Slight variations exist for Wii U, X Box etc)
Asereje (The Ketchup Song) - Las Ketchup
Beauty and a Beat - Justin Bieber feat. Nicki Minaj
Beware Of The Boys (Mundian To Bach Ke) - Panjabi MC
Call Me Maybe - Carly Rae Jepsen
Can't Take My Eyes Off You - Boys Town Gang
Cercavo Amore - Emma
Crazy Little Thing - Anja
Crucified - Army Of Lovers
Diggin' In The Dirt - Stefanie Heinzmann
Disturbia - Rihanna
Everybody Needs Somebody To Love - Dancing Bros.
Good Feeling - Flo Rida
Hit 'Em Up Style (Oops!) - Blu Cantrell
Hot For Me - A.K.A
I Like It - The Blackout Allstars
(I've Had) The Time Of My Life - Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes
Istanbul - They Might Be Giants
Jailhouse Rock - Elvis Presley
Livin' La Vida Loca - Ricky Martin
Love You Like A Love Song - Selena Gomez and the Scene
Make The Party (Don't Stop) - Bunny Beatz
Maneater - Nelly Furtado
Mas Que Nada - Sergio Mendes feat. The Black Eyed Peas
Moves Like Jagger - Maroon 5 feat. Christina Aguilera
Mr. Saxobeat - Alexandra Stan
Never Gonna Give You Up - Rick Astley
Oh No! - Marina and The Diamonds
On The Floor - Jennifer Lopez feat. Pitbull
Oops!... I Did It Again - The Girly Team
Rock Lobster - B-52's
Rock N' Roll (Will Take You To The Mountain) - Skrillex
Run The Show - Kat DeLuna feat. Busta Rhymes
So What - P!nk
Some Catchin' Up To Do - Sammy
Super Bass - Nicki Minaj
Superstition - Stevie Wonder
The Final Countdown - Europe
Time Warp - Halloween Thrills
Tribal Dance - 2 Unlimited
Umbrella - Rihanna (bonus song not on all editions)
We No Speak Americano - Hit The Electro Beat
What Makes You Beautiful - One Direction
Wild Wild West - Will Smith
You're The First, The Last, My Everything - Barry White
When you get it, if you get it, have fun with it! :-)
Friday, October 19, 2012
Been a fun week for goodies. Some have come (like the veggie crisps which I am being very disciplined about -- so far!!!) Some have gone (like the book I treated an RSPCA inspector too) Well, she was at the charity shop, and we were chatting about favourite authors, and there was this copy of The Lost Symbol that she didn't have, even though she was a massive Dan Brown fan, and as I was at the till paying for my purchases, I couldn't resist treating her. :-)
At the same time I snagged for myself Dan Brown's Angels and Demons, so I have four of his five novels now, plus a Barbara Erskine book - Daughters of Fire, and Stephen King's Dreamcatcher.
I also snagged three very nice M&S cereal bowls for 50p each, and a pedometer, also for 50p. :-)
Gotta love the treasure trove that is the RSPCA shop!
My (early) birthday weekend went very well, aside from a rather sore right wrist and hand.
Bry and Rob arrived very late Thursday, so that we would have a couple of clear days with them.
On the Friday we went to the art gallery and a mooch round the charity shops in town while Tara was at college, then we met her at TenPin and had a game of Bowling - hence the sore hand and wrist.
I've never bowled in my life! I have to say I enjoyed it, but think it very expensive for what you get. Also, I tried bowling with a ten pound ball initially, with large finger holes, and got 9 for each of the first two rounds. But by then my wrist was already hurting, so switched to an 8lb ball, which only has medium size holes. I could get my fingers in but they felt tight further in so I wasn't holding it optimally and didn't do so well after that. I finished on 63. Came second though! LOL. Rob ran away with it, including 2 strikes in his score, though at the beginning he was stood gobsmacked at my score, thinking he actually had some competition! LOLOL
Apparently, my beginner's luck fizzled out. *grin*
So my wrist throbbed for several days, and I've decided that I'm going to have to forget bowling in the future. Funny thing was, it was my back I was worried about, and hadn't considered my wrist being weak. Ah well.
We played air hockey before we left too. Of course, Rob won!
As soon as we got home I had pressies thrust upon me, and it would have been rude not to open them. :-)
Tara bought me the Complete Tru Calling on DVD. That was a real surprise! I really loved that show and was very disappointed when they pulled the plug halfway through the second season.
Rob and Bry finally took notice of the ever increasingly desperate hints I've been dropping for the last few years, and clubbed together to buy me a pair of binoculars!
I actually pointed out a pair on the RSPB website that cost around £30, but Rob did his research, having a passion for his own binoculars, and they got me a really good, but rather expensive pair! Not that I'm complaining, because they are absolutely amazing! I can see everything clearly, from a bird three feet away, to three of Jupiter's Moons!!! I kid you not!
Rob had brought his own binoculars with him, and his tripod, and we set up in the back garden during the evening, and did some stargazing! I had no idea you could do that with binoculars! The tripod is necessary because my hands shake too much to see the detail clearly otherwise, but it was an amazing evening, with us looking at Jupiter, the Seven Sisters, and Andromeda, among others. I haven't looked that closely at the stars since I was a kid, and Dad used to drag us and his huge telescope up St Agnes Beacon to get a view without street lights.
Of course it has been unrelenting cloud cover every night since then. *sigh*
On the Saturday, we drove to Dedham, parked the car, and walked across the fields to Flatford. It was Rob's first visit to Constable Country. Unfortunately, the rain started to threaten as we were heading towards the marshes to see if we could spot some hawks with our binoculars, so we had to head back, but maybe next time they visit we can drive to Manningtree instead and walk to the marshes from there and make the hawks our priority.
We did spot what looked like a cormorant flying over. Not easy to get the binoculars out and focused while holding a mobile phone to take photos I discovered. Ended up trying to hold my phone to my eyes to see the bird while attempting to take a photo with the binoculars! LOLOL
On Sunday, we had a few friends round for a little party before Rob and Bry left mid afternoon. The party was fun. Food was supplied by Waitrose, and all of us barring Rob (who loathes dancing) took turns in pairs playing Just Dance 4. Hilarious fun! :-) A perfect finish to the visit.
I don't know what I'm going to do on my actual birthday. Treat myself to a takeaway maybe. That is a rare treat that I save for occasions like Mothers day and my birthday, so I don't have to cook. :-) I'm also considering a round of the town charity shops looking for some clothes. That is a job best done alone. :-)
Oooh, and if anyone is considering a move to the Westcountry, Bry and Rob have just put their house on the market:
Prime location - close enough to the grave of the owner of The Hound of the Baskervilles to have a really eerie wake-up call!
Enjoy your day!
Thursday, October 18, 2012
Why did nobody tell me about vegetable crisps? They are the most delicious crisps EVER!!! They also go great with dips! AND they are significantly higher in fibre than your standard potato crisps!
I bought a six pack of Brennan's first of all - Parsnips crisps with a sprinkling of salt and cracked black pepper, Beetroot crisps seasalted, and vegetable crisps - a mix of parsnip, carrot, beetroot and sweet potato in one bag lightly sea salted.
Then, realising that the pepper on the parsnips is ok, but preferring the just sea salted ones in the mixed bag, I bought a 100g bag of mixed vegetable crisps made by Waitrose - also a mix of carrot, beetroot, sweet potato and parsnip, lightly salted. I weighed out 25g (28g to be truthful. My hand slipped!) and nommed in. Just as irresistably delicious as the Brennan's ones!
I also have a bag of Tyrrell's Mixed Vegetable Crisps in the cupboard - beetroot, parsnip and carrot.
I am desperately trying to restrict myself to 25g daily. The temptation to keep eating them till the bag is empty is HUGE!!!
Temptation aside, though, I am really really happy that I tried these crisps out.
They can be considered as part (a small part, I grant you) of my five a day. :-) Makes me feel really virtuous! LOL
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