Friday, December 4, 2009

Review of Dance Dance Revolution 3 for Wii


5 out of 5 stars

Still the best way to "Work out without realizing you're working out"

Reviewer: Nutwiisystem December 5, 2009


Dance Dance Revolution 3 for Wii, of course, is first a game and second an exercise title. But ironically, this is the thing that may make it more effective than any "pure" exercise title.

It continues to have the "fun" features which makes DDR so fun to play alone or with friends and family. The dance mat controller was the first and is still the best controller for accurate tracking of movements.

There are different modes to suit everyone from beginners to seasoned pros whose feet move faster than a hummingbird's wings."DDR School" provides an excellent tutorial for those getting started. "Tournament Mode" lets you compete in a "DDR Tournament" with different challenges (you can play yourself or with 3 others, but there's no online support). "Training Mode" will take you step-by-step through any song you choose so you can practice particularly complex moves. "Relaxed Mode" is for those who just want to play without any pressure.

On a positive note, I appreciate the fresher track list with more recognizable music, and I like the fact that they use more actual videos from the actual stars. I also liked that owners of Dance Dance Revolution 2 could unlock costumes and songs with their saved data. I was a little disappointed that the songs and videos are abridged versions and that the soundtrack list was somewhat limited.

But enough about the game itself. The rest of this review will focus on how useful it is for exercise and fitness (i.e. "Workout Mode"). And in this area, it is a solid winner.

Konami invented exercise games before anyone knew what an exercise game was. Long before Wii Fit or Wii Sports, there was Dance Dance Revolution. Kids in malls and homes everywhere were doing 30 minutes of rigorous and sustained aerobic exercise without even realizing it, while their parents with their Jane Fonda videos hardly broke a sweat.

A lot of us had been using DDR for working out, but this version of DDR fully integrates exercise as a game feature, putting it right on par with other "exergames" like Wii Fit Plus and EA Sports Active.

When you start Workout mode, it'll use the balance board to calculate your weight before you start working out. One nice touch is that after it takes your weight it doesn't show it right away. Pressing the "A" button will toggle between the asterisks and your weight. A nice feature if you have others in the room.

You'll be able to set a goal for your workout sessions. You can set a goal by play time (e.g. 30 minutes), or you can set it by the number of KCALS burned.

As far as the types of workouts, you basically have three options:

Standard: This is "classic DDR", where you move your feet to the music, and in my book it's still the best way to work out. Every song has four difficulty levels (beginning, basic, difficult and expert). I find that the "difficult" setting provides me enough of a challenge while getting my heart pumping and my body sweating.



Hypermove Mode: This is basically the same as Standard move, but also using the Wii remote and Nunchuks to move your arms. Here, I was not thrilled with the way the remote and Nunchuk are implemented. You need to wave your arms to the side making a rainbow-shaped arc, and to wave your arms to the front as if you're casting a fishing pole. Even when you make exagerrated movements, the controls do not always register. I would have preferred Konami to do like Helix or We Cheer 2, and allow the use of two Wii remotes instead of the less responsive nunchuk. I also would have preferred more punching movements than arm movements



Balance Board Mode: Balance board mode is a new feature on DDR 3. In it, you stand on the balance board and bump your hips to the front, back, and sides; make punching movements with the Wii remote and nunchuk; and roll your hips like you're hula hooping. For the most part the movements are accurate, but sometimes you need to exagerrate your hip movements to get them to register. Each song has two difficulty levels (basic and difficult), but even at its most difficult it's not nearly as strenuous as using the dance mat controller. Still, it is fun, it does get your heart beat up, and it's a good diverstion to provide some variety to your workouts if you get tied of Standard and Hypermove modes from time to time.



Some other nice features:

- One nice thing about Workout mode in general is that if you mess up, it lets you keep going. (You'll just have to put up with the announcer saying "dancer needs groove badly").

- For the Standard and Hypermove modes, you can select a menu option called "Cut", which will limit any beats other than quarter notes. This will essentially make your workout feel like a step class. In Hypermove mode there's also a menu option called "jump" which can turn off simultaneous step arrows (good if you have neighbors downstairs).

- For Standard and Hypermove modes, up to 4 players can work out together. There are a number of interesting multiplayer options. You can compete against each other for accuracy, or you can use "Friendship style" or "Sync Style" where points are awarded as a group.

- The "Diary" provides a great running history of the total calories you've burned, the average calories you burn per session, and the songs you've played.

Konami has continued to hold the bar high with every new release of Dance Dance Revolution. I'm glad to see they're introducing new innovations and are fully embracing the "exergaming" craze. At the end of the day, the best way to exercise is to do activities that are so fun you forget you're exercising.

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1 Comments:

At December 8, 2009 at 10:00 PM , Blogger Jake said...

There are so many different things you can do that is doesn't get boring and you can vary your activities to fit your mood.
I have joint replacements and am limited in the activities I can do; I can't do the running games or some of the yoga and strength training activities that involve up and down on the floor activities but there are plenty of activities that I can do that is doesn't matter. My 86 year old mom even plays this thing when she's here!!
If you are considering this game, don't hesitate to buy it. You will love it.

 

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