Holiday Showdown: Just Dance 3 vs. Dance Central 2

By François Chang

November 11, 2011

It’s always a tough choice for consumers to pick up a game for their friends and loved ones when there are just so many choices out there. In videogaming, the average person probably doesn’t see things the way gamers do. Some games just mesh together in their brains as if they were the same game. My parents used to take a glance at me playing Halo 2 and then I’ll be playing Call of Duty 2, and to them it would be the same game. Heck, sometimes I still get confused with the titles I don’t pay as much attention to. With that said, what do you do when someone you’re getting a gift for that you know loves videogames, but just have no idea which is best for them. That’s what Holiday Showdown is for. So let’s waste no time and get into it. The first match-up in Holiday Shown 2011: Just Dance 3 vs. Dance Central 2.

These two games are almost certainly the top games of the dance genre. Both games, I’m sure, gamers and non-gamers alike have heard of before, but which is truly better? This holiday season, JD3 and DC2 released in the same month within weeks of each other, and something has got to give. Best 3 out of 5 wins. Please keep in mind that Dance Central 2 is only for the Xbox 360 and Kinect, while Just Dance 3 is available for all three consoles and its respective motion controls.


Both titles are priced for the budget minded, but one is cheaper than the other. For $39.99 on all three consoles, JD3 should be the clear winner, especially if you’re strictly shopping for someone with Xbox 360 and Kinect. That’s because the PS3 and Wii versions of JD3 require more controllers for multiplayer. That means if you’re trying to save money by getting JD3 for either PS3 or Wii, you may actually end up spending more in the long run, because extra controllers for multiplayer fun can cost you a lot. Both dance titles for the Kinect don’t require any more controllers.

In short, I say that for the price and value order goes like this:

1. $39.99 Just Dance 3 (360)

2. $49.99 Dance Central 2

3. $39.99 Just Dance 3 (PS3 & Wii)

The winner is apparent.

Advantage: Just Dance 3

Fun Factor

JD3 and DC2‘s main attraction is the fun of playing with other people — there’s no question about it. So which offers up more fun? JD3 focuses a lot on the movement of your hands, while DC2 does a decent job of detecting your whole body. I think for the whole family, JD3 is fantastic. Younger people and older people can enjoy the game very much, because it’s not too difficult to do well and get a high score.

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On the other hand, DC2 may be a bit more intimidating, but its challenge attracts those who are great dancers outside of videogaming or want to become better dancers. The game does a pretty good job of letting you know that you’re either awesome or you stink. This is a tough call.

I think I’m going to have to go with DC2 for this one. People are going to be much more intimidated by DC2, but too bad for those people. Novice players and experts can have fun with this game, and that gives a much wider range of people who can enjoy the game. I choose DC2 over JD3 simply for the sake of those people who really know how to dance and will wonder why the heck their baby brothers are still beating them in points.

Advantage: Dance Central 2


Both games’ number of tracks is at about the same at 45 tracks. However, it should be worth noting that JD3‘s track list, even though it contains a few hits, is a little more obscure. That of course may be depending on the group’s knowledge of music, but I think my experience is a valid one: DC2‘s track list had more songs I’ve heard of before.

Better music is good and all, but I just can’t help but give the edge to JD3 for its ability to have 4 players at once. Like I mentioned before, both games are more fun with groups of people, and, more than likely, you’re going to have more than 2-4 people at once. That means that you and your friends will probably have to take turns. So you can definitely get more play time done when you’re sharing a game that’s 4 players rather than 2, and that’s a great feature to have in any game.

Advantage: Just Dance 3


When it comes to tech, I have to say that DC2 takes the cake. The way the characters on-screen perform and how the game lets you know you’re doing well is a much more satisfying experience. You’re even given feedback right at the feet of the character dancing on screen and that’s much more convenient than JD3‘s off-character circles. It’s hard to keep track of the person dancing while trying to look at how well you’re doing. DC2‘s intro and cool menus also add the extra push that makes it an overall better game in terms of looks.

JD3 sometimes becomes too much of a weird thing sometimes too. The game has real people, mostly in costumes, performing during a song, and some of the dances are actually great. However, sometimes they’re a bit too much and awkward. You’ll sometimes be asking yourself stuff like “why is he showing off by dancing like that” and “I can’t believe someone actually dressed up like that.” Stupid, yes, but it reminds me a lot of those games back on Sega CD. I don’t want to see real people in my videogames. There’s just something a little unsettling about watching actual people instead of a videogame character, but maybe that’s just me.

DC2 wins, especially when comparing it to JD3 on the Wii.

Advantage: Dance Central 2

Lasting Appeal

Which game will last you longer? That’s a tough one to call, because things like this are mainly based on the consensus of those around  you. I mean, if a group of friends suddenly became gung-ho about playing Wii Sports again, wouldn’t you whip it out? It’s all about peer pressure, man.

I do feel though that DC2 will last you much longer than JD3. Again, the difficulty of some songs and scoring high points on them gives DC2 the edge. If it’s taking me longer to master a song, then I’m sure that will keep me playing longer than something that’s mainly focusing on my hand movements.

It looks like we have a winner…

Advantage: Dance Central 2


Well, it looks like we have your winner for the first Holiday Showdown: Dance Central 2 over Just Dance 3. It was a tight one, but DC2’s deeper level of gameplay and difficulty proved to be the deciding factor between the two. Of course, we can also gather that both have their own highs and lows, so you can thoroughly enjoy both. So when that time comes and you’re having trouble deciding which title to pick up for your dance savvy friend, remember that we told you that you should go with Dance Central 2.

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François Chang

Working on the DualShockers staff as both an editor and community manager since late 2009, François is absolutely no stranger to the videogame industry. He is a graduate from the City College of New York, and has his Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations and Advertising. His next step is to obtain his Master's degree at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. Before starting his career, François has been gaming since the age of 2 with Super Mario World, and he has never looked back since. Gaming may be his profession, but it has always been his passion.

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