The sequel to the best-selling Kinect game.
The sudden meteoric rise of the dancing game has been nothing short of astounding. Bedroom dancers had long since cast away their dance mats and satisfied themselves with the simple yet unsubstantial dancing in front of the mirror in preparation for the inevitable party seasons, leaving them woefully unprepared for the technically demanding dance routines, or the shameful embarrassment that comes with them.
Then along came Just Dance from Ubisoft and once again wannabe dancers were able to practice their art in the comfort of their own houses and be comfortable in their own embarrassment. The Just Dance games, much like all of the other newly appearing dance games on the Wii, didn’t really care much for teaching the intricacies, but rather showed the player that there is nothing to fear from a little embarrassment and that it was actually rather good fun.
But then the Dance Central game appeared for the newly launched Kinect and proved that everyone can learn to be an expert dancer. It did not award people for jsut flailing their limbs in time with the music, but insisted that they learned ever more complex dance routines to perfection. This was a new breed of dancing game.
Now we have a sequel, Dance Central 2, promising more of the same with over 40 new tracks, simultaneous dance battles and enough polish to make the game shine.
But let’s start at the start. A campaign mode within a dance game may be a bit out of place, but battling through some 30 odd songs and earning street cred as you go is the closest I have seen to a story thus far. There is even the dancing equivalent of boss battles to be had in the Crew Challenge mode, and all manner of goodies to unlock.
However, success in the extensive campaign mode will require some serious dancing skills. Fortunately the Break It Down tutorial mode has been given some much needed attention, making it easier to navigate and use. There is even the option to have Kinect record your moves and play them back for you, showing you the reality of your mistakes. No more blaming the Kinect unit.
Which shouldn’t really of been an option anyway. Of all the Kinect games, Dance Central may not be my favorite, but there is no denying that it makes the best use of the motion control. It isn’t perfect, but it certainly performs well enough to make sure the player is replicating the on-screen dance moves as closely as possible. The newly implicated voice control in Dance Central 3, which requires the player to raise their arm and speak to the game, doesn’t really work as well as it could, often confusing what is said. But the last game worked perfectly well without voice control, and so does this one.
All Kinect games require a fair amount of room, but perhaps none more so than the Dance Central games. Players will be encouraged to move all over the place, especially with the new simultaneous multiplayer modes.
A few bruises are to be expected after a night out clubbing, but putting two people in a room with this game is positively lethal, in a good way. With a good selection of multiplayer modes, two players can start getting their groove on whilst nimbly avoiding the erratic movements of each other. It would have been nice to see four-player, the more the merrier, but these high-intensity dance routines are hard enough work already, without having to avoid the arms and legs of three other players. At least getting two players up and dancing at the same time is a step in the party direction.
Comparing the two leading dancing games is a pointless task. Whereas Just Dance is all about having fun and laughing at yourself, or others, Dance Central is about dancing, and dancing properly. They both cater to a different audience, the party game crowd and the hardcore gamer. Whilst it is beyond doubt that Dance Central 2 is the most accomplished, realistic dance game available, whether that will appeal to you really does depend on how seriously you take your dancing.