Another year, another Dance Central. Harmonix has developed an amazing formula for this game that’s worked for them year after year: providing Kinect users with intricate routines and high-energy music that would blow the doors right off a club. Has it finally grown stale and left us embarrassed on the dance floor?
Not quite yet.
Dance Central, at its core, is, well, a dancing game. Choreography is provided for you on-screen, and you must mirror the dancers as accurately as possible. This is one of the few Kinect games that really show off the power of the device. While some motion games let you get away with cutting corners on the motions, this game penalizes you, scorewise, even if you’re just slightly off in the choreography. While the game does provide you with several levels of difficulty, Hard mode will push you to your limits and make you sweat and make you exhausted. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
More often than not, you’ll find yourself practicing the routine in Rehearse Mode. In this mode, they break down the choreography piece-by-piece so you can learn the moves and pull it off with ease when combined with everything else. One of the new features in this game lets the Kinect do a live recording of you doing a certain move and then play it back against the choreography so you can find out what you’re doing wrong. While it might not sound fun to be spending more than an hour learning a routine, there’s something gratifying about knowing you finally learned to hit a certain move and can perform a full choreographed routine with relative ease.
While it sounds tedious to have to go through this with (almost) every song, it’s necessary to the flow of the game. Without it, we’d struggle to master the smooth moves of Usher in his songs featured in this game. (You’ll seriously need it for OMG’s Hard routine.)
While you can completely skip straight to the game’s Perform mode and just play songs right off the bat, the game does come with a Story Mode. As a newly recruited agent of DCI (Dance Central Intelligence), it’s your job to stop the evil Dr. Tan from taking over dance around the world. How do you stop him? By going back in time and learning the moves to stop him.
Although the premise sounds a little ridiculous, it sets the tone for the third entry’s theme. The previous two games focused more on modern music, where this one broadens to include tracks from the last five decades. You have to learn moves from the 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s, and 10s and learn the dance crazes from each era. With those moves, you can use it to defeat Dr. Tan. Again will you have to relive the days of doing the Electric Slide and the Macarena. While both had extremely easy choreography sets in the party scene, the game spices it up adding some choreography to complement those moves we all know and love.
In addition to the game’s Story Mode and Perform mode, there are also several new multiplayer modes. Party Time is a new mode that shuffles through the game’s various game types and songs and can be left running at a get together and allows for anyone to jump in if they feel the need to express themselves. Strike a Pose is another mode that pits you and your opponent against each other and makes you race one another to do a pose a character on screen is doing. Another one is Keep the Beat, where you choose a song to freestyle to and the game tries to determine who’s staying on time with the music better. Neither are meant to be extremely serious modes, but it’s great for parties and those who aren’t really coordinated.
One of the highlights of the new multiplayer modes is the Make Your Move mode where the game directs you in doing certain things like acting like a goofball or doing a smooth move, and each player creates their own choreography to those specific directions. After creating each part piece by piece, the game throws together all the moves created and who could pull off the created moves better. Aside from just facing off in regular choreography, this is probably one of the better multiplayer modes. There’s also Crew Throwdown which combines all these new and old modes together. This mode supports up to a total of eight players with four players for each crew.
More or less, Dance Central 3 gives us more of what we love with a couple of new game modes to kept the party pumping. The variety of the music definitely makes this one stand out more than the other two entries and the additional multiplayer modes will definitely help the friends who can’t really dance enjoy the game as much as those who can pick up choreography easily.
Pros: Great variety of songs, motion detection is top notch, challenging
Cons: More or less the same thing we’ve had for the last two years, some multiplayer modes are dumb