Dance Central 3 Review
Dance Central is one of the few reasons people actually wanted to pick up a Kinect for their 360. Harmonix really brought a unique dance experience to the table that felt like it was just made for the Kinect motion sensor. Finally a game where you could literally dance like a loon in front of your game console and not have to worry about dance mats or plastic instrument peripherals. It was just you and the music. I have only briefly played the original Dance Central game which I actually kind of enjoyed so there was this part of me that was keen to see how the series had developed in Dance Central 3.
One of the biggest jokes I used to make about the Kinect was how you could only blame yourself for being bad in Kinect games because of the “you are the controller” slogan Microsoft used to advertise. Dance Central has you attempt to mirror the dance moves from the avatar on screen who performs the dance moves perfectly. Cue cards on the side of the screen will display how the Kinect is detecting you as well as what arm leg movements your supposed to perform to get the dance move down. If your jumping into this game you may find this quite tricky as the game moves quite fast and it can be quite hard to keep up. The kinect essentially detects the movements you make and if they match that of the cue cards you score more points and rack up chain combos (like Guitar Hero or Rock Band). I actually found it quite stressful trying to follow the cue cards and actually enjoyed the game a lot more following the cartoon styled avatar. This of course usually lead me to getting a terrible score at the end but I had more fun. This really is a game that if you want to go into it to score points you need to invest time into it, learn the dance moves and keep playing the songs over and over again to get it right. However, if you don’t care about score and you just want to jump in front of a Kinect and look stupid then you can absolutely have a ton of fun by just jumping into this game. With the Kinect not being completely accurate at detecting movement its likely this will also lead to frustration if your trying to score more points and match the moves perfectly.
One of the main draws to this game is playing with someone else. Unlike the first Dance Central game where you essentially swapped between players and the person with the highest score won the match. Now you can both compete for space with the Kinect and dance together co operatively or competitively. Now I like to think I have quite a decent sized living room but my lady friend and I had to literally move a sofa to give us each enough space to play the game together. Even then we were still close enough to occasionally bash into each other. Kinect really is not designed for people in small apartments or bedrooms.
Your enjoyment of Dance Central 3 will really be determined by how much you enjoy the song selection. There is a fair mix of songs from the 70s all the way to modern day. Of course the majority of it is pop music. There are a few winners present like good old Back Street Boys, Vanilla Ice, and YMCA (by the Village People). Yes, these songs are cheesy as hell but if you spend much of your secondary school (or high school) life dancing to this stuff you just know you still have a little attachment to it whether you like it or not. I had more attachment to the older songs and less so the modern ones. I preferred the playlist to the original game more but every bodies tastes are different. This being a music game you can download more tracks at a cost which currently are still available on the Xbox Live market place.
Graphics are cartoon styled, this is a game Harmonix probably wanted to appeal to as many people as possible so they go for the friendly style. So much so these avatars literally praise your dance skills even if you suck. You can choose a avatar to show you the dance moves and even dress them up in various obscure dance outfits. You can also dance in various venues like the New York esque streets to the College fraternity house. It all looks kinda campy but it is fun. Like with a lot of music games you will be spending more time looking at your dance prompts than admiring the graphics.
A big surprises going into this game was a story mode. Yes, a story mode in a dance game. You play a secret agent working for Dance Central who travels back in time to unlock new dance moves and find other agents to stop some bad guy from putting a stop to dance awesomeness. Looks like the developers did the appropriate design choice and decided not to take the idea too seriously as the story is incredibly cheesy but at the same time very entertaining. What I love about it is the developers just roll with it and just allow it to go in bizarre directions. All the Nolan film fans will just shrug at how unrealistic this story. Kinda reminds me of films from the eighties or nineties where you really did see some campy storylines. The voice acting is just hilarious, most characters will be busting rapper like lines to you and encourage you to ‘get your grove on,’ one thing is for sure the story mode will most likely bring a smile to your face, come on what other game can you save the world by dancing in front of a camera.
Dance Central 3 is a game I genuinely enjoyed. At the end of the day you really could have just as much fun just going to a club and dancing to a playlist. But who want’s to do that anymore. Dance Central 3 is a fun game to pull out whether you want to invest time into it and learn the dance moves or you just want to briefly bust-a-move (catch that?). It’s fun alone but even more fun when you are battling with someone else, just just to avoid hitting them too music unless they are winning of course. If you utterly despise dancing or the Kinect then this won’t be for you. if your looking for something to justify your Kinect’s existence then this is a game worth picking up. Also its one hell of a workout, who says video games can’t be good for you.
Final Score: 3 out of 5 (review policy)