Would you rather be the best the easy way or the hard way? For Dance Central and developer Harmonix they really didn’t have much in the way of competition when it came to Kinect Launch titles, as Dance Central took the crown by a landslide. Dance Central which as you might have already guessed takes away the need to have anything in your hands and lets you groove to music while being graded using the Kinect camera for the Xbox 360. Now a year later with very few competitors still in the Kinect lineup Harmonix is back with Dance Central 2. Does the game still dance to the same tune or were there major improvements in this go around? Read our full review to find out.
For those of you, who know me; know that you will probably see me jumping out of airplanes as often as I go out dancing. So when I saw Harmonix releasing a dance game for Kinect my palms get a little sweaty. However an area that I think Harmonix hasn’t got enough credit for how truly approachable the game is. Whether you’re a newbie like me or a dancing aficionado there is plenty to sink your teeth into. Dance Central 2 continues that trend and even after less than a year of development has plenty more to offer.
New to the game is the new crew mode which acts like a career mode for the game. Although the mode is a bit off the wall the basic premise is that you play as an up and coming dancer (shocking I know) who wants to show what he is made of to various crews. There is a pretty wacky story used to intertwine various songs/dances together into a nice neat package. This mode is far better than the alternative of not having any sort of career mode at all but does leave more to be desired in future games.
The big addition however is to have two players simultaneous dancing which was not in the first. In the first game multiplayer was done by taking turns, but now two people can bust a move together. There is one downfall to this which is that you’re going to need “a lot” of room to make this work with Kinect. If you have the real estate to make this happen you are going to be able to experience Dance Central like I believe it was meant to be played. The energy that comes along with dancing with a friend is essential to the experience, especially now that you can do it at the same time.
Remarkably Dance Central 2 does an even better job of picking up your movements then it did in the original. What maybe even more incredible is that it does almost as good of a job when you’re playing with someone else. This means whether you’re on easy or hard the game does a fantastic job of seeing whether or not you’re mirroring the actions on screen which is something that really can’t be said for almost any other Kinect title out there.
There is just a ton of great content in Dance Central 2, including 44 new songs and the ability for 400 Microsoft points to import the songs from your copy of the original Dance Central. You can of course also transfer over any songs that you purchased from Dance Central as well. Needless to say whether you want to go through the fitness regime, play through the crew mode, or just get down on occasion there is enough content in here to keep you busy.
Not much has changed in the visual style of Dance Central 2 from the original game. I was a big fan of the style of the original game and the same stays true in this one. The only complaint that I have with Dance Central is how much is going on the screen can be a bit overwhelming, especially to those who don’t play video games. With your characters, the dance move guide, and all the lights and flashing going on while you’re trying to dance it can be a bit overwhelming. Needless to say it becomes a more and more easy system to get the hang of and looks great while doing so.
If you are able to get over your fear of dancing then there is a lot to enjoy in the game. The big new feature in my eyes is the ability to play two players simultaneously. That dynamic literally takes this game to a whole new level where you can see how your dancing compared to your friend while it is happening rather than the old method of taking turns. The games tracks are also better this time around and even if you had a few “go-to” songs from the original you can always import those in which is nice.
Dance Central 2 is by far the best Kinect game out to date. It is also one of the only games that actually make you feel like the actions you are doing are being properly scored and accounted for in the game. Whatever Harmonix is doing behind the scenes to get so much out of the Kinect other developers should take note because it truly is incredible and deserving the price of admission.