There’s a lot of dance games around these days – a hell of a lot. In fact a scientific report (that we just made up) said that if all the dance games were played at once in one location the Earth would move away from the sun, counteracting the effects of global warming.
After the plastic instrument genre went into decline with the death of Guitar Hero (in one stroke halving the government’s landfill projections) the dancing game took it’s place in living rooms all around the world and now, with full body motion tracking offered by Kinect, it has become a little more fun.
The dancing game genre soared to dizzying heights on the Wii with the somewhat embarrassing revelation that your mum likes the motion controls, but the problem with the Wii was that it was only monitoring what you did with the hand you held the remote in.
Dance Central by Harmonix Music Systems (the driving force in the American music video game genre as a whole, being the original developers of Guitar hero who then moved on to create Rockband) was launched at the same time as Kinect and was widely regarded as the best game available for the ambitious add on, with thirty two tracks available initially (although many more where added with download content, each with a different dance sequence). With the ‘break it down’ mode allowing any routine to be taken step by step it was the perfect game for beginners and there was no longer any excuse for the club footed amongst us to not get involved (well, apart from our sense of self esteem). A little under a year later and we have part two dragging us off our comfy sofas in order to bust a move but what could they possibly have changed in such a short time?
Unsurprisingly, it’s more of a refinement of the concept this time round. First off there’s the new track list, with over forty songs, and the addition of voice controls that allow you to navigate through the menus and which can even be used in break it down mode, allowing for a more fluid system.
The major addition this time is the two player dance battle allowing you and a friend (or family member) to compete for the highest score (or who gets to do the laundry), and much like the score system for guitar hero you are rewarded with multipliers for successfully stringing moves in a row without mistakes.
A career mode has been added to give the game more substance outside the quick blast of the party modes. There is some terribly, trendy hip talk coming now so you’ll have to forgive us for this but… Career mode focuses on you picking a “crew” and impressing them with the opening dances until you earn the right to “rep” for them so that other “crews” will take notice, along the way you will unlock new characters and outfits as well as venues based on the different crews – to any one who played guitar hero the progression system will be very familiar.
Dance Central 2 is more of tune up this time because that’s all it really needed; a few new modes to play for single and multiplayer, a bucket load of new songs and to top it off the body tracking is more accurate than the first installment. Whether you’re looking for a quick boogy down with friends or looking for a progressively more difficult challenge in single player, Dance Central is the one for you.
Words > Jason Potter