Posted by Female Gamers on Dec 5, 2010
Dance Central – Game Review

Dance Central – Game Review

Fancy yourself as a dancer? Don’t quite have the confidence to strut your moves on So You Think You Can Dance? Now it doesn’t matter. Dance Central is available on the Xbox 360 Kinect and it will change the way games are played forever. As soon as the first Kinect media announcements were made it was obvious to me that this technology was ideal to play dance games. Forget those dance pads we used to jump on, forget about controllers communicating with the consoles to visualize a dancing version of you on screen, all that is history thanks to the Kinect. Dance Central is one of the first dance games it lives up to the hype.

Can I dance? Do I have rhythm? NO! But can I copy moves? Who can’t?! In Dance Central it is all about making dancing moves. Whether perfectly timed or just nice, it’s all a matter of training. To learn the moves corresponding to the song, you can jump straight in by just starting the song and trying to copy the moves from the dancer on screen REAL quick. This can be tricky at first, but stick with it, as the longer you play, the easier it is to learn the moves and routines. It’s possible to use the break it down feature which teaches you each move, step by step. Watch how the dancer demonstrates the move, and copy it three times to be certain that you understand it and can perform it. If it is too difficult, you can slow down the speed of the move to copy it and speed the song up once again when the move is under control.

There’s no need to memorize a whole dance routine as the moves are shown visually on a flashcard that is visible shortly before the move has to be performed. After a couple of dance rehearsals, these flash cards still can be helpful, but you’ll notice that they aren’t really required anymore. If they bother you and want a true dancing experience, just turn off the flash card functionality. While you can switch that off, other things can be switched on like a workout mode which keeps track of the calorie loss during your game session. If you know that you start sweating while dancing on Rihanna … it’s obvious that calories are being burned.

Dance Central contains three elements which triggers a gamer to play this game; experience the new Kinect controlling / recognition of your moves, the possibility to learn how to dance with all kinds of moves and of course the varied songs. The controlling via Kinect is just perfect! It provides a kind of matrix feeling in the beginning while selecting modes and shuffling through the songs with your hands. But the real deal is the perfect recognizing of your moves by the Kinect. And if you think the Kinect is not working, you probably need to perform your moves better next time; the arm a little higher, twist your body a bit, make a bigger step, etc.

We talked about the Kinect and the moves, but the missing link is the songs. Dance Central contains 31 songs that cover pop, hip hop and dance hall music and more. From oldies to the latest number 1 smash hits including Salt-N-Pepa – Push It, to Lady Gaga’s Just Dance. Even the Commodores, Beastie Boys and Pitbull are included to provide plenty of variety in the songs. Including 31 songs is quite a large song collection on one game, and there is already some downloadable content available with many more planned in the near future. This comes as no surprise with a developer like Harmonix who also followed a similar format with Rock Band.

Dance Central rewards players with achievements for great performances which is always a nice touch. Not only can you unlock tons of achievements, but also special game mode challenges, new venues, new outfits for the dancers and even a very special dancer can be unlocked too. Bit by bit you unlock more and more, but actually it’s not the rewards that motivate you to move on. It’s something else. First understand that when you finished a dance, you’ll get a score and a maximum of 5 golden stars for perfect performance and the total moves made. By then you’re feeling proud, especially when you also unlocked new features. But what do you see?! An Xbox friend has achieved a higher score. And that is the motivating factor as you want to prove that you can do better. So work it, girl! Work it, Work it, and Work it!

From a female point of view, we can state that the majority of gamers which are going to buy / play this game are female. The game includes a lot of varied female dancers; simply choose the one you feel comfortable with. Some act normal, and some are simply arrogant, convinced that they are the star of this game. Their styles can be changed any time if new outfits are unlocked. Don’t expect a full wardrobe, or a fully customizable character, maybe that’s something for the next Dance Central game. During your performance, pictures will be taken and a free style period is installed to go crazy in front of the cam to make a short movie that shows your moves fast forward. Although it’s fun to watch in the beginning, it gets a little bit annoying seeing you over and over again, and it simply doesn’t look as flashy as the in-game dancers. Also, probably best to remember when you’re shaking your ass in front of the camera in your pyjamas that you’re going to see that speeded up at the end – not always pretty!

Dance Central truly is a perfect Kinect launch game and a must have for every gamer who wants to bust a move with the help and fun of a videogame. It works seamlessly with the controller, has a good level of difficulty, has plenty of songs to keep it interesting and has dance moves that seem realistic but still fun. Finally I can get rid of my Britney Spears dance pad, as this style of controller hardware is history (and for the record maybe that also counts for Britney as none of her songs are included in Dance Central). Dance Central is here and it brings with it the controller of the future. Own it. Now.

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