At E3 2012 a few people asked me what I thought of Microsoft’s conference. I said the Usher performance was the best part. Almost everyone thought that was a joke, but I wasn’t laughing. Usher is okay in my book and Dance Central 3 was the only Xbox 360 exclusive that caught my eye. But this is the third entry in a series that debuted in 2010; can Harmonix bring something new to the dance floor?
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Title: Dance Central 3
Platforms: Xbox 360
Release Date: 10/16/2012[/toggle_box]
- Killer App – Just like the installments that came before it, DC3 is easily the best Kinect game on the market. It’s polished and more accurate than its peers. You can cheat your way through most motion-controlled games, but DC3 knows when you’re goofing off. If you’re just moving your arms your avatar’s legs will glow red. This is a major step up from Wii and PlayStation Move dancing games that only track hand movements.
- The Set Up – It’s the same as before, moves scroll down the screen and you mirror your avatar’s moves. Each move is graded for it’s accuracy and you’re awarded a star rating at the end.
- Smooth Moves – Accuracy is great, but it’s pointless if the choreography is stale. Luckily this isn’t the case here; the DC games also stand out because they’re choreography. There are four difficulty settings and they feature different steps. ‘Beginner’ has you doing simple stuff; it’s as easy as it sounds. But put the game on hard and you’re in for a surprise. It’s a challenge fit for Usher.
- Smooth Moves II – Another cool thing about the choreography is that most of the songs feature moves that go with the song. Like Usher’s songs use his signature moves (and that’s why they’re impossible on hard, O.M.G. will have you literally saying OH MY GOD). Name another game that lets you dance like Vanilla Ice – Ice Ice Baby.
- Practice Makes Perfect – If you’re having a hard time with some of the moves you can rehearse them step-by-step. This is a great tool and it actually teaches you how to dance. I still remember the moves from the first two games because of this mode.
- Import Your Old Tunes – For 400 Microsoft Points you can import your Dance Central 1 & 2 tracks and all of your previously downloaded DLC automatically works with DC3.
- Soundtrack – There are over 40 tracks and they range from 70s disco all the way up to newer songs like ‘Sexy And I Know It by LMFAO. There are a few duds, but most of the tracks will keep you dancing.
- Story Mode? – Yes, there’s a story mode. You have to travel through time and learn dance moves from different eras so you can save DCI. It’s beyond silly, but it’s completely optional. You don’t have to play through it to unlock tracks or anything. Still, its absurdity makes it worth a look.
- Party Hard – There’s a new party mode that allows people to jump in and dance. There are five modes within this mode, they are, Perform, Battle, Make Your Move, Strike a Pose, and Keep the Beat. My favorite is Keep the Beat because it allows you to use your own dance moves. The person who is the most on beat wins. The party mode is a welcomed addition since like Rock Band — DC3 is better with friends.
- You Got Served – Battle Mode makes a return, but like everything else it gets a slight face-lift. Free-4-All puts a few moves on the screen and sees who can nail them first. While Pose Combos see who can strike a pose the quickest.
- All That and a Bag of Gluten-Free Chips – The dancers are still caricatures, but their witty remarks and slick moves make them hard to dislike.
- Other Features – Live Challenges, Crew Throwdown, Playlists, Calorie Tracking, etc. DC3 is jam packed with features.
- Disco Fever – I understand why Harmonix added 70s music (to appeal to older fans), but they were my least favorite songs to dance to. I just don’t enjoy music from that era.
- Dance Craze – You’ll enjoy the story mode for it’s wackiness, but progressing through it can be a pain at times. You’ll need more than stars to move on. You have to nail the dance craze of the era. Nothing is worse than replaying a song a few times just to nail one part.
- Kinect’s Limitations – The voice commands and the menu navigation (using Kinect) are still iffy. They’re cool at first, but you’ll quickly reach for the controller. Also when it comes to dancing moves will occasionally fail to register. This isn’t DC3’s fault; Kinect is just downright wonky at times.
Dance Central 3 is more of the same, but its new features keep it from feeling like a cash grab. Harmonix improves upon their winning formula and crafts what is easily the best dancing game ever. They’re in a league of their own, but they refuse to rest on their laurels. This is another must buy for Kinect owners.
[box_light]We believe that the score is the least important part of a review. It’s tough trying to assign a numerical value to an experience. Furthermore, is there really a difference between a 7.5 and an 8? Gamers place too much importance on arbitrary numbers. This is why our scores are hidden by default. Only look at them if you absolutely need a number between 1-10 to see if a game is worth your time. You can read our review guidelines here. A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.[/box_light]
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Replay Value: 9
9/10 ‘Amazing’ – This is a must have, you’ll see this game on top ten lists at the end of the year.[/toggle_box]