Dance Central 3 (360) Review
Lots of replay value
Better music variety
Not so much?
If you can grit your teeth through the “story” part of it you will get to do some dancing. And the central conceit to bring about some classic dance songs and dance moves is a redeeming quality. Player will get to sweat to the oldies instead of hamming it up to whatever Lady Gaga song happens to be gracing the charts at a certain time.
Be-bopping has never been so good…Psyche.
Let’s just be upfront about this. I’m a white dough-like creature that spends my time playing video games, writing about video games, and doing IT work to pay the bills. I’m not exactly the type of person that is going to be hittin da club to work my moves.
That being said, I have been known to tear up a fake dance floor in front of fake people that cheer me on from inside my TV. So, having fun with a dancing game is not completely outside of my understanding. Apparently though, “fun” is not something that Dance Central 3 has an understanding of. Or at least “Casual Fun”.
This time out of the gate, the Dance Central crew decided that it was not just going to hand out the good times for free or let players approach the game with a simple “Just for fun” attitude. This time around, players have to work for whatever they get.
There is a story mode here and yes, it is way beyond the self knowing, self parody type of humor. Basically you, as a Dance Central Intelligence agent must travel through time to right the wrongs of an evil dance doer. This opens the musical selection up from just the club hits of today and brings in the club hits of yesteryear. If that sounds like a somewhat acceptable plot for a dance game then I have not done my job and have vastly mislead the readers. The story is junk and misplaced. Even the self referential nature of the story can’t save it. The game is worse for it. It does not belong and only serves to stink up the joint. I still don’t think I have done the story justice but I don’t know how to be meaner than that.
The central point of Dance Central 3 is – you guessed it – dancing. Luckily, there is plenty of that. If you can grit your teeth through the “story” part of it you will get to do some dancing. And the central concept to bring about some classic dance songs and dance moves is a redeeming quality. Player will get to sweat to the oldies instead of hamming it up to whatever Lady Gaga song happens to be gracing the charts at a certain time.
The problem is that it just takes way too much prep work to actually get to the dancing. Players must rehearse, and rehearse, and then rehearse some more before attempting a song. Rehearsing is still dancing, I suppose. So at least the majority of the time your body is in motion (or whatever may qualify as “motion”).
Players will spend more time rehearsing than playing through the game. Each time you are presented with a song, you can count on rehearsing the song more than you want to before being able to actually do well.
Rehearsing is well conceived though. Players are given enough knowledge to do what they need to do. However, knowledge is about the only thing you will get, as feedback here is useless. When you do something wrong, the body part that was in error will light up on the screen. That’s useful, but you really don’t know how you messed up or what you should do to correct it.
The Kinect could be partially to blame, although just about every way the game uses the Kinect is spot on, for some reason during rehearsal I found myself flailing around trying to figure out what it was seeing so I could figure out where I was going wrong.
Actually, playing the game worked pretty much like you would expect. Moves scroll across the screen and players are expected to strike those poses. The underlying idea is that by stringing together those poses you actually look like you are dancing. I found that I looked more like the tin man from The Wizard Of Oz. I was extremely glad I did not have an axe as I would have probably chopped my head off. But then again, maybe that would have been for the best.
There are a few more modes for dance wannabes to mess around with. The most interesting being the ability to have a dance off, with your crew fighting for dance superiority over some other fool’s dance crew. That mode brings back the party feeling of the first two games.
Horrible story and being overloaded with rehearsals aside, I’m sure players who actually know some of these dance moves and may actually have some rhythm will find the “practice makes perfect” aspect of the game redeeming and relish in the challenges. Doughy mushrooms who find more accomplishment in mastering the 4 shot kill of the DMR in Halo than any sort of physical fitness will find the game much too daunting to get anything out of it.