Thursday, October 27, 2011

Dance Central 2 Review

Platform(s): XBOX 360
Developer(s): Harmonix Music System
Publisher(s): Harmonix Music System
Genre: Music, Rhythm, Exercise

Without ever a full year passing by, the Kinect’s best-selling game, Dance Central, is back with its long awaited sequel, Dance Central 2. As you may recall with the first Dance Central, it made a perfect blend of music, ranging from old school to contemporary, and dance, ranging from simplistic to intricate. Taking cues from previous music games, Dance Central creates innovative dance routines based upon the theme and genre of the song and goes a great job while doing it. The same thing is done with its sequel but at a greater effect.

Right off the back, Dance Central 2 present itself with more appealing graphics by adding the effect similar to that of viewing a lighted object through smeared glass. This only made the colors pop and, when it came down to scenery changes, which can only be achieved by hitting a string of “Flawless” and “Nice”, the visual makes the game even more appealing.

Another thing that makes the game worthwhile is the improvements that it has made from the first one. One of them is the introduction to crews. There are six crews, consisting of two members (some returning from the first one and some new to the game) each with their own style and attitude towards you: Lu$h, Riptide, Hi-Def, Flash4wrd and Glitterati. With these crews comes the most important improvement in the game: Simultaneous 2-player gameplay. While the first Dance Central dabble in 2-player mode , having the Dance Battle forcing you to switch every interval, Dance Central 2 now support two dancers on the screen. This enables you to either play cooperative or competitive with your friends. It even introduced a drop in/drop out functionality. While the two player gameplay is a welcoming addition to the game, granted if you have enough space to accommodate another player, that’s not the only thing that has improved.

Dance Central 2 has also remodeled their “Break It Down” mode, allowing the players to focus on specific moves in a particular routine that’s giving them a hard time as well as record how you’re performing each move. This feature will allow you visually see how precise your movements are in comparison to the dancer. It also goes to show the improvement that the developers went into making sure that players don’t half step these moves now the sensor is very sensitive to the way your body is moving. That means if they want you to get low, you have to get low.

Finally a campaign mode has been added to the game allowing players to get familiar with the different crews in the game. Each crew has a set list of songs that are unique to them. For example, Flash4wrd, a sassy hip hop crew consisting of alumni Taye and newcomer Li’l T, focus more of the sexy and seductive dance style such as Rihanna’s Rude Boy or Donna Summer’s Hot Stuff. The campaign is simple, and can be expanded on, but it’s still pretty fun.

The Pros:
Like its predecessor, Dance Central 2 has a great blend of old school and contemporary music, ranging from techno to hip hop. It also gives the player the luxury of import all their downloaded and original songs from the original Dance Central increasing the complete list of songs to a whopping 100 or more. It also made a great number of improvements to its existing features; two players dancing being the most emphasized one. The graphics is another plus because it makes the environment and characters pop.

The Cons:
Dance Central 2 goes come with one interesting flaw: it’s not XBOX Live compatible. This may be a problem for some but others aren’t too picky about it. Since the game is meant it to be a party game, putting it on Live would defeat the purpose of the local aspect of the game.

Dance Central 2 is the game for beginner and advance dancers alike, showcasing seamless routines to some of the most popular songs in the industry. While your body may be aching from some of the demanding moves in the song, it still, in my opinion, holds the title of being the best-selling game for the Kinect.

Final Score: Dance Central 2 gets 4 out of 5.

Justin P.

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