- Kinect Sensor Required
- Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
- Developer: Harmonix
- ESRB Rating: “T" for Teen
- Genre: Dancing
- Pros: Great interface; nice presentation; song list; lots of modes; multiplayer
- Cons: Story in career is unnecessary
Dance Central 2 is a bigger, better Dance Central, which is a good thing. It features 40+ songs on disc, plus DLC, plus the ability to import the tracks from Dance Central 1 as well.
Voice commands have been added for many menu functions so you can select songs, being gameplay, pause, navigate menus, and more just with voice controls. That is if you don't like the motion controls for menus, which we actually love and gushed over in our DC1 review. The simple up or down to choose items and then a swipe of your hand to select it still hasn't been topped as far as Kinect menus go.
In addition to a standard quick play mode, the Break It Down mode that teaches you the dance routine for a song, has been improved to let you skip over steps you already know, which is a big improvement over the somewhat plodding pace of the original. The fitness mode also returns with new routines (10-minute and up to 40-minute sessions) and you can also turn on a calorie counter that works across all modes.
Multiplayer was sadly missing in DC1, but it is present in DC2. You can dance cooperatively, as well as competitively. Competitive dancing is pretty crazy since it features solo sections where you bust out your best moves and your opponent just has to watch and wait for their turn, and there are also Free 4 All sections where a bunch of moves flash up on screen that you can perform in any order, and the person that performs it first, and best, gets bonus points. There isn't any sort of online mode, but we really don't mind since online lag would pretty much kill the experience. Also, a lot of the fun of multiplayer comes from actually watching your friends dance in front of you, which would be sorely missed playing some stranger on Xbox Live.
What the Crew Challenge does do, though, is introduce you to the dance teams in the game. The two-person crews have a lot of personality and play a big role in the overall game. So much so, in fact, that you actually get attached to your chosen dance partner even though they are little more than an avatar. In a nice touch, a second player can jump in at any point and take over control of your partner, which is great.
The Kinect controls do a great job of keeping track of you and never once do you feel like any sort of lag or lack of precision is holding you back. It manages to accurately track your whole body, including your legs and feet which is something that some Kinect games struggle with, and the motion controls are well implemented overall.
Presentation wise, Dance Central 2 looks great. The character models for all of the characters are really nice and the game has a definite sense of style. The environments look nice as well, but the onscreen dancers and the flash cards telling you what the next move is going to be are what you'll usually be focused on. The UI is also clean and easy to read.
Not much to say about the sound, really. Since it is a music / dancing game with licensed tracks, it can't help but sound good.
All in all, Dance Central 2 is a great Kinect game that builds upon the solid foundation of the original to surpass it in pretty much every way. It has tons of songs, plenty of modes, multiplayer, and makes perfect use of Kinect to let you move and dance in ways that no other control system can match. Dance Central 2 is a near-perfect sequel and stands as one of the best games for Kinect. Buy it.