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Dance Central 3 Review (X360 Kinect)

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating

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Dance Central 3 Review (X360 Kinect)
Microsoft
Dance Central 3 is pretty much exactly what you'd expect from the third entry in what is easily the best series on Kinect. More songs. More moves. More modes. Just plain more stuff in general that all make DC3 the best dance game on Kinect. It isn't a huge step up from the first two games, but it has that extra polish that you'd expect from a threequel, sharper gameplay, and expanded feature set that make it clearly the one to get.
Game Details

  • Kinect Sensor Required
  • Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
  • Developer: Harmonix
  • ESRB Rating: “T" for Teen
  • Genre: Dancing
  • Pros: Fun gameplay; perfect Kinect controls; lots of songs; plenty of modes
  • Cons: Not a huge change from past games

The features list in DC3 is actually pretty impressive. The focus this time around is on music from multiple eras of music - compared to mostly newer stuff in the first couple of games - and a new and improved story mode has you travelling through time to learn the moves of the day in order to stop a mad scientist. It is crazy, but kind of awesome. In addition to the 45 on-disc songs, you can also import the tracks from Dance Central 1 and Dance Central 2 and all of the DLC for those games work here as well.

Other modes include the return of party mode, which randomizes the song list and dynamically adjusts the difficulty as you play so anyone can jump in front of Kinect and start dancing and the game won't miss a beat. A Crew Throwdown multiplayer mode has two teams of 2-8 players where they have to dance through multiple rounds of minigames (such as the new Make a Move game where you make up whatever move you want and your opponent has to copy it) and other stuff to determine an ultimate champion. Fitness mode returns and allows you to set short and long term goals. Cap all of these modes off with a ton of unlockables that you can earn as you progress, and you have a pretty massive overall experience that makes Dance Central 3 the biggest and most fully-featured dance game on Kinect.

Gameplay

Microsoft
The gameplay is just like the first two Dance Central games where you mirror the actions of your character onscreen (meaning that they move their left arm, so you move your right arm like you're looking at a mirror). What has always impressed us about Dance Central is that these games actually teach you real dance moves. Unlike Dance Dance Revolution that isn't anything remotely like actual dancing, or Ubisoft's Just Dance series that focuses more on fun goofy moves than real dancing, Dance Central's steps can actually be taken to the dance floor and you won't look like a fool. Because it is real dancing, however, you have to actually put in some practice and effort to get good at it. When you first start a song you'll be completely lost. Once you learn how to perform moves, and then connect them, however, it is amazingly satisfying to see how much you've progressed. An interesting new feature in DC3 is that specific dance crazes such as "The Hustle", "Electric Slide", and even the "Macarena" are accurately included. You remember the "Macarena", right? Well, all of the moves in DC3 are just like you remember them and it is probably the only song in the game most people won't have to practice first in order to get it right.

Practice is an important word there because Dance Central 3 isn't an easy game. You aren't punished for performing poorly, but if you want to progress in the story or not feel too embarrassed playing with other people, you actually have to practice the songs and specific moves a few times before you really know what you are doing. It can make the game a bit of a grind at first, but once you learn the basic moves you can then apply them to all of the songs which makes the game progressively easier the more you play. It is a grind for a while, but eventually evens out and gets really satisfying and rewarding if you put in the effort.

Graphics & Sound

The presentation is great all around in Dance Central 3. The sound is fantastic (of course) and the visuals are more varied and interesting than past games thanks to the various eras you can visit. The graphics are nice and sharp and clear and seeing the flash cards on the side of the screen to tell you what move is coming up, or seeing the color-coded glow of your character's limbs onscreen that show you what you're doing right (or wrong) are all easy to see.

The menus are also excellent and still the best menu system on Kinect even two years after the device first launched. You just gently move your hand up and down to move to menu items, and then swipe your hand to the side to select it. It is clean and intuitive and great to use. You can also use Kinect voice commands for many menu options, and they work fine as well.

Bottom Line

Microsoft
There isn't really much that needs to be said about Dance Central 3. It has the same polished and awesome feeling dancing gameplay as past games but with more songs, more modes, and some nifty new features. It isn't dramatically different, but improved enough that there is no question that it is the best in the series so far. If you already love Dance Central, DC3 has some solid new songs and useful new modes (Xbox Smartglass compatibility in Party Mode to select songs is almost worth the price alone if you still play DC a lot with friends) that make it worth buying. If you are new to Dance Central and Kinect, Dance Central 3 is a great showcase for everything the device can do right. Buy it.
Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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