Dance Central 2 (X-Box 360)

January 28, 2012 5 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

How do you dethrone the reigning champion of dance games? Make a sequel! Dance Central was the killer app for the Kinect launch, a game that was fun alone, in a group, or even as part of an exercise program. The game raised the bar for similar dance titles, so could the sequel live up to the original? Dance Central 2 is indeed the new champion, but it doesn’t push the genre like I’d hoped. Harmonix has polished the game to a glistening shine, but hasn’t really evolved the experience. That said, the game is still more fun than ever and no other dance game even comes close. The main addition is that two people can now dance at the same time, but both do the same routine. I was hoping the dual dance mode would offer integrated moves, but even as a mimic, it is fun to share the dance floor.

Other prominent additions include a single player campaign mode, enhanced Break It Down features, and of course a new set list of songs. The campaign adds some story progression that is most welcome, while Break It Down now offers more control over dance speed and you can replay your performance to see your mistakes or breakthroughs. The workout mode also comes off as more intense this time around, which is a plus. The set list features over 40 new tracks to dance to, but there isn’t a lot of variety inside this collection of songs. The bulk are rap or R&B selections, which are fun to dance to, but I’d rather see more genres covered and some surprises tucked in there. This is the lone area where other dance games eclipse Dance Central 2, as I have seen some highly creative set lists in recent titles. But this is still a rock solid assortment of hits, not to mention that all of your DLC and even the songs from Dance Central can be imported in.

The core mechanics from Dance Central remain intact, but the moves haven’t just been shuffled around. I didn’t see any repeat moves from the first game, which is impressive. So this isn’t just a bunch of new songs with the same old moves, Dance Central 2 is new from the ground up in that respect. The game is still nearly flawless in terms of Kinect sensor tracking, as even fast, intricate moves are picked up with ease. So before you blame the sensor for your misstep, visit Break It Down and more likely than not, you’ll see how to correct your mistakes. I would have loved a more innovative multi-player experience and a more creative set-list, but those aren’t massive complaints. Dance Central was the best Kinect experience of 2010 and now, Dance Central 2 has proven itself to be the best Kinect experience of 2011.

Video: How does it look?

The colorful, fresh visual design of the original returns here, but with some enhancements. The character designs sport more detailed, fluid animation, with a higher level of expression. This is especially evident on the returning characters, who look much more alive this time around. This level of subtle improvement is seen throughout the game. I am glad sweeping chances weren’t made, as the visuals of the original were excellent. So this is more of the Dance Central signature look, just polished and refined to the next level.

Audio: How does it sound?

This is a game that centers on music, of course it sounds awesome. The songs come across with potent, powerful presence that really helps you get into the groove. If the music sounded thin, it would impede the experience, so this rich, full sound really makes the entire package work. One of the new additions in terms of audio is that the game makes better use of Kinect’s voice commands, especially in the menu system. This is a nice inclusion and really shows how Harmonix is able to get the most of the Kinect tech, when some studios are content with just the motion tracking.

Supplements: What are the extras?


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