Review: Dance Central 2

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After the release of Dance Central, and being critiqued as not only the best Dance game but the best Kinect game of 2010, Harmonix has released Dance Central 2 with amazing new tracks and features. With new Crew Challenges and refined Break it down mode will Dance Central 2 be as good and successful as the first game?

  • Score:

    9.0 / 10

  • The Good:

    Great song list that includes alot of popular tracks this year. Great visuals and new Break it Down mode.

  • The Bad:

    The Crew Challenges werent really challenging, still no multiplayer versus mode through Xbox Live.

  • Bottom Line:

    From Techno to Hip-Hop, and tracks from Rihanna, Usher and Lady Gaga, Dance Central 2 is a great party starter and a ‘good times mobile’

Warning: Spoilers!

Storyline & Characters

The characters’ personalities bring a new feel to the game

Dance Central 2 has a new story mode titled ‘Crew Challenge’ and focuses on the various dance crews in the game. By earning their respect, you will be able to challenge more difficult crews as well unlock alternate outfits. There are 7 dance crews in the game and includes 6 returning characters from the first Dance Central. Despite the fact that some of these characters are heavily stereotyped – Bodie a ‘surfer dude’, Angel the cocky Spaniard, and Glitch an Asian B-Boy – the characters’ personalities bring a new feel to the game. As some crews are there to support you, there are crews like the Glitterati, who just annoy the hell out of you.

The Crew Challenge mode encourages dancers to 5 star a song in order to receive crew points to unlock alternate outfits as well as earn a Gold Card for that crew. The storyline is a bit odd and includes a creepy old man named Dr. Tan, who ‘watches your every move’ and plans on dominating dance crews with his unstoppable robots.

The Storyline overall is fairly interesting as you gradually learn about each crew and the members, as well as the type of music and dance styles in the game. Crew Challenges help players to progress in difficulty in dance moves and motivates players to perfect each track.

Gameplay & Graphics

Dance Central 2 is a more helpful way of learning how to dance, even though these dance moves maybe not as crazy as some games, the choreography is amazing and definitely suits the song being danced to. Dance Central is also very enjoyable whether it is having dance battles with friends, or playing solo and trying to top the leaderboards, the game allows you to learn challenging choreography that you see from music videos, whilst having fun.

Similar to Dance Central, flash cards appear on screen, and the player must dance the certain move to earn points. This goes on for each move unless you come across a gold flash card, which multiplies your score for that move by 4. With more advanced and challenging routines, Dance Central 2 has a lot of dance moves that include jumping, crouching as well as ‘the running man’, and has more energetic dance moves than the first game. Although there are a lot of new dance moves, most of the moves I encountered were a bit ‘feminine’ and a bit awkward to do, but other than that, the moves were more challenging than the first game.

Break it Down for Dance Central 2 has been refined to let the player learn specific dance moves, or the entire song like the first game. With Kinect functionality, the player can say “Xbox, Skip” or “Xbox, Record Video” to enhance their learning experience. Also, being able to slow down the move as well as see a recording of yourself, greatly help in learning those difficult hip hop moves. The game includes 4 modes when you choose a song, Perform It, which allows players to perform solo or co-operatively, Dance Battle, in which 2 players verse head-to-head for the highest score, Break It Down, and the Leaderboards, which compares your scores between your friends and the world.

In Dance Battle, there are certain parts of the song where a little minigame pops up. this minigame greatly increases your score as you try to complete the various moves on screen in any of the four columns. Also including an improved fitness mode, players are able to do a pre-set fitness playlist, each focusing on different workouts, or alternatively can create and save their own playlists of songs.

Dance Central 2’s graphics are quite similar to the first game, but includes a variety of stages to dance to. Each stage includes 2 different backdrops which change frequently throughout the song, for example, Riptide’s stage includes a bonfire party at the beach, and changes to a dance battle at the basketball courts. As players complete the moves flawlessly, the backdrop also turns into a nightclub with the neon lines and flashing lights.

Music

The tracklist in Dance Central 2 is truly amazing

Having popular tracks from Usher, Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Bruno Mars, as well as those classic songs like ‘What is Love?’ and ‘Hot Stuff’, the tracklist in Dance Central 2 is truly amazing. From these songs, you learn certain types of dance moves, for example in ‘DJ Got us falling in love’ by Usher, you’ll mainly learn popping and b-boy type moves, whereas in songs like ‘Bad Romance’ and ‘Toxic’, you’ll learn more feminine and complicated dance moves.

Giving you about 40+ songs as well as being able to transfer Dance Central songs for 400 Miscrosoft Point and DLC, there will be about 100+ songs in the library, giving players a wide selection of songs to dance to. To name a few, there are song like:
Like a G6 – Far East Movement
Yeah – Usher
Born This Way – Lady Gaga
Grenade – Bruno Mars
Sexy Chick – Akon ft. David Guetta

Dance Central 2 gives players the option to toggle Freestyle mode, which includes a freestyle section in the middle of a song, or can toggle it off and dance a couple more moves instead of freestyling. This doesnt apply to Dance Central songs, and automatically has a freestyle section.

More than 30 songs were available for download for DC, and are also available for Dance Central 2, keeping in mind that Harmonix have a lot more DLC tracks to come, such as the recent announcement that they are releasing new DLC tracks from Lady Gaga and Rihanna.

Bottom Line

With its wide range of tracks, professional dance moves and amazing game mechanics, Dance Central 2 is arguably one of the best dance games to ever be released. Even though it doesn’t bring as much ‘fun’ as other dance games, Dance Central 2 helps players to learn complicated moves and give them a sense of satisfaction as well as enjoyment when playing with friends. Break it Down and Dance Battle were the two features that stood out the most, Break it down, giving players multiple ways to learn specific dance moves, and Dance battle which allows two players to dance simultaneously.

If you enjoy party games, especially dancing/singing games, then Dance Central 2 is just for you. Even if you’re shy or really uncoordinated, playing the game with friends can be really enjoyable and can help people to feel more confident in a way. With a wide selection of song genres, features to help improve your dancing, Dance Central 2 greatly outweighs the first game and can possibly be the best dancing game to date.

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