Harmonix have hung up their guitars and rocker mullet wigs to focus on turning players into dance sensations with its dance game franchise Dance Central.
Now into its third instalment carrying over the gameplay and track selection fans have grown to love over the past few years, making it Harmonix Systems and MTV Games best game yet.
Developed alongside Backbone Entertainment and Published alongside MTV Games, Harmonix has over the years shown us that they are the masters of music games whether its guitars, drums, microphones or dance floors.
They can do it all and get even the least musical minded person on their feet, fully utilizing the Xbox 360’s Kinect sensor which picks up the players performance and can see whether they are a born dancer or not.
Dance Central 3 sports a library of 45 songs spanning many time eras from songs such as The Trammps “Disco Inferno” to the Village People’s “Y.M.C.A” to Nicki Minaj’s smash hit “Starships” making this game great for players of all ages. Importing songs from previous Dance Central games is also possible with downloadable content on the way.
Dance Central 3 has improved on Dance Central 2’s Campaign mode to offer players an expanded story mode; yes a dance game now has a full-fledged story to play through! Villainous DR.
Tan plans to destroy the world of Dance Central and players must join forces with the DCI or Dance Central Intelligence to travel through time to get dance crews from different time periods to join them on their fight against Dr Tan’s evil plans.
The plot itself is mediocre at best. However, it gives the player more purpose to play Dance Central 3 and the story mode is also a great way to learn old to new styles of dances methodically and also introduces the games characters in a steady sequence of events.
Players can now learn legendary dance moves like “The Hustle”, “Electric Slide” and of course the infamous “Y.M.C.A” which can be made more complex the higher the difficulty setting.
Party mode brings fun to parties and get togethers making use of mini games whilst randomising the games soundtrack with the game difficulty differing depending on the players’ capabilities. Dance Central 3 introduces a new game mode called Crew Throwdown which 2 of up to 4 players go head to head to compete in competitions, mini games and dance battles to finally settle scores of who are the better dancers.
The gameplay is the same as previous Dance Central games, players follow the characters movements shown on screen with simplistic illustrations of the required dance move displayed on a selected side of the screen.
A red coloured outline shows on the characters limbs corresponding to whether the player is doing something wrong or not making it very easy to correct that move you just can’t get right.
The more moves the player gets right, the more score earned which is rated by a star rating at the end of each performance; more stars unlock more characters, songs and venues.
A game mode is also available which is fitness based which a prompt on screen displays how much calories the player is burning off in real time.
The Kinect picks up the players movements marvellously and corrections are picked up instantly with a small image of the player silhouetted in a top corner of the screen to assist players helping them stay viewable by the Kinect.
The visuals are nice and crisp and characters move smoothly assisted by backing dancers who do the same moves as the main character displayed in the centre of the screen.
They are easy to follow however early warning on which move is next could have been a great addition as there was many times I had lost vital points trying to figure out the move coming next, going by the small illustrations on the side of the screen and was only when the characters started performing these moves, I knew what I was doing.
The venues are beautifully rendered and loaded with detail also each venue fills with colour when a continuous stream of perfectly performed moves is earned. Venues consist of TV studios, crowded streets and DCI’s headquarters which resembles something from the Men In Black films complete with suited dancers.
Dance Central 3 oozes class as far as dance games go carrying on its franchise in a spectacular fashion with its large varied library of songs and dance routines that are accessible to everyone. The story gives the game purpose however it is very clichéd but breathes new life into the Dance Central games and offers something other dance games don’t. The assortment of game modes will keep players interested and will most definitely keep players coming back for more fans and non-fans alike. Dance Central 3 is without shadow of a doubt the ultimate dancing game.
Dance Central 3
Developers: Harmonix Music systems/Backbone entertainment
Publishers: Harmonix Music Systems/Mtv Games
Genre: Music dance Interactive
Release Date: 19th October 2012
Story – 3.5/5
Gameplay – 4/5
Overall – 4/5