Review: Dance Central

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Watch out who you play it with or you may incur something “like a full-bodied dry heave set to music”

As of the writing of this article, I believe this to be the best Kinect game available so far. It has music spanning a number of generations so if you aren’t into the modern music these darn kids are listening to you can choose songs like “Jungle Boogie” or “Bust a Move”. On the other side of the spectrum you have modern tracks like “Just Dance” and “Poker Face”. Just like previous music games like Rockband before it, you can purchase new music/dances as well. Some of my favorites being being “Weapon of Choice” and “Whoomp! (There it is)”.

One flaw with the Kinect in my mind is the interfaces between the action. Most games you have to hold your hand in the air over the selection for a number of seconds. Many times the button is very small and even minor movements start the timer over again. Dance Central chose a different method and I appreciate it much more. Instead of a cursor in the air, it just reads the movement of your hand in general. When you raise your hand it slides the list of tracks up. It doesn’t check to make sure you’re using the right hand or left, or if it’s in the right spot. After you’ve found the option you want, in this case a specific song, you don’t have to hover in place to select it, you just throw your hand to the side. It comes much more naturally than the other GUI’s I’ve seen with the Kinect so far.

Now unless you are hip and cool, you likely don’t know many dance moves. So the benevolent creators at Harmonix made a nice learning process before you actually perform the dance. It shows you quickly what the move looks like and asks you to try. If you do it well, it well move on to the next move. If you look like you are close, but need some practice, it will have you repeat it a couple times. If you REALLY suck, it will slow the tempo down and explain the different movements you need to follow. Great for all levels of users.

GRAPHICS: 80%
SOUND: 100%
GAMEPLAY: 90%
OVERALL: 90%

One benefit/detriment of this game is that you can actually start to feel the wear after a few songs in a row. This and a few other games have actually gotten my heart rate up. While this is a great thing to add to our otherwise sedentary lifestyles, I find that after a few songs I usually pop this game out and put in something more relaxing… like shooting zombies. It just doesn’t quite have the pull to make me want to keep playing when I’m winded. I think that will take a first person shooter filled with zombies to do that. I still consider this a party/casual game, but hopefully some more options will come with time.

P.S. – I highly suggest getting one of your hefty friends to dance to it. Comedy gold!

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