“ Genre: Music & Dancing / Kinect Compatible / Publisher: Microsoft „
Having been a huge fan of the original Dance Central, it was inevitable that if funds allowed, I would sink my wages into the second game. I have to say, Harmonix did not leave me disappointed with Dance Central 2.
Harmonix are the company behind the Rockband franchise, and have been successful across all the major gaming platforms. They specialise in rhythm type games, Rockband being a game in which you imitate being in a band using specially formed controllers with coloured buttons, and now Dance Central in which your body is the controller using the Kinect hardware.
Following last year's success with the original Dance Central, Dance Central 2 was released worldwide during the month of October, offering the same and more from the game.
I bought Dance Central 2 from Tesco for £32.70, which at the moment is a fairly reasonable price, however like all games the price is likely to reduce over time.
Dance Central 2 Gameplay
Those who have played the original Dance Central will still be greeted with the familiar controls - swiping your right arm to the left to select an option on the menu, and swiping your left arm to the right to go back to the previous menu. There is the Dance option, which mirrors the original game in that you choose a song, and can decide whether to play solo, do a dance battle between two people and the break it down mode to help you master moves. But now there is a new feature - two people can dance AT THE SAME TIME! Hallelujah I hear you cry.
The addition of the two at a time gameplay feature is sure to make a huge difference to the quality of the game as a social game. Now anyone who was a little nervous or apprehensive of the dance battle, in which you take turns and effectively still dance solo, can dance at the same time as somebody else. I have no qualms about getting up and shaking my booty in front of friends, family and even strangers, but I know some of my friends are put off by having to dance alone. Now the spotlight is not on one individual which is sure to boost confidence in new players and people who haven't got the opportunity to practice at home.
There is also a fitness mode now, which was somewhat present in the original Dance Central, but you had to remember to set it up in the main menu before continuing to the usual dance mode. The new mode means you can set up your bmi information in the mode and continue to either play song by song separately, or create a playlist that lasts a certain amount of minutes. This has to be far easier to keep track of the exercise you are carrying out in my opinion.
Another new addition to the game is the crew challenge. This is based on dance battles that you might have come across in films like Step Up, where two dance crews take it in turns to showcase each dancer and their signature moves, and either a winner is decided at the end or any disputes between the two crews are set aside. In the Dance Central 2 mode, you visit each crew who show you some front about being talented dancers, then invite you to challenge them. If you prove yourself to them in either easy, medium or hard mode, they allow you to "represent" them. That would mean that if you dance elsewhere, they allow you to use their name to show you are part of the crew. In order to do this, you must gain the required amount of stars to unlock their final challenge, and once you complete the final challenge to the standard required, they allow you to represent. If you gain the total amount of stars in their routines, you gain an achievement.
The graphics don't differ much at all from the original game, but I don't see that as a bad thing! To be able to visualise animated dancers in a way that you can assume to be real human beings means that you can therefore imitate their movements very easily, and of course then you can perform the dances correctly and earn points.
There are also flashcards with the names of moves on that travel up the right hand side of the screen, so once you have played the game a few times you will recognise the moves by their name and be more prepared for them.
I would say that the graphics are particularly good considering the Xbox kinect is still in its infancy.
Songs on the tracklist include:
B.O.B. ft. Bruno Mars - Nothin' On You
Bananarama - Venus
Bruno Mars - Grenade
Bobby Brown - My Prerogative
Chingy - Right Thurr
Ciara ft. Petey Pablo - Goodies
Daddy Yankee ft. Fergie - Impacto (Remix)
Daft Punk - Technologic
David Guetta ft. Akon - Sexy Chick
Diddy ft. Keyshia Cole - Last Night
Digital Underground - The Humpty Dance
Enrique Iglesias ft. Pitbull - I Like It
Far East Movement - Like a G6
Flo Rida ft. David Guetta - Club Can't Handle Me
Gnarls Barkley - Run (I'm A Natural Disaster)
Haddaway - What Is Love
Justin Beiber - Somebody to Love
Kevin Lyttle - Turn Me On
La Roux - Bulletproof
Lady Gaga - Bad Romance
Lady Gaga - Born This Way
Lena - Satellite
Little Boots - Meddle
Mary J. Blige - Real Love
Missy Elliott - Get Ur Freak On
Montell Jordan - This Is How We Do It
Nicki Minaj - Massive Attack
Rihanna - Rude Boy
Sean Kingston - Fire Burning
Sir Mix-A-Lot - Baby Got Back
Usher ft. Lil' Jon and Ludacris - Yeah!
Usher ft. Pitbull - DJ Got Us Falling In Love Again
Willow - Whip My Hair
And more, which I have not yet unlocked!
As far as I know, all songs are performed by the original artists, apart from a Britney Spears track that is just "made famous by". This is similar to some of the tracks available on Rockband.
Here is the list of achievements you can pursue on Dance Central 2 and the Xbox gamer points you can earn:
Certified Double Platinum - Get a solo score of at least 2,000,000 points on a song (25G)
Star Quality - Earn over 100 stars (25G)
Eclectic Taste - Play every song in the game in Perform It mode (20G)
Gold Digger - Earn gold stars on a song (20G)
Solo and Steady - Earn 5 stars on a solo performance (20G)
Perfect Pair - Earn 5 stars on a co-op performance (30G)
Finishing Touch - Earn a Flawless Finish on a song (20G)
Hard Act to Follow - Earn 3 stars on any song on Hard skill level (20G)
Dance Hall Legend - Earn 5 stars on every song in the game (40G)
Bragging Rights - Earn more than 100,000 points in a Free-4-All (20G)
All Over the Place - Nail moves in each column on the screen in a Free-4-All (20G)
Chump to Champ - Go from 2nd place to 1st in a Free-4-All (20G)
Vanquisher - Win 20 Dance Battles (20G)
Proved Your Point - Win 3 Dance Battles in a row (20G)
Targeted Practice - Customize your Break It Down session by using the "Focus on Select Moves" Feature (15G)
Teacher's Pet - Earn 5 stars on a song in Perform It immediately after completing it in Break It Down (25G)
Slow Profile - Get a perfect score on a move after using Slo-Mo in Break It Down mode (15G)
For the Record - Get a perfect score on a move after using the Video Record in Break It Down mode (15G)
Nailed It! - Skip to the next move by nailing a move the first time you see it in Break It Down (15G)
Recapable - Get a perfect score on a Recap in Break It Down mode (20G)
Working It Out - Play a 30 minute session in Fitness mode (20G)
Survival of the Fittest - Log 5 total hours in Fitness mode (20G)
Biggest Winner - Burn your first 100 calories in Fitness mode (20G)
Thrash and Burn - Burn 3500 calories in Fitness mode (40G)
Patience Is a Virtue - Listen to the entire background theme of the game in one sitting (10G)
Endliess-ish Setlist - Complete a playlist that is 15 minutes in length or longer (15G)
Full Dance Card - Dance with every original crew member in the game (30G)
Get the Picture - Upload a Photo to Kinect Share (15G)
Latest Model - Have your picture taken 1000 times (30G)
Shop and Lock - Unlock the alternate outfits for the 10 crew members (30G)
Getting Ripped - Master Riptide's routines on Easy skill level (10G)
Turn the Tide - Master Riptide's routines on Medium skill level (15G)
Friend of Riptide - Master Riptide's routines on Hard skill level (20G)
Def to the World - Master Hi-Def's routines on Easy skill level (10G)
Hi and Mighty - Master Hi-Def's routines on Medium skill level (15G)
Friend of Hi-Def - Master Hi-Def's routines on Hard skill level (20G)
Forward Motion - Master Flash4wrd's routines on Easy skill level (10G)
Flash in the Pan - Master Flasg4wrd's routines on Medium skill level (15G)
Friend of Flash4wrd - Master Flash4wrd's routines on Hard skill level (20G)
Bit of a Lu$h - Master Lu$h Crew's routines on Easy skill level (10G)
Lu$h Fund - Master Lu$h Crew's routines on Medium skill level (15G)
Friend of Lu$h Crew - Master Lu$h Crew's routines on Hard skill level (20G)
All That Glitters - Master The Glitterati's routines on Easy skill level (10G)
In It to Twin It - Master The Glitterati's routines on Medium skill level (15G)
Worthy Adversary - Master The Glitterati's routines on Hard skill level (20G)
Photo Bomb! - Perform a Freestyle section with 2 or more people (20G)
Fitness Fantatic - Complete an entire Fitness Playlist (15G)
There are also three secret achievements, which I won't list, or it might ruin your surprise!
I think most of these achievements are actually within reach, whereas the same couldn't be said for the original Dance Central, because they needed to be done in a certain order which we might not have chosen in playing the game, or because they were downright difficult!
I cannot vouch that this occurs with every copy of Dance Central 2, but with mine it advertised a bonus card for 240 Microsoft points, which is basically the currency in which you can buy additional download content on the Xbox. I assumed that this would only be a small amount that you could put towards a song, but it turns out 240 points gets you a whole song! So I downloaded Gwen Stefani's Hollerback Girl, which I think is going to be very difficult, but I haven't had a go on that yet as I am playing through the crew challenge.
I was bound to like the game having enjoyed Dance Central originally, but theres always the nagging thought in your mind that like films, one sequel too far can ruin things. This definitely is not the case with Dance Central 2 though. And I think I can safely say that it can be enjoyed as a stand-alone game as well if you didn't buy the original game.
Not only does this game carry benefits in so far as it is fun, a great game for social events and encourages work and progression, but also you have the added benefit of getting good exercise from the game. In an age where placing children in front of a games console is more and more commonplace, at least you know that there is some physical benefit to playing the game, as you can't cheat by using the Xbox controller.
The only disadvantages for people new to the game may well be having to purchase the kinect system if you do not already own it, and the other thing is if you have the original game and you want to transport your tracks from that disc into the new game, Harmonix and Microsoft charge you for the privilege. I am unsure as to how much you have to pay, but I know for the same thing on Rockband on the PS3 it is approximately £5 to do so.
All that said, I believe this was £32.70 well spent.
Also on Ciao
When I first got my Kinect sensor for my Xbox 360, one of the first games I bought was Dance Central. I fell in love with this game and I still play it to this day, and when I heard that they were to release a sequel for it, I was quite excited.
The game, Dance Central 2, was released Friday October 21st and I went into my local Game store to buy it, but noticed it was cheaper on Amazon, so I ordered it on there and I waited for it to arrive. It turned up just a couple of days later, and I played it the first chance I got.
The game is made by Harmonix and it is rated a 12. It is rated a 12 as it apparently contains bad language and references to sex. This is printed on the back of the case but I am not sure which songs on the game this is in reference to as I have not noticed anything myself.
The game is pretty much the same as the first one, but all the best bits have been amped up and a few extra things added which make it even better than the first one.
The basis of the game is to dance along to the music, copying the moves of the dancer on the screen. This is all played with the Kinect Sensor, which tracks your body throughout to ensure you are getting the moves correct, and there is no way to play this without a Kinect Sensor.
The music on the game is mostly current songs and hits, with some older, more classic tunes thrown into the mix. The game includes songs like; Fire Burning - Sean Kingston, Yeah - Usher, Goodies - Ciara, Turn Me On - Kevin Little and Born This Way - Lady Gaga.
There is over 40 songs on the game, the majority of which I really enjoy, and there is only a couple of songs I have not heard of before. All the songs are great to dance to though, and they seem to have been selected for the good beats and brilliant tunes. I am impressed with the selection of songs and I think most people will enjoy the majority of songs that are up for selection.
The navigation of this game is as simple as the last one, and even if you have not played the first one, you will easily be able to work this one out. The navigation system is all done by hand, same as much of the Kinect system. It is is easy to select anything you need, and you can also use voice control for certain parts of the game. This is easy to use too, and everything is displayed on the screen for you to learn.
Just like in the last game you can choose single songs, and play your way through in any order you wish, just by picking a different song after you have completed each one. You do not have to play in the order they are displayed, just scroll through and select which ones you want. You can also create a playlist, which means the songs you pick will run back to back, so you do not have to keep selecting a different song after each one. I think this is quite a good idea as it means you can play continously without interuption, and this is something that was not available on the original Dance Central.
Another addition that was not on the last game, is the instant two player mode. You can just jump in and play with a friend on this one, all they have to do is wave at the Kinect sensor and stand next to you. This can be used in single song play, or in the other game modes, like Dance Battle.
If you had the original Dance Central, and you downloaded some of the extra content, like songs or outfits for the dancers, then you can still use them on Dance Central 2. They will instantly be available for use through the game, as they are found on the hard drive of the Xbox 360 when you load the game. You can also download other songs for this game through the marketplace, and this will cost you 240 microsoft points per song, as well as dancer outfits etc.
There is a lot of the original dance characters from the original game, but they all have new ouftits, and there is a small selection of newer dancers too. You can change the dancer that comes with each song should you wish, personally I just stick with what ever one the game randomly chooses for me to use. This doesn't really make a difference to me, but it is a nice option to have for those who like to change the dancer.
There is a whole collection of different dance venues in this game, including dance clubs, boats and holiday spots. There is a small crowd in each venue, just like in the last one, and this is a nice touch to the game I think, as it makes it a little bit more interactive.
The game is made in HD so it is amazing looking on the screen, the colours on the screen are beautful and you can see that some great work has gone into the graphics for this game. The details are very exact, with great outfits, background scenes and the characters are made well. Their outfits look outstanding, and the way the dancers move to the music is very realistic and in perfect time to the music.
There is a little screen on the top hand corner of the game which shows you yourself whilst you play the game. This is so you can see that you are in the correct positioning to play, and it will also show you how you are moving, so you know that you are getting the moves correctly. If you do not get the moves correctly during the game, the dancer on the screen will be used to show you what you did wrong. The body part that you didn't have in the correct place, will show up red on the dancer, so you know exactly what you did wrong.
The better your moves are, the more score you get, and the more score you get, the more stars you fill up on the boombox. There is 5 stars on the boombox, which fill up with your score. The more stars you fill the better you have done on the song. If you get 5 gold stars, this means you have got a very high score and perfected most of the moves, if not all of them.
You can select a different difficulty for each song, easy, medium or hard. The easy ones are quite simple, and each level is progressively harder. If you are struggling with the moves from any of the songs, you can select the break it down mode, which shows you each move one by one, and you can make it slower should you still be struggling with it. You can do each move over and over until you feel you have it down, and then you can move onto the song in normal mode.
This game provides hours of fun, and it is playable by most people. Everyone in my family loves this game, and many of my friends have been round to play it to. It is quite a tiring game, so it can also be good for fitness and weight loss. I have used this game as part of my fitness routine, and I find it is a really fun way to workout, without noticing that you are excersicing.
I bought this game on Amazon for £31, which is the best price I have managed to find it for anywhere. If you buy it in stores, it is £40, as it is still a new game out, and this is the usual price for new games. Even if you have not played the first Dance Central, this is a great game to play, and I can be sure that most people will have fun playing.
Even if you are not a great dancer, or a dancer at all, this game is still fun to play, and I have found that I have picked up some new dance moves from these games, so it is a good all rounder! If you are looking to play a fun game that will keep you entertained for a long time, without you sitting around for hours, then this could be a good one for you.
If you have a Kinect Sensor and an Xbox 360 console, then all you need is the game and you are set. Personally I think it is worth going out and getting an Xbox 360 and The Kinect Sensor just for this game, as it is such a brilliant game, and if I am going to be anything like I was with the first one, I will playing this one for a long time to come. I can only hope that a 3rd one comes along and is just as good, if not better than the first two combined.
I give this game a 5 out of 5 stars, although I would love to give it much more. I totally recommend this game, and in perfect time for christmas, this could make an excellent present for someone this year. Get this and have some great fun!
*This review is also on Ciao under the user name of Hailee*