Xbox 360 Review: Dance Central

Is this Strictly Good Dancing or a dis-as-ter?

Over the years, there have been plenty of dancing games like DDR and Just Dance, but it was only a matter of time before a game picked up your dance moves precisely and Dance Central is that game, or is it?

Thanks to Kinect, Dance Central can track your moves as you try and stay in sync with your dancer, pulling off the moves that are shown on-screen. The more you get in a row, the bigger the multiplier and the better the score at the end. Now I’d like to first come clean and admit that I’m a terrible dancer, but at least I’m better than the likes of Ann Widdecombe! I also let a friend play who can dance and she did very well, getting me some achievements along the way, me on the other hand…not so well.

But there are times when I’ve been dancing that I’m sure I’ve been doing the moves right, only to have them denied by the strict detecting. Then again, I might have been incredibly out of time and that’s why I wasn’t allowed the points. Anyway, here’s the tracklist of songs you’ll be dancing to…

• Audio Push – “Teach Me How To Jerk”
• Lady Gaga – “Just Dance”
• Basement Jaxx – “Rendez-vu”
• Lady Gaga – “Poker Face”
• Beastie Boys – “Body Movin’ (Fatboy Slim Remix)”
• Lipps Inc – “Funky Town”
• Beenie Man – “King Of The Dancehall”
• M.I.A. – “Galang ‘05”
• Bell Biv DeVoe – “Poison”
• Nelly Furtado – “Maneater”
• Benny Benassi – “Satisfaction
• Nina Sky – “Move Ya Body”
• Cascada – “Evacuate the Dancefloor”
• No Doubt – “Hella Good”
• Christina Milian – “Dip It Low”
• Pitbull – “I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)”
• The Commodores – “Brick House”
• Quad City DJ’s – “C’mon N’ Ride It (The Train)”
• Craig Mack – “Flava In Ya Ear (Remix)”
• Rihanna – “Pon de Replay”
• Dirty Vegas – “Days Go By”
• Salt-N-Pepa – “Push It”
• Eric B. & Rakim – “Don’t Sweat the Technique”
• Snoop Dogg/Pharrell – “Drop It Like It’s Hot”
• Fannypack – “Hey Mami”
• Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em – “Crank That (Soulja Boy)”
• Jay Sean ft. Lil Wayne – “Down”
• Technotronic – “Pump Up the Jam”
• Kool & The Gang – “Jungle Boogie”
• Wreckx-n-Effect – “Rump Shaker”
• Kylie Minogue – “Can’t Get You Out of My Head”
• Young MC – “Bust A Move”

Now the tracklist isn’t to everyone’s tastes, I know it’s not my cup of tea apart from the likes of Poker Face. But these are all good to dance to, plus DLC is already out and will probably continue to come out for even better dance songs. So chances are that if there isn’t a song on there that you like to dance to, that one will come out in due course.

You can practise each dance in the Break It Down mode which teaches you how to pull off each individual move before putting you to the test to perform them as a bunch. It’s a good way of getting to grips with the tricky moves and each increase in difficulty adds even more moves. You can also activate the Workout Mode during songs so you burn off calories during dancing, plus you can even get rid of the cards showing you what moves to perform so that you rely entirely on memory.

The achievements are relentlessly difficult and I can say that the odds of me getting 1000 in it are next to none, unless I marry a professional dancer (any takers?) But those with the right moves will have a good shot at getting pretty close. You can also battle a friend at dancing, but only by taking turns…it seems that Dance Central can’t track 2 players at once, which I find rather odd.

The visual style is slick and very pleasing on the eye, it’s definitely the best looking Kinect game so far. The character models are well detailed and move realistically, while the backgrounds are nice to look at too. The voice-acting is mixed, but overall it’s helpful, while depending on your tastes, the tracklist will either please you or not.

The Verdict

Dance Central is a great first step in bringing an authentic dancing experience to gaming. Kinect does a good job in picking up your movements, although the game is a bit harsh at times and it’s hard to tell if that’s down to a bit of lag from Kinect or if you are out of time. That aside, its great fun regardless if you can dance or not. It’s hard, but will keep you dancing well until at least after the holidays.