Rhythm games have always had a hard time coming out with good sequels. I mean, if you have a rhythm game that is really good already, how much more can you possibly do with it to keep it from becoming stale besides adding more tracks? Thankfully Dance Central 2 does more than come out for the sake of boosting the number of songs for the series. So what does Dance Central 2 do to justify the purchase of another full-priced title? Read on to find out.
For those who have no clue what Dance Central 2 is all about, the game uses the Xbox 360 Kinect peripheral to detect full-body motion as you dance along with it. The screen shows characters performing moves alongside cue cards scrolling on the side of them that give you a general idea of what the next move will be. The cue cards are great at showing you that you’re going to have to move your arms up and down, swirl them, etc., but if you really want to get the most points, you got to pay attention to the characters. The characters will show you how to do the moves right and that’s one defining feature that makes Dance Central 2 great.
In Dance Central 2, you have legitimate dance moves that are probably being done in nightclubs in your area every day. The game requires you to do these dance moves, and you can’t get away with not doing them like in some of those other dance games out there today. This makes it not only more fun, but also much more challenging. Dance Central 2 starts off with 44 songs and the option to download more. You have tracks that are new and hot, and also some old favorites. I say that the range is pretty good, but my opinion may or may not differ from yours. You can even import songs from the original game for the price of 400 Microsoft Points ($5), which I feel is a generous plus. Borrow a friend’s Dance Central and…you know the rest. Don’t tell anyone I gave you the idea though.
Added to the mix to Dance Central 2 are a bunch of new features. The biggest and most notable addition is the ability to play with two players simultaneously. The original Dance Central allowed you to play with two players alternating, but here you have two-player performances and battles. Performances are fun for a co-op experience to get high scores or to complete some of the crew challenges (which I’ll explain later). Battles, on the other hand, are played a little differently. After dancing the same moves at the same time, you have portions of a song where you try to outdo your opponent individually. This is a chance to take a good look at your opponent’s moves, or, do what I do, and mess them up by stepping in front of them. There is also a thing called “Free 4 All” where there are multiple dance moves on the screen, and you fight for the points of these moves by executing them faster and better.
Dance Central 2 also features a new mode called Crew Challenge where you have to complete songs in a good enough fashion that impresses the crew you’re trying to rep for. You can get a maximum of 5 stars for each track, and when you’ve obtained enough stars, a final song is unlocked which can be seen as the “boss battle” for Dance Central 2. After going through a set of songs, you move on to the next set and crew you’re trying to show your moves off to. This mode is tied together with voice-over dialogue that is forgettable, but I have to admit, some of the trash talking before a battle gets me a bit amped up. Is it cheesy stuff? Yes, but it makes me feel like I’m dancing with a purpose!
A game like Dance Central 2 is all about the social aspect. No one really buys a game like this to play alone, because the real fun is seeing others make a fool out of themselves, and watching people’s reactions as you make a fool out of yourself. It’s all about the enjoyment of having good laughs with the people around you, and Dance Central 2 just may be the best at it out there today. Are there hiccups here and there, especially with the Kinect not picking up your moves properly? Of course, but it’s hardly an issue with Dance Central 2, and I’m confident that they’re going to make it better and better after each iteration. It doesn’t get much better than this, guys. Now go and dance!