5 Stars for Dance Central Series by Marissa
Hi! I am Marissa and want to take you back a bit through a journey of Dance Games. Say Good Bye to the old Dance Dance Revolution dance pad laying on the floor and say hello to the future: Dance Central and Dance Central 2. Dance Central is the real dancing with the combined efforts of gaming. Ever felt like a wallflower at dances, clubs or parties? Luckily no one needs dancing experience to be good at Dance Central, even two left feet can still get you 5 gold stars.
The game designer Harmonix has worked well over the years developing musical games. One of Harmonix’s first games with a regular controller is FreQuency. Players followed a flying space craft blasting notes to create tracks. As multiple tracks were completed as song was created. Soon after the birth of Frequency came Amplitude: A faster paced game, fun multiple player modes, also new songs were added. Harmonix later was contacted by RedOctane. From there they forged one of the greatest games in gaming history: Guitar Hero. After completing a few Guitar Hero games with RedOctane, Harmonix decided to add a few more peripherals to the gaming world. What we now know as Rock Band. The latest triumph in Harmonix;’s sleeves is Dance Central.
The concept of Dance Central is very simple: mimic the dancer in front of the screen and/or follow the flashcards generating a score. The highest score available is 5 gold stars. Think of this as the dancing version of Guitar Hero. It’s just that your body is the instrument; No need for magic, glow sticks, extra controllers or peripherals.
Dance Central is an Xbox 360 Kinect game. There are a lot of great bargains in stores so acquiring a Kinect should not prove a challenge. Just be ready to fight someone over the last one in store if it really comes down to that point. The Kinect sensor is close to the Eye Toy camera that the PlayStation uses. It captures the available space by the camera and sensing human movement: if there was no person in front of the camera the game will pause or will rest. The motion sensor can detect perfect movement and depth perception.
A player stands in front of the Kinect sensor and chooses their modes. Depending on the mood the player is in, there is a work out mode to keep up with heart rate and calories burned or just dancing also known as Perform It. There are other modes to help learn the moves first before diving right in: Break It Down. This is especially great for those hard songs and getting the dance movement just right. Dance Central also has a multiple player option if Dance Battle is chosen. This option is great for parties and gatherings. Multiple people can play along and switch between “Freestyle” sessions during the songs. The Freestyle sessions let the player do any tricks, dances, or poses while the Kinect takes multiple pictures. Right after the Freestyle session is over, the game plays back at a rapid pace the moves that were taken to make a short funny gif movie. These pictures can be viewed after the song as ended.
Dance Central has a vast variety of songs from the ever so famous Lady Gaga to Kylie Minogue. The songs chosen are classics in every decade. At the end of each song list there is a challenge mode. During the challenge mode, each song is played at the main chorus pieces. Better get your groove on, the last challenge in the game plays every single song. Make sure there is plenty of water around and all moves are learned. Even in easy, sweat will be pouring down those faces. The game system will ask “Feeling tired or sore? Take a break.” Check the clock and give it a rest. Jump back at the game in perhaps 5 to 10 minutes.
If the songs in the game are not enough to satisfy, there is always the extra download content through the Xbox Live Marketplace. There are 32 total extra songs from the Marketplace. Together with the base songs on the game, there are 64 songs. Each song does deliver new dances. Play around with song favorites and see what moves await to be unlocked.
The characters in the game are fun, creative and witty. There are 10 selectable characters: 1 of which must be code inputted creating the 10th character. Each character has their own songs selected for them as they are the main dancer for that song. Players can chose to dance as a different character to their liking. All 9 normal character have an unlockable outfit. The player must receive 25 stars per character to unlock the second change of clothing. Some can be an improvement, and some can be rather quirky and funky. Really, it’s up to the controller to decide. Getting 5 stars per 5 songs can easily unlock the extra outfit. Make sure to nail those dance moves.
Dance Central is an engaging, fun, and challenging game; However, there are a few draw backs to this game. If a gamer plays video games in a closet space area, this is not that game for that space. Lots of space will be needed as well as the necessary light: The more light the better. The Kinect will react better will more lighting.
It is very possible to lose points because the Kinect is unable to read the body movement. Just like the opening of the game, make sure you have plenty of space: so move chairs, couches, lamps, pets, family and friends out of the way. They will get hurt if dancing gets out of control.
This game is challenging. If the player is not naturally a dancer and does not pass a song, that’s all right. It happens. There is a reason why it is a game. Take off the tap shoes and put some socks on. Do not get discouraged because a song gets difficult. There are a lot of moves that players will have to use the Break It Down mode over and over. There is a reason why it exists.
Being self conscious and looking silly is one of the games specialties. If looking like a clown is not on your list, it’s better to play when no one is around. Even in social situations and group settings, it is a tough call whether to look like a fool or have fun. Either way, someone is going to end up looking silly. It’s best to have fun.
Just in the year 2011, Harmonix did release Dance Central 2: the sequel to the first game. The game system has changed a bit. Instead of one dancer at a time, there can now be two dancers on the screen. Just in case your friend drops out another person can step in while the song is in motion. This will not effect the score but could also help overall. One unique add on is the microphone usage. If a player wants to pause a song, just say “Xbox Pause.” Hopefully the music in the background is not too loud that it won’t interfere with the voice command.
Lastly the major change is the Freestyle mode in Dance Battle. Instead of doing a silly dance that creates a gif image, players have a chance to gain the lead by repeating some of the dances shown on the screen. Who ever finishes the dance gains the extra points. Special golden boxes appear giving double the points. This can change the tide between victory and defeat. In the Dance Battle mode, players will see their characters hands glowing like they have a special power. This lets both players know who is in the lead. Make sure to break out the glow sticks to be the best dancer in the area.
The modes are still the same; but there is one new add on: Crew Battle. This is the new story mode where players can go head to head with dance crews, not just one character. Some familiar faces can be seen within the crew and there are new faces to be had. During the songs in Crew Battle, players will see that there is no more Freestyle. Players will have to play the entire song dancing the moves shown.
If players have previously owned Dance Central before acquiring Dance Central 2, players can use a code found inside the manual to get all previous songs. If not, the first set of songs from Dance Central can be purchased for 400 Xbox Live points. There are all new songs to be downloaded and extra dances to perform.
Whether gamers pick up Dance Central or Dance Central 2, this game is most definitely addicting. Friends, families and co-workers most definitely can enjoy this charismatic game. The songs can be a great work out mode without even knowing it. These are real dance moves. Just make sure men are not doing moves from Rihanna’s Maneater in public. It might be okay with the Kinect sensor on, but with the world’s eyes watching it’s best to stick with the Sexy jerk. This game is for everyone: for the young and the old, this should be in every gamer’s repertoire.