78 of 82 people found the following review helpful
Time to get down again
, October 27, 2011
This review is from: Dance Central 2 - Xbox 360 (Video Game)
I'm an old lady, but I love the Dance Central series. And DC2 is a worthy -- better than worthy -- successor to DC.
Like in DC, you'll get to learn new dance moves and choreographies, sweat, and generally have a good time set to good music. But there are a few differences.
1) Graphics. The graphics are a lot better this go-round, from the backgrounds to the way the characters move. Instead of being set in a gritty city setting, they've moved down to a Cali/Miami-styled place, with richer and brighter colors. DC2 looks amazing. The incidental music feels more sophisticated.
2) Instead of dancing as a particular character, you dance with a "crew," whether that means the athletes of Riptide, the club kidz of Hi-Def, or one of the other styled crews. I haven't seen Dare or Oblio, two fan faves from DC, so far in a few hours of play. Boo. However, the crews mean there's a campaign mode. You select the level of difficulty for the dances at the outset (Easy, Medium or Hard), then cruise from one crew to the next dancing their routines with them. This means you get to go through the campaign three times, if you want, and the personalities of the crews come through.
3) Fitness is tweaked. There are playlists, which load pretty rapidly, so you can either do a 20-minute low-impact workout or a 50-minute "long hall." The game estimates calories for you, though I'm curious to know how it does so since a medium-sized old lady like myself burns a vastly lower amount of calories than someone significantly larger and a lot more than a skinny kid. You can also create your own playlists. If there were a "shuffle mode" that would have been perfection.
4) Break It Down mode is WAY better. You can actually get through it faster than in DC, and using voice commands can slow it down, video your movements and check against the dancer, and focus on one or two moves you may need to get through. The only reason I'll never have all the achievements on DC is because one is "get 100 percent on all songs in break it down." If this tech had existed for DC, I might have gotten it.
5) Import all your DC songs. This is great, but 400 MSP? Come on. I'm glad I got the pre-order free points to do it. But the instructions were wrong -- don't redeem code from inside the game for this, go through your XboxLive account. Seriously, there are too many digits for the in-game code redemption, which works for the 240 MSP card you get inside the package.
Speaking of songs, there are some really good ones on DC2. Lots of them are not family-friendly, even with words blipped out. And there are a lot of "meh" songs. I think my biggest disappointment in the DC series is that there is a lot of great dance music out there, but a lot of what DC licenses is ... "meh." What's up with that? Why don't they get a whack at better songs? They get a lot of great songs through "Rock Band," why is a dance game such a challenge?
While I'm on about song choices, I think one of the things that hampers the series is its music choices are all in a limited genre -- hip hop, classic disco/funk and pop. Why not bust out an occasional jazz standard, rockabilly or country song, at least for DLC? Here's where having characters and crews kind of limits the range, one way that the Just Dance series overcomes these limitations. Of course, Just Dance 3 is way more family-friendly than DC. But my point is that if you're going to limit your range, you need to get the best of what's available from that range, and I don't know that Harmonix necessarily does that (I mean, three novelty songs -- the Numa Numa song, "What is Love?" and "Baby Got Back" are supplemented with the Humpty Dance. This is too much novelty. At least they're fun to dance, if not to have stuck in your head -- damn you, Haddaway.)
6) Two people can dance at the same time. Yay! Party time! And there are mini-games in the multiplayer mode.
7) You can shut off Freestyle mode and just do programmed moves for all the DC2 dances (not so much the older stuff you have).
8) The way it reads your moves seems to have improved. Although going "down" in a scroll menu you can still have a rough time of it getting "stuck."
At any rate, there were reasons that DC was the best, most-popular Kinect title on the market forever. And those same reasons -- fun, fitness, challenge, friendly multiplayer -- are still around, and even stronger, in DC2.
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