Weekend Flashback Review – Dance Central 3

Originally Posted December 22nd, 2012.

Dance Central was a weird one for me. Harmonix had already made me a fan with the Rock Band franchise, and I had gotten a kinect for Christmas. Dance Central and it’s other games ended up being some of the best games for the Kinect. They were fun, silly, but more importantly, worked so incredibly well. The songs weren’t amazing, purely because of my own taste, but it was a good laugh to just flail around with friends and dance the night away.

Harmonix know a thing or two about making rhythm games. Not just that, this is their third attempt at making a dancing game specifically for the Kinect. Both of these facts are clear in this latest installment of their Dance Central franchise, and it also reeks of their creativity all over the place with a bizarre story mode in what seems at face value to be another incremental dancing game, which is honestly the best use of Kinect besides the voice commands you can use to navigate your Xbox.

Dance Central 3 is mechanically stellar. It is clear that they’ve improved vastly from their first Dance Central game, and the moves are even more complicated thanks to the Kinect being much better at detecting your body movements. This also means that you have a bit of an easier and better time attempting to get th emoves you’re attempting to perform just right to get the most points possible when you’re dancing your feet off. The environments and character animations are also top notch, making it really great to look at, with the menu system still being one of the best and most responsive on the Kinect. It’s easy and fun to navigate and it makes perfect sense, even for first time users.

The setlist itself is large and extremely varied, even without considering Harmonix’s excellent record for releasing regular and high quality DLC for both the Dance Central and Rock Band games. With some great modern songs on the disc, as well as multiple from years past, it’s probably the strongest and most fun out of all three games on disc songs. This is also improved from the fake that the singer and dancer, Usher,  helped out with the choreography for the game itself, not just his own music. This means that the moves are a lot less robotic and more dancey, as well as meaning there are some of the most difficult moves so far, including ridiculous spins and floor planting which adds more amusing events when playing with friends rather than a pure challange. Unless you can already dance or are the least bit coordinated, of course.

The reasoning behind some of the older songs, such as the YMCA and Macarena, comes from the story mode of the game, which happens to be the silliest thing in the game. Justified as making the dances seem less cheesy, being performed by modern dancers, the story involves time travel. The player works for DCI, Dance Central Intelligence, and has to go back in time to different era’s of dance to rescue agents lost in time. This is all because an evil genius, Dr. Tan, wishes to remove all unique dance moves from time, resulting in a uniform and boring form of dancing for the world to groove to. This is honestly the most bizarre story justification I’ve ever heard, but it works so well that I honestly cannot be happier with it being there. It’s stupid in the best ways and it means you have fun and variety while learning the dances, meaning you’re not just picking your favourites in Quick Play all the time.

Dance Central 3 is the epitome of dancing games, and it is a necessary purchase for your Kinect. It’s fun in the best ways, it’s more difficult and it’s got a funny and ridiculous story to follow. It also has some new mini-game modes and expanded multiplayer functions, which is honestly where a lot of the fun comes in. Bring it out for parties, have a bit of a work out, or just learn the dance moves to go out later and show off to the opposite sex in hope of something. It’s definitely something fun for a lot of different people.

Oh, and did I forget to mention you can get Gangnam Style on it as DLC now?

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