Dance Central - quick play preview

How good a dancer do you think you are? No really? Enough to strut your stuff and have your entire body tracked and then rated and scored. Well if that sounds like your thing, then Dance Central is likely to be the game for you. We grabbed a hands-on with the new game for Microsoft's camera tracking connect at this year's E3 games convention in LA to find out what's what. Read on to find out more.

Name

Dance Central

What platform is it on?

Xbox 360

When's it due out?

November 2010

What other game is it like?

Dance Masters from Konami, any dancing game you've played

Does it use any new tech like 3D, PlayStation Move, or Kinect for Xbox 360?

Yep, it's Microsoft Kinect ready

The pitch

Brought to you by Harmonix, the developers who created the worldwide blockbuster “Rock Band”, “Dance Central” is the first immersive dance video game that features and tracks full-body dance moves. Completely free from any controller, every routine has authentic choreography for beginners and experts alike to master, alongside a killer soundtrack that spans today’s current pop, hip-hop and R&B artists. Take it step-by-step with Break It Down or jump right in and start performing for your family and friends. Either way, you won’t just learn dance moves, you’ll own the dance floor!

The storyline

There isn't one, you've just got to dance your arse off.

Video

Two videos of the action as demoed by the product managers at Harmonix.

You see you really do have to have some moves.

Our first impressions

Finally you can ditch the dance mats and just use your own body with the Kinect for Xbox 360 mapping your every move, good or bad.

Think SingStar or Lips but with your body rather than your voice and you'll get the picture. You load up the dance routine you want from over 30 tracks and then try and match the 600 odd moves it will ask you to replicate.

In practice and unless you've got rhythm you'll be done for, we certainly were. Points are scored by following the moves exactly and there are three difficulty levels to challenge you. Get it right and you get rewarded, get it wrong and the game is over.

Here our experience wasn't too great, because of us rather than the game's inability to recognise what was happening.

However people that we watched, both at the unveiling in the Microsoft press conference at E3, again at a behind closed doors event, and finally on the show floor, who had far more rhythm than us, really got into it, strutting their stuff as if it was Saturday Night Fever.

Track listings include Lady Gaga, No Doubt, M.I.A., Bell Biv Devoe, and you just know that there will be more. As the product manager told us, while it won't be album based as it is for Rock Band, expect packs like 70's disco or 80's cheese.

There are 90 dance routines all created by professional choreographers in total with some of them from the actual music videos.

Please note

The E3 games convention is a fantastic chance to see the latest games due out over the coming year, as well as, letting us get a glimpse into what is going to be the big titles and the ones to avoid like the plague.

The big problem however is that for most of the titles that glimpse is, well, just that. At the show you'll get to play a level here or a multiplayer map there.

So with that in mind we present you with our Quick Play.

What we've done is broken down the key facts you need to know and then given you our first impressions based on around 15 minutes of gaming. For us that 15 minutes isn't enough to do a First Look review. How can you rate a game that offers over 30 hours of gaming on just 15 minutes of play? However it should hopefully give you an idea, a feeling, a notion, of what to expect come launch day.



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