E3 Quick Play: Dance Central 2

Dance Central rocked Kinect players, showing that video games don’t have to be lazy affairs on the sofa. Now as Dance Central 2 gets ready to be released in November 2011, we tracked down the energetic game at E3 in Los Angeles to find out whether you should be getting excited, or ditching this and going to the gym for real. Read on to find out what we thought in our E3 Quick Play of Dance Central 2 on the Xbox 360 with Kinect.

Name

Dance Central 2

What platform is it on?

Xbox 360

When's it due out?

25 November 2011

What other game is it like?

Dance Central

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

Microsoft Kinect

The pitch

Following on from the best-selling dance game for Kinect, Harmonix expands the full-body dance game universe with Dance Central 2, which provides new multiplayer experiences and all-new routines set to an unstoppable soundtrack, featuring Usher, Rihanna, La Roux, Nicki Minaj, Montell Jordan and more. Meet the crews and dance collaboratively with friends in Perform It! or challenge them to a simultaneous head-to-head Dance Battle to determine dance floor supremacy.

The storyline

There isn’t one you just dance your socks off.

Trailers, demoes, and video

Our first impressions

One of the biggest complaints of Dance Central when it came out Christmas 2010 was that it was single player. While the videos and demos suggested that others could get in on the action, this wasn't to be the case.

This time around there will be two player, and that means you can finally see who is the better dancer between you and your friends.

Shoved into a glass box that only a select few could access, Pocket-lint braved humiliation at E3 to have a go at the new game.

With Dance Central being one of the biggest selling Kinect titles so far, Harmonix wanted to make sure they got it right for a second outing, and that it wasn’t just a few nips and tucks here and there.

We might have two left feet, but it’s clear from our demo that Dance Central fans aren’t going to be disappointed.

The first noticeable difference is that the performance has been enhanced, with the Kinect recognition software completely rewritten to take advantage of the Kinect’s power. It will now recognise your arms better, as well as the way you move.

From our play, and watching those who are better at dancing perform (we had the game’s lead dude and a professional dancer showing us how to do it with perfect scores), we have to agree, making the right move at the right time is even more important this time around if you’re after a perfect score.

To help you do that you can break down the sessions and practise what you’ve got wrong - a new feature in the game - and that means you don’t have to run through all of it, but just the parts you want to focus on.

Then there is a bevy of new freestyle graphics, which actually take a number of cues from the hacker community and what they’ve been creating, while there are 40 songs to dance to plus a further 60 you can import either from the original for a nominal fee or add via DLC.

If you’re worried your mate has got better dance moves than you, or you better than them, and that’s going to ruin the experience, don’t. Turns out, Harmonix has accounted for this and allows players to have different difficulty levels. You can be on difficult, while they are on easy.

It’s a really nice touch and should mean that if you’re suddenly asked to perform with that kid sister who’s done nothing but play Dance Central for the last year, you aren’t going to be standing there letting the side down.

Will this be as good as the first? Well it is more of the same, but there is enough more of the same to please the Dance Central crowd looking for more of the same - if you catch our drift.

If dancing is your thing, this, from our quick play at E3, looks to be the game to get.

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 or even have a product manager walk you through a specific level.

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 or even a 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.