Dance Central 3 review
The latest instalment of the top quality dance franchise is back but has Harmonix kept up to standard or are the signs of a yearly release beginning to show?
Step, step, step to the right!
Dance Central 3 features over 40 songs with full compatibility to all DLC released as well as songs from the previous two titles. As I did the import feature from the first game into the second game I was pleasantly surprised to see all DLC and Dance Central 1 songs instantly available to me on the first load of the menu. To import from Dance Central 1/2 it is required that you own the game as there is a code on each manual that you will need.
Once the game has loaded you will notice that you may still navigate around the menu with a controller if you wish. You can choose to party with your group, to simply perform solo or to take part in the main story. Yes, the game actually features a story this time round in which you are helping the DCI team of Rasa and Lima to solve dance clues in the hopes of putting an end to the evil doings of the notorious Dr Tan. To do so you must go back in time to the different eras to learn the moves of each decade before facing Dr Tan in an epic dance battle. And, yes, you did just read that correctly.
Once again, the dancers are paired off into crews and each crew represents an era of music to which they have five out of nine songs that is specifically from that time so the music in Dance Central 3 is incredibly varied. The Lu$h Crew represent the ‘70s and you can boogie the night away to songs such as “Y.M.C.A.” and “The Hustle”. Hi-Def are the ‘80s masters who get down to songs including “You Got It” and “Electric Boogie”. Flash4wrd rock out to the ‘90s with songs such as “Ice Ice Baby” and “Macarena”. Riptide have the first decade of the century with hits including “In Da Club” and “Cupid Shuffle” and the brand new DCI crew party to the current decade with songs such as “Starships” and “Scream”. If you master all of a crew’s songs you can unlock a special reward for each group through an in-game QR code.
Now step, step, step to the left!
This game is all about the choreography and there’s most certainly a step up from previous games in how much more technical the moves are. Each song has a difficulty scale from one to seven with the latter being the hardest. If you compare the most difficult song from Dance Central 1 (Just Dance) to Dance Central 3’s version (OMG), it makes Just Dance look like a four or five despite it being a seven. Fret not, I am talking about the hardest difficulty but Harmonix have added a new beginner difficulty to the game to help new players into the series. If you can sort of dance, you will eventually be able learn the more complex steps, and how? Well, a lot of features from Dance Central 2 have carried over.
Break It Down, as it was known in the previous games, has now been renamed to Rehearsal. Other than that the format of teaching the routine is the same. You can choose to only practice certain moves of a song or you can practice the entire routine. If you choose to do so you are given a section of the choreography to learn at a time which is then followed by a recap which throws all the moves together. You can slow down a move to repeat it as much as you need to, you can skip a move, go back to a move and of course you can record yourself doing a move and then watch it back side by side to the dancer to see where you’re going wrong. Or you can just admire your skills 😉 The best part of course is everything can be controlled by your voice so you don’t have to do the move to pause the game or use the controller, you can just shout the command. Voice control isn’t just limited to Rehearsal, it is in every part of the game in some format and is quite accurate, too.
There is a Fitness mode in the game as well, in which you can dance to set playlists or create your own and you also can set weekly goals from how many days you’re active to the amount of calories you’ve burned. There is also a levelling system where performing certain actions will reward you with star points and as you level up you unlock new characters and outfits. Your fitness and levels are tracked across all non-party type game modes.
Shake it on down!
There is more emphasis on multiplayer party dancing which comes in two forms. There is Crew Throwdown where up to eight people can get together and be part of two different crews to face each other to determine the winner and for the more casual group there is also Party Time, which is similar to Crew Throwdown, but with no set groups. You can toggle between various settings including the specific game type such as Perform, Battle, Keep the Beat, Make Your Move and Strike a Pose. You can also choose between difficulty, performing full length songs or its shorter variant and you also have the ability to make your own playlist or just let the game randomly decide which song you’ll play.
One aspect I’m still a bit disappointed with is the lack of online play. For the moment you can only battle with your friends through scores if they don’t live locally to you. You can “Flaunt” your score which issues a “Live Challenge” for them to beat that score but that’s it. It is a very nice new feature but I’d love to battle those friends real time instead. However, to help show off online, the game also supports a new Facebook integration ability which allows you to post photos taken in-game to your Facebook wall.
Fun for beginners yet challenging for veterans and one you will want to conquer; the choreography is simply wonderful and the precise tracking will register your skill every time. With its colourful visuals and great mix of songs, Dance Central 3 proves it’s still going strong by going all out in how it moves.
Miss; The game gets top marks in all areas but if you want to be picky, being told the same instructions for cycling through moves in Rehearsal over and over again when you already know them can be a tad annoying.
Need; A way to play online with your friends and more detailed stat tracking.