[Review] Dance Central 3 — Poppin’, Lockin’, Preventin’ Dance Crimes

People who know me know that I’m, well, not a dancer. After playing a large amount of Dance Central 3, this is still true. However, if you need someone to show up and do a passable Dougie, I’m your man. The Dance Central series has established itself as the reason to own a Kinect, and let’s face it. Things haven’t changed. As the Kinect sees more and more motion-controlled travesties, Harmonix continues to deliver better and better editions of Dance Central. You already know the basics, but hit the jump to find out what’s new with the series.

Let’s start with the biggest new addition to Dance Central 3: the story mode. That’s right, story mode. The player will become a new agent in DCI (Dance Central Intelligence) and will be forced to go back in time, learning the dance crazes of the past, to stop them from being irrefutably damaged by the nefarious Dr. Tan. To learn these crazes, you’ll have to dance your way through a specific decade’s songs and nail particular movies, all of which are part of said craze. Not every song has a piece of the craze in them, but by dancing your heart out, you’ll use your earned stars to power your time-travel jukebox. Once you’ve mastered all of a craze’s parts, you’ll be shown the craze in its entirety. Once you’re ready, you’ll dance that decade’s final song, of which the craze will be prominently featured.

Please note that I’m not making any of this up.

The story mode is honestly a fun addition to what was previously a disappointingly personality-barren series. It’s tone and visual style reminded me of Saints Row: The Third (without the ceaseless vulgarity) and, trust me, that’s a compliment.

The other major new addition is the ability to create your own dance moves. Given the Kinect’s well-known lack of accuracy, I was expecting this “feature” to be nothing more than a barely functional (if that) gimmick, but it actually enhances the overall package quite a bit. Not only because it’s a great idea, but because it somehow works. Just do the move identically three times and the game will figure out the rest. Gathering with a group of friends and forcing them to match your (probably horrifying) dance moves is nothing short of hilarious every single time.

In case you wanted to hear me profess my love to “Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson again, the soundtrack here is better than ever. Harmonix faithfuls will notice a few repeats from the Rock Band Blitz soundtrack, but that certainly isn’t a drawback. The songs range from obvious dance game fair like “Y.M.C.A.” to the-sort-of-stupid-I-can-get-behind like “Da Butt.” (get behind Da Butt joke fully intentional) The full track list is here if you want to take a peek. It may seem like an eclectic mix from the outside looking in, but the songs all have a sense of cohesion in game. The slight narrative threads probably have a bit to do with this. Just like last time, for a small fee you can import your DC1 & DC2 songs into DC3 so that you’ll never have to swap discs mid-dance party.

The choreography is as good as always, both taking the obvious dance moves into consideration and creating some great ones of their own. The in-game models look fantastic doing their moves and the still brilliant red highlighting of body parts that the player is moving incorrectly provides great feedback to figure out exactly what you’re doing wrong. There are enough difficulty settings that any player can jump in and feel right at home whether they have the moves of a cardboard box or can break it down like a dance clown.

To be perfectly honest, you’re probably already sold on Dance Central 3 or have seen enough to know that it’s not for you. If, for some reason, you’ve never been introduced to Dance Central, this is definitely the entry to jump into. If you’re the type of person to have friends over and play one of these games, you’ll all have more fun with this one than you ever have before. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to practice for my inevitable dance war with the (self-proclaimed) Dance Central Master, Yamilia Avendano.

Final Breakdown:

[+Responsive as Always] [+Great Soundtrack] [+Excellent Choreography] [+Story Mode is Dumb in the Best Way] [+Create A Move is Endlessly Entertaining] [-Won't Convert Anyone Who Isn't Already Playing These Games]

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  • DanielRoyster

    So this story mode was more entertaining than Gravity Rush?

    • Tyler Humphrey

      Honestly? Yes. That probably says more about me than it does about either game, though. There’s not much there to directly compare, but I couldn’t find anything to like about Gravity Rush.

      • DanielRoyster

        Wow, that’s certainly intriguing

        • http://twitter.com/LawofTD Matt Kim

          Opinions opinions. Gravity Rush is definitely one of my top 5 this year you tasteless, beardless man you.