on 12 December 2011
I've read all the reviews here on Amazon and all good. The reason I still add mine is that I've learned to rather trust reviews from people that are actual users and bought the games, than websites where the reviewers were given the game for free to review. It's not to say we don't have some crazies here on Amazon from time to time, but at least you get a broader point of view from a group of people from different backgrounds. Hope mine helps as well.
What I want to point out from the word go is my rating of this game. The reason being is that I truly, and deeply WANT to give Dance Central 2 a 5-star rating on all accounts, but when I sit down and think about it (or when I'm standing and dancing around) there are a few small quirks that keep bothering me. These are not that crucial to hinder your gaming experience, but are enough to, well from time to time, discourage the average or below average dancer into not playing the game. This part was present already in Dance Central 1, and somehow made its way to Dance Central 2, but now a little more so. Let me explain this part. That some songs are easy, others average and then hard on difficulty, that we all understand. Where the problem is that when you know for a fact you are doing that move 100% correct and Dance Central still does not pick it up. If this were only me, I'll accept it, but amongst my friends we total 8 that have the same problems, at the same moves, with the same songs. As no one expects Kinect to be perfect at this moment, it was the one area I had hoped DC2 would improve on. Unfortunately, from the first "easy" song, DC2 clearly has problems recognizing basic moves, by which I mean "not difficult moves for any person to master". On 3 different Xbox + Kinect consoles, with 6 different dancers we've tried to figure out with different lightning conditions, clothing and all on Darude's "Sandstorm" whether we could master the moves, but we ALL failed at the exact same areas. Also, the taller you are, or the broader you are, the more you are judged as inaccurate. Why I make such a big thing over this is because where DC2 is vastly superior in all regards over DC1, my friends have shelved DC2 already because they feel discouraged over not mastering the "easy" rated songs. What causes this I am no technical person to answer that, but I truly hope that the developers could think of either tuning down the sensitivity on their rating system, or at least give more instructions on what the dancer is doing wrong. Let's keep our fingers crossed.
From this, I want to go into the improvements this game has over the first one - and that is in all aspects and more. The most welcome improvement is that of the "break it down" sections where tutorial moves are given more clarity and freedom to choose which ones you want to practice again and again. Having now tried The Black Eyed Peas Experience I hope that the developers from Dance Central will learn from them and add a coach in the future to the tutorials explaining which foot goes where, how arms should move and the like. Still, the ability in DC2 to choose which moves you want to practice again is superb and a great improvement.
Most of the others are additions that were absent in the previous version. The king of additions being the co-op dance. This is magnificent and being able to dance with someone else, either as a team or competitively, is awesome and really keeps on motivated. If you have different profiles on your Xbox both can sign in and receive their achievements simultaneously as the game goes on in co-op mode.
Structured with this is the Crew Challenge - which is nothing but a fancy term for "a structured dance programme." Instead of choosing the songs you want, Crew Challenge groups all the songs into different crews. Each crew has two coaches/dancers. Dance through the songs of the first crew challenge, and you'll earn awards and be able to unlock other crew challenges.
For those who have never owned a Dance Central, I don't want to say do not get Dance Central 1, but I would advise you to do so. The reason being is that for a few Microsoft Points on Xbox Live, you can import all the songs from DC1 into your DC2. This means you can enjoy all the songs from the first one together with the new songs from DC2. For this you will need an original DC1, as there is a code included within the leaflet that you will need to enter when you migrate the songs from DC1 to DC2. I mention this for first time users because if you don't have the first game you will miss out on some great songs.
My favourite addition is the ability to create your own dance playlists. For those who do not want to navigate unnecessarily around the menus selecting songs, with the playlist you can set it up by selecting all the songs you want, and then when you select the playlist, just enjoy one song after another. This is great for a workout, and by far the most used feature in our household.
Technically, I think Dance Central 2 is where all dancing games on Kinect should be (except for the issues mentioned above). What they need to focus on for the future now is a little bit more fun and presentation. This I would not have said have I not gotten both Just Dance 3 and The Black Eyed Peas experience. What these two games excel in is fun, Just Dance 3 being silly at times, and The Black Eyed Peas Experience just oozing with high energy and flowing gracefully from tutorial to actual dance.
Kudos for DC2 (as was with DC1) for setting the trend on how menus should be navigated. It's amazing how bad navigational controls or quirky buttons can dampen the fun of a game and even make it excruciatingly annoying, but DC2 (again) shows how well navigation around the menus can be done.
Finally, the song list. It's a little of sweet and sour. I am a lover of all types of music and enjoy even throwing my ear to "challenging" songs, meaning, songs I wouldn't normally listen to. DC2 tries very hard to put together a diverse playlist, but somehow it ends up feeling more clubby and techno, than diverse. I cannot imagine having to choose the songs for a game like this, as everyone will come up with a entirely different list. One could wonder that if the inclusion of more mainstream pop-like hits would not draw a bigger crowd to the room.
- easy songs sometimes feel difficult, almost impossible as it does not recognise moves
- should have included a lyrics option as other dancing games all sport this feature
= song choice not everyone's cup of tea
= crew challenge, a.k.a. "career mode"
+ magnificent voice control, best yet! Just say "Xbox Slow down" and the song will go into tutorial mode - AWESOME
+ co-op is smashing and very responsive
+ menus are super easy to navigate
+ playlists - compile your own set of songs and let them play one after another
+ tutorials / break it down are beefed up and can be practices individually or in sets
+ easy (and relatively cheap) import of tracks from DC1 to DC2
+ activate sweat mode from the beginning and count those calories burned
+ constant DLC (downloadable content)support, already they have two songs from Lady Gaga than you can buy
First time users - this is one of the best dancing games available on Kinect. If you are looking for a dancing game or something to give you an alternative form of exercise, then you can't go wrong with Dance Central 2. Owners of Dance Central 1 - you won't be disappointed with DC2. This is an awesome follow-up to the first one and the improvements and additions will make you hunger for more.