Preview: Dance Central 3
Sitting in a room full of other Australian media it was good to know that I wouldn't be making a complete fool of myself to strangers but rather people I already knew and have had the pleasure of embarrassing myself to them prior to E3. Harmonix, showcasing the new game modes of Dance Central 3 behind closed doors, split us into two teams of four to take part in a little extra curricular activities. Why teams of four? Because the game now supports four players, that's why.
Having already broken a sweat walking to and from the West and South hall, I wasn't looking forward to jumping around busting out my moves. After our short demo, I was glad I did because not only did Dance Central 3 bring out the social side of me, it brought everyone closer together.
Kicking things off with Crew Throwdown -- which consisted of 4 rounds, with each round being a different dance type -- things started off pretty normal. Choosing from one of the 40 in game songs with imported songs from DC1 and DC2 (bringing the games' total roughly over 100 songs), Perform Mode pitted the first two players from each team mimicking the moves shown on the screen.
What was great to see in Perform mode was the difficulty dynamically adjusting to each players skill. If you're struggling to complete the moves on screen the game will adjust and continually repeat these moves as to not out you at a disadvantage. Ending the round with our team in the lead, I was pitted against Andrew Sync from MCM Media in Freestyle mode. Which rewards you on dancing to the beat and coming up with your own dance moves. It worked flawlessly and it rewarded player who continually changed up their moves and didn't copy their opponent. Being creative is key in this mode and if you repeat a move you've done more than twice the game will reward you with less points.
Keeping in tone with Freestyle mode was Make Your Move which works by having both players come up with their own moves that their opponent needs to repeat. After each player has created two moves each the game will combine all these together and reward the player that stays as true to the moves as possible. It was challenging and exhausting because the game would randomly mix up the moves so you never knew what would be next, keeping you on alert at all times.
Running out of time due to Kinect having a few difficulties at the start in detecting all the players on screen, we missed out in Throwdown which had the final two team players dancing to everything that had already been seen. If you wish to swap the order of dancers that game chooses for each mode you can do so with ease with in need to be rescanned.
Dance Central 3 is fun when Kinect wants to work, and I've seen this with a lot of Kinect games where the device itself just doesn't want to work. Whilst I don't know what causes the problem with the hardware, I do know that it causes problems for the players by distracting them from the immersion and experience. When you have to spend more than 10 minutes getting the device to recognize a single player in a four person team, you start to question why a company puts so much effort in hardware that doesn't work all the time.
Dance Central 3 will be available in Q3 for Xbox 360.