E3 2012: Dance Central 3 Hands-On Preview – Oh Boy, It’s An Old Fashioned Dance-Off!
Written Sunday, June 17, 2012 By Dan WebbView author's profile
Dance Central 3’s announcement at E3 2012 was an interesting one. On the one hand, it was almost expected, you know, considering this is Kinect’s flagship franchise and the only one you could class as a killer-app. On the other hand, it felt almost too soon. We all know what happened to Guitar Hero, right? But still, one a year isn’t overkill, is it? I mean, Call of Duty and Assassin’s Creed have been doing that for quite some time, as have the many annually iterated sports titles. But the question is can Harmonix add enough to the franchise in a year to warrant a purchase? We slipped on our dancing shoes at this year’s E3 to find out.
Taking the focus at E3 2012 for Harmonix and Dance Central was the new party modes, with Harmonix noting that it's looking to “level up the party experience” with Dance Central 3. Aside from the normal ‘Party Time’ mode, where players will be able to get up and dance – as well as creating playlists using SmartGlass, removing the need to faff around with the in-game menu system – Dance Central 3’s main party mode is the ‘Crew Throwdown’.
The Crew Throwdown is essentially Dance Central 3’s dance battle, allowing up to 4 players to dance-off against three like-minded foes in four differing modes. After taking a crew photo, Dance Central 3 will then automatically face-off members of rival crews against one another in four modes, bringing up the snapshot of the relevant member when it’s their turn to step up to the oche. First, a standard Dance Central ‘Perform It’ song; second, one of the new modes, ‘Keep the Beat;’ thirdly, another new game mode, ‘Make Your Move;’ and lastly, a slightly reworked dance-off mode with an improved flashcard face-off. All of which are started with a high-five.
‘Keep The Beat’ mode is one of the two new modes Harmonix was showing off at E3 and it’s essentially a mode based on rhythm. So long as you keep to the beat, you can dance however you please, however, it is important to mix things up for a ‘fresh’ rating and is key in achieving high scores. If you’re falling behind, you can mimic your rival and steal their groove to claw your way back into the game.
‘Make Your Move’ on the other hand, is Dance Central 3’s version of basketball’s (and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater's) HORSE. One player creates a move, repeating it four times, then the other player will have to copy that move to gain points, all before creating their own move for you to copy. At the end, when there are four moves created – with their own flashcards created on the fly too, which is rather impressive – Dance Central 3 will create a routine out of the player created moves in a final showdown of sorts.
Last, but by no means least, Dance Central 3 takes the dance battle flashcard face-offs from Dance Central 2 and upgrades them ever so slightly. In Dance Central 3, players can now create streaks of successful move matches, earning a bonus in the process. If the two players compete for the same card, you can effectively break the streak of your opponent if successful, gaining extra points in the process while your opponent loses points. It’s especially handy when you both compete for a gold card, a card worth four times the value of a normal flashcard. It can effectively turn the tide of battle in your favour.
More Dance Central 3 modes are set to be announced at a later date, according to Harmonix, who also noted players should expect more than 40 new songs while all of the Dance Central 1 & 2 and accompanying DLC songs will also be compatible. The new era-based time-travel career will allow players to dance to 70s and 80s music, as well as more contemporary tunes, teaching players to do the ‘hustle,’ do the ‘electric slide, ‘Dougie’ and more. In fact, Harmonix stated that Dance Central 3 will feature more choreography than Dance Central 1 and 2 combined, including special Usher choreography created specifically for the game. Is Harmonix trying to teach the world to dance? “Absolutely,” said the Harmonix spokesman on hand.
For those who enjoy the single-player aspects of Dance Central, it remains to be seen what value those players will take away from Dance Central 3 just yet. But for those of you who like to bust out Dance Central for parties or when you have a group of friends over, the new modes and new additions certainly make Dance Central 3 a different experience to those Dance Central experiences that have come before it. There’s more to be announced and more to be revealed according to Harmonix, as ever, so keep your eyes locked on X360A and we’ll keep you up to speed. For now though, just dance… Wait, wrong game…
Dance Central 3 is scheduled for a Q4 2012 release.