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Dance Central 3 preview

If you’ve been to a house party in the last year, you’ve most likely played Dance Central. Its party-filled nature is hard to miss and easily enjoyable by everyone, even if they aren’t great dancers. This is even more true for Dance Central 3, as new dance moves and a whole new line-up of songs are brought into the mix.

I was somewhat sceptical of Dance Central 3 going into E3, mostly because of the annual release schedule that Harmonix have been sticking to for the last two years. It worries me. Don’t get me wrong, I love Dance Central, which is why I didn’t want to see the quality of the improvements made to suffer just so it would fit into the yearly release. When that starts to happen, that’s when you’re in trouble.

Thankfully, Dance Central 3 doesn’t feel rushed or stale at all. In fact, the new Crew Throwdown mode makes the whole thing feel brand new again. There’s three main modes in this edition: Keep the Beat, Make Your Move, and Crew Throwdown.

If there’s one mode that I found to be the easiest to get into, it’s Keep the Beat. Keep the Beat is a two player minigame that tasks players with creating their own dances and freestyling for points. Points are awarded for dancing to the beat, rather than for dancing specific moves. You have to keep changing up your routine though, if you keep doing the same move, you’ll start to get less points as your routine has become stale. It’s an interesting dynamic that really opens players up to trying new things as sticking to the beat is their only requirement. If a player sees that their opponent is doing well with a certain move, they can steal their point flow by doing the same move. It makes things interesting to always be on the watch for what you opponent is doing and how you can use their moves against them.

Make Your Move reminds me of the good ol’ days playing HORSE on the playground. It is essentially dancing HORSE. Each player is given the opportunity to create a move and master it four times before the other player has to do the same move. Then they create their move and you have to dance it. It’s a simple back and forth that works really well for keeping this competitive and fun while showing off the two dance moves that you actually know. After each player has created two moves of their own, the four moves are spliced up and made into one ultimate dance routine that serves as the match finale. It is exceptionally fun and quick. Very well suited towards a party atmosphere.

Crew Throwdown is more suitable to the party and hangout atmosphere making it much easier for people who haven’t played Dance Central before to jump right in, without worrying about their dancing ability. It pits two teams of up to four players against each other in both Keep the Beat and Make Your Move to mix things up. Each team takes a team picture and identifies themselves. From then on it is a completely random battle with one player from each team being selected at random. These players step into the range of the Kinect sensor and high-five to start the dance battle. If that doesn’t totally sell you on Dance Central 3, play it and you’ll be sold instantly. It is probably the coolest way that you can start any game. Once the battle is finished, score is tallied for each team and a bar is filled, the team with the highest filled bar at the end is declared the winner. It is the best way to get eight people in on the action and it is relatively short enough to keep them entertained all the way through. Crew Throwdown seems like something that will be taking over the party scene for the foreseeable future.

All these modes are no good without any songs, right? You’re in luck, because Dance Central 3 has over 40 new songs. They didn’t show the full set list, but what we saw was quite promising. With artists like Usher, 50 Cent, Edward Maya & Vika Jigulina and Cobra Starship signed, I don’t think there will be a shortage of awesome songs to dance to. I found In Da Club by 50 Cent to be surprisingly enjoyable and easy to dance to, which I didn’t foresee before dancing it.

The crew at Harmonix has a proven track record (pun intended) of securing some great songs for their games, so I don’t think there is anything to worry about. They cater to the fans and that is exactly what Dance Central 3 is; it’s more of the same great Dance Central but with new modes that make it feel entirely new. You know whether you’re a Kinect and Dance Central kind of person already, so if you enjoyed the first two, you’ll be right at home with Dance Central 3.

Recording Artist Usher took to the Microsoft stage at E3 to announce Dance Central 3. You can pre-order your copy from ShopTo here.

Edited On 11 Jun, 2012

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