Dance Central is one of the best Kinect games to date, hands down. The innovative use of the Kinect sensor and the amusing selection of dance music worked together to form an amazing real dancing game. Harmonix has proved with the Rock Band series that they know how to improve on building blocks of solid gameplay and continue to add entertaining content, and they’re at it again with Dance Central 2, adding playlist support, voice controls and an improved “Break It Down” mode.
At E3 2011 Harmonix showcased a few new features in Dance Central 2, including two-player simultaneous dancing and custom “Break It Down” modes with voice controlled move skipping. It seemed like they were well on their way to adding all the features that fans had suggested in a survey about their experience with Dance Central.
One of the best features of Dance Central was the ability to practice a songs steps before you actually performed it with “Break It Down” mode. The game would show players a dance move, offering a few chances to mirror the dancer on screen and even slow down the music until players picked it up. Harmonix put a lot of work into improving the training mode, allowing players to skip sections they know already or for players who can’t nail a few movies, Dance Central 2 can record and replay the player to show them what they’re doing wrong.
Very few games have implemented the Kinect’s voice controls outside of Kinectimals, where players can call their virtual pet’s name to give them commands or praise. In Dance Central 2, voice commands have been implemented that allow players to pick songs by simply saying the track name. This sounds like big improvement from the hand waving rotation menu that was far from accurate and it’ll work with both current tracks and tracks imported from the Dance Central 1.
Now that players can easily select songs by calling out the song name (Crank Dat Souljah Boy!) the ability to string playlists together is that much sweeter. In Dance Central 2, players will be able to select up to 20 tracks to add to a playlist. The game will total up the playlist time length so you know how long your custom dancercising workout will last. During the playlist, if players decide one of their song choices was in poor taste, they can choose to skip it and jump to the next song.
Harmonix has a way of implementing features that are so basic and useful that it’s unbelievable they weren’t in the previous iterations and these are exactly that. What do you think of these new features and what other features would you like to see in Dance Central 2?
Dance Central 2 is preparing to shimmy and sidestep into your living room on October 25th, 2011.