Body Movin': Dance Central Hands-On Impressions

Dance Central Preview Impressions

As one of the more anticipated titles for Kinect, Dance Central has been generating a healthy amount of buzz. The upcoming title from MTV Games and Harmonix, due out November 4th, is a "true dance game experience" thanks to Kinect's controller-free ability.

Since the announcement of Dance Central, gamers have been able to try out some early builds of the game at various events and expos. Recently, Game Rant's Ben Kendrick and Jon Lavallee were invited to the MTV Games offices in New York for a more intimate hands-on and a reveal of some new information on the title.

Before we get to the juicy new details, let's sum up what we know already.

Dance Central will come packed with 30+ songs on the disc, housing over 90 dance routines and 650 dance moves. Some of the dance moves will be recognizable as signature moves from music videos.

There are three main game modes. Perform It! let's you jump right in and show off your moves. Break it Down gives you the ability to learn each step, literally breaking down the choreography to perfect it for a flawless dance performance. Lastly, Dance Battle invites you to take on your friends in classic dance-off fashion by taking turns to show off your moves.

The first wave of previously announced songs are as follows:

  • Beastie Boys - "Body Movin' (Fatboy Slim Remix)"
  • Bell Biv DeVoe - "Poison"
  • Lady Gaga - "Poker Face"
  • Lipps Inc - "Funkytown"
  • M.I.A. - "Galang '05"
  • No Doubt - "Hella Good"
  • Salt-N-Pepa - "Push It"
  • Snoop Dogg/Pharrell - "Drop It Like Its Hot"
  • Young MC - "Bust A Move"

Great line-up with a lot of content so far, right? Well lets add to the excitement and let you know what new details we learned about.

A new mode has been revealed called Workout Mode. Using Kinect's technology, you can track how many calories you are burning during each song and difficulty combination. The more moves and the faster the pace, the more calories you burn - and the game will keep track and let you know how you're doing.

The game will feature ten venues to show off your skills in. Move your feet on a rooftop, a boardwalk, in a school cafeteria and more.

Dance Central features eight characters, all from different popular facets of the dancing world. Of the eight, we know of five - meet Aubrey, Angel, Mo, Obilio and Sade below.

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A new information update to a music game wouldn't be complete without revealing more of the tracklist. Here's the new group of announced songs:

  • Basement Jaxx - "Rendez-Vu"
  • Benny Benassi - "Satisfaction"
  • Cascada - "Evacuate the Dancefloor"
  • Fannypack - "Hey Mami"
  • Kool & The Gang - "Jungle Boogie"
  • Kylie Minogue - "Can't Get You Out of My Head"
  • Nelly Furtado - "Maneater"
  • Nina Sky - "Move Ya Body"
  • Pitbull - "I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)"
  • Rihanna - "Pon de Replay"
  • Technotronic - "Pump Up the Jam"

Aside from sharing the new facts around the game, we have to throw in our impressions with the hands on.

The graphics looked smooth for an early build. The movements of the on-screen avatar felt very realistic, and the details were plentiful. The menu animations compliment the club atmosphere, which carries into the environments. One of the cooler aesthetics was when the ground and boom box would bounce to the bass in each song. Additionally, as you repeatedly hit the dance moves perfectly the environment will transform into a club atmosphere for as long as you can maintain the flawless executions. Harmonix does not fail in doing what they can to immerse you in the game.

We were able to clarify the number of players allowed at one time. Due to the fact that the larger percentage of households have a small living room, the blunt answer is one - although you can still have multiple players participate.

Dance Battle is a multiplayer mode, but only one player can be recognized at a time, hence the rotation of players during battle. Although recognized players are limited to one-at-a-time, your friends can still jump in and dance along by following the on-screen avatar. We tried this during the meeting and it still very much felt like you were playing the game.

With Kinect not yet in the wild, and skeptics abound, I can say that Dance Central is one of those products that you will find difficult to appreciate to it's full potential until you get a hands on yourself. The instant gratification and immersion with the gameplay mechanics and acknowledgement of successful dance moves is a huge win.

Dance Central is the next generation of music games and will no doubt fill it's niche within households and public locations among friends and family. There are a ton of Rock Band events featured at bars nowadays, and its a safe bet that Dance Central will be the next title in that area of public gaming events.

All-in-all, Dance Central will succeed in being a game that you will have no problem re-arranging your living room for. With the plethora of dance moves, modes and choreography, you're bound to have a great experience every time you power on your Xbox 360 and pop in Dance Central - especially with friends.

Dance Central electric slides onto shelves November 4th for the Xbox 360 and Kinect combination, rocking a $49.99 price point.

So what do you think so far, Ranters? If you are interested in Kinect, will Dance Central be one of the titles you plan on picking up?

Follow us on Twitter: @GameRant, @jonlavallee, @iambenkendrick

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