Regular readers will notice that the following article is a slight departure from our usual preview style. For gamescom 2010 we've adopted a streamlined structure, allowing us to cover as many games as possible while giving you the important juice and info. In many cases we'll be running longer, more detailed previews upon our return to the UK.

What is it?

Dance Central is the newest addition to the MTV Games/Harmonix family. The standard rhythm game formula has now been fitted to a controller-free format with Kinect, offering you 90 dance routines to perform in the comfort of your living room.

What was shown?

Dance Central screenshot

I saw games journalists spasming to Rhianna’s Pon de Replay like it was some sort of Ibitha stag-do. Imagine that, a game that has the ability to take people who spend their time analysing Alan Wake and make them into fairly respectable dancers.

The game has a basic simon-says approach to choreography. Watch as an upcoming dance move drops to the side of your screen for you to re-create. Elbow Throw, Hitchhike, guitar, Rock Out. There’s over 650 more of those for you to try out, too. It’s all easily interpretable for the layman in the form of still images, and then is recreated in fully animated choreography as you dance along in-time with the steps. As you continue to successfully lay out the moves you’ll begin to rake in points that go toward a final score out of five stars. For anyone interested in pretending they’re in a mid-Noughties night club, the 10 new songs announced include Basement Jaxx’s "Rendez-Vu", Benny Benassis’s "Satisfaction", Kool & The Gang’s "Jungle Boogie" and technocratic "Pump up the Jam".

Our Reaction

Dance Central screenshot

The game is a literal interpretation of what is possible on Kinect. It’s a pure and simple movement game devised for rhythm game fans and anyone tired of the clutter of a DDR mat. But it suffers from the typical problems of having to use the body as the sole controller.

While the dance moves are intuitive, the menu system is not. Dancing in a controller less system is a seamless plan but using your arms to scroll through pages of songs, options, and other menu items feels tedious and clumsy. Having to wave your arm up or down to scroll through the roster of songs, then wave left horizontally to choose the song, inevitably means you‘ve moved your arm up or down once more and selected something entirely different. It’s a hassle but it’s incredibly awkward when compared to the theme of the game which is to create a tight correspondence between the player’s actions and the game.

There’s a point in games when the body can be integrated too much, and that’s when there is no particularly positive result to using your arms as a controller when a simple button could do just ask well. It reminds me of that anecdote of the Yanks that spent millions on producing a pen that could write in Space, and the Russians who simply brought a pencil instead. Dance Central is looking good when you're playing the game, but getting to that stage might proved irritating.

Dance Central is due for release on November 10, exclusively for Kinect and Xbox 360.

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5 Comments

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mikejosh1978's Avatar

mikejosh1978

For more than the arcade & 20notes less than the new S model & if you add them together or or buy the Kinect pack i am still unconvinced that this has anything to offer bar being a Wii like dust collector or a new S model breaker as i fear a glut of Kinect type failures as the console tries to power this next gen Eyetoy & itself (Just a thought).
The only feature of any interest is telling your 360 to switch off while you watch a bluray on your ps3 lol. I was excited in'09 about this but lame title after even lamer apps that are already available elsewhere as well as the price have left this product shelved for me.

I am still waiting for the games /apps that aren't already available elsewhere & don't just play like HD eyetoy games . It may have so many cameras & mics fitted to it but 2 player only is no better than eyetoy & worse than its rivals controller gaming .
Epic fail Microsoft .I would rather of seen new ip's than this , which i'm sure Rare would rather of done as most vids have had a sullen looking bloke looking not very excited by their Kinect efforts
Posted 10:33 on 19 August 2010
SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams

It's not a choice between Infamous 2 or this? Wtf is the correlation there?
This looks great. I'm really intrigued
Posted 13:13 on 18 August 2010
IamBugged's Avatar

IamBugged

I really dont see myself buying this..
I think ill wait for Infamous 2 and Resistance 3
Posted 09:52 on 18 August 2010
pblive's Avatar

pblive

If it's anywhere near as fun as Just Dance I can see the attraction.

Be interesting to see how Singstar Dance with Move control compares to these two.
Posted 07:23 on 18 August 2010
strickers66's Avatar

strickers66

Still waiting to see any reason why Kinect might be interesting.With 360 fans the evolution of DDR is suddenly the best thing ever.I'm still yet to see one really good Kinect game idea.I've challenged the Kinect cheerleaders for one and they never answer.Even T3 who linked me to an article of theirs as to why they are excited about Kinect then ignored that challenge.Anyone here got a good Kinect idea that isn't dancing or throwing a grenade(lame)?
Posted 06:25 on 18 August 2010

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Release Date: 10/11/2010
Developer: Harmonix
Publisher: MTV Games
Genre: Dance
Rating: PEGI 12+
Site Rank: 16,203 192
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