Dance Central has been one of Kinect's biggest games since its launch in 2010. Its controller-free dance routines have combined with a strong selection of songs to create a sensation - one which only grew with the game's 2011 sequel. Now, Harmonix is back on the E3 floor with Dance Central 3, and while it's an incremental upgrade, the showcase at Microsoft's "Best of E3 2012" event showed that the game still has it together.
The core of the gameplay is a direct follow-up from Dance Central 2. A card on one side tells you which move you need to perform, while an on-screen character performs it. Match the move to gain points. Each move is exactly four beats long, and the cards try to show you the basics, so that you can know what's ahead. Put it together, and that's really all there is to it.
Of course, the quality of a dance game has always depended on its soundtrack, and Dance Central 3 is no slouch, starting with the complete track lists of the first two games (if you import them) and all of your DLC, then supplementing itself with 40 new tracks, split between the last four decades and a stack of modern selections. Among the tracks shown — and confirmed for the final game — were Van McCoy's "Do The Hustle" and LMFAO's "OMG." The story mode sticks to the decade theme, moving characters through time as they encounter more modern characters and backdrops.
Notably, the game keeps the twists of Dance Central 2, with the scoring gems for self-analysis, higher-value gold dance cards, and simultaneous two-player support. Its new gameplay features are more modest and tightly focused. The movement judging is tighter than before, rewarding correct dance moves and throwing more detailed choreography at you without the Kinect losing you — as long as you stay in range. The new party-style modes include a Make Your Move two-player match, where one player creates a move for the other to match, and then the other way around, until it's finally put together into a simultaneous dance.
Dance Central 3 is still the same excellent dance game series, and Harmonix's tradition of letting you export tracks to later games is still around, so the game is a decent choice for those who are interested in extending their dance experience on Kinect. When it drops later this year, it's bound to be as popular as usual.
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