I am going to honest here, I did not know how exactly to tackle this game review. Having played the previous Dance Central games I knew what to expect from the third instalment in this franchise. Yet, I did not expect a full-fledged story mode.
Yes, you read that right. There is an actual story mode located in this game. This story unlike anything found in previous music games. It isn’t about the rise to fame like Rock Band or Guitar Hero. No, in this story you are initiated into the DCI, Dance Central Intelligence. Yes, it is a ridiculous concept, but it works so just hear me out. You become a super spy skilled in the arts of dancing tasked with stopping the evil Dr. Tan and his army of dancing robots. Armed with a time-travelling boom box, you travel through time from the 70′s to the 2000′s meeting up with other DCI agents and learn all of their secret moves. Once all of the moves are acquired, you start a dance craze in that era. Once you complete the craze and get enough stars to power your boom box, you then send the DCI agents back to the present and move on to the next decade.
The team at Harmonix did a fantastic job capturing the essence of the dance eras used. The 70′s takes place in a roller rink ripped from time, with all of the spectators, including the agents themselves, decked out in elaborate 70′s gear. The 80′s time period also sees a liberal injection of humour regarding cliché dance movies. This over the top theme is carried throughout the time periods and paired with the story, the game does a fantastic job of pushing you on through the next level just to see what they have planned next.
The fitness mode is similar to that found in Dance Central 2. However, Harmonix has improved this mode quite a bit, as you now have preset playlists. You can now create your own playlists and use fitness mode in every area you can play the game. Upon activating fitness mode, the game tells you at the end and beginning of a song how many calories you have burned throughout your play session and how long you have been playing. You can also set weekly goals for calories burned and out of the week how many days you want to play in your goal. On top of this, there is also a section you can look at to see how long you have been playing and how many calories you have burned while playing this game. When you want to change your weekly goals, the game forces you to reset both your calories and time goals even if you simply wanted to change just one of them.
Although Harmonix did a fantastic job improving the dance and fitness modes, there are still some issues that cause frustration. Harmonix has yet to perfect the voice options in the Break It Down feature. When you are learning the moves to a particular song the microphone will believe you have asked the game to slow down or selected other voice commands. It feels as though this issue has occurred more frequently throughout the franchise and raises doubt that they will be able to fix this issue any time soon. My workaround solution is to go into the options and turn off the voice recognition completely. This way it won’t interrupt your Break It Down sessions and if you need to have it slowed down you can just wave your arm out instead.
Musical tastes differ from person to person and I feel this track list has been the most diverse list Harmonix has put together to date, positively adding more to the experience and broadly extending their demographical reach. For example, I talk to my father about video games a lot (as he was the one who brought me into the gaming world) and he has always been interested in Dance Central’s concept but has refused to play it because the music genres usually consisted of modern club songs. Now that Harmonix has incorporated disco into the game, both of my parents are able to flashback to the 1970′s and rock out to The Hustle and Disco Inferno.
Dance Central 3 is a much improved version of its previous iterations. With the inclusion of a cohesive story mode in a music game and a vastly improved fitness mode, this title is great for solo-performers who do not plan on throwing full-blown dance parties anytime soon. However, if you are planning on throwing dance parties, Dance Central has a ton of modes that I have not yet experienced due to lack of friends willing to cut a rug. These multiplayer modes were: Crew Throwdown, DJ on Xbox Smart Glass, all the party modes and more.
Now, I could just copy-paste the track list and leave, which I have done after the review, however, I feel like you would want to know what kind of songs I preferred rocking out to on Dance Central 3. For those who have listened to our podcast, you know that I grew up in the era of boy bands. As soon as Harmonix announced that Backstreets Boys were in this game, it was the first song I played. I then moved on to Maroon 5’s Moves Like Jagger then LMAFO’s Sexy and I Know It. These are my top-three songs I like to dance to. If you’ve picked up Dance Central 3, leave us a comment and let us know what your top-three looks like!
2NE1 – “I Am The Best (Original Version)”
50 Cent – “In Da Club”
Afrojack ft. Eva Simons – “Take Over Control”
Alexandra Stan – “Mr. Saxobeat”
Alice Deejay – “Better Off Alone”
Backstreet Boys – “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)”
Bellini – “Samba De Janeiro”
Black Eyed Peas – “Boom Boom Pow”
Cali Swag District – “Teach Me How to Dougie”
Ciara ft. Missy Elliott – “1, 2 Step”
Cobra Starship ft. Sabi – “You Make Me Feel…”
Cupid – “Cupid Shuffle”
Daft Punk – “Around The World”
Dev ft. The Cataracts – “Bass Down Low”
E.U. – “Da’ Butt”
Edward Maya & Vika Jigulina – “Stereo Love”
Enur ft. Natasja – “Calabria 2008″
Flo Rida ft. Sia – “Wild Ones”
Gloria Gaynor – “I Will Survive”
Heavy D & The Boyz – “Now That We Found Love”
J.J. Fad – “Supersonic”
Jennifer Lopez ft. Pitbull – “On The Floor”
Justin Bieber – “Boyfriend”
Katy Perry – “Firework”
Kelly Clarkson – “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)”
Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz ft. Ying Yang Twins – “Get Low”
LMFAO – “Sexy And I Know It”
Los Del Rio – “Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)”
Marcia Griffiths – “Electric Boogie”
Maroon 5 ft. Christina Aguilera – “Moves Like Jagger”
Martin Solveig ft. Dragonette – “Hello”
Missy Elliott – “Ching-A-Ling”
New Kids On The Block – “You’ve Got It (The Right Stuff)”