REVIEW: Dance Central 2!
I’m going to be the first to say that I really wasn’t that excited about Dance Central 2 when I heard that there was no Simultaneous ONLINE Multiplayer. All I wanted to do is have the ability to play online with my friends and fans from all over the world! I vented about it in a blog back in July. Besides, up to that point, I had posted over sixty solo dancing vids on YouTube…there’s a reason! I DIDN’T HAVE ANY FRIENDS TO DANCE WITH!!! I wondered what was next for my gameplay vids. I wasn’t sure if I should even continue to make them.
It wasn’t until I attended PAX Prime at the end of August, where my inner fire for Dance Central was reignited! I met Dance Central Community Manager, Annette, as well as my favorite DC dancer & choreographer, Chanel Miss5678.
I got to preview Dance Central 2, and try-out the brand new DC2 feature Simultaneous In-Person Multiplayer. I relished in the fact that I finally had some people to play Dance Central with me!!! Might I add, with the actual FRICKIN’ choreographers of some of the routines!!! OMG!!! So after I got over the initial first day of being star struck, I got down to business. I prepared myself for two days of gameplay and interviewing. I’m not going to get into it, because I already did in this previous PAX Wrap-up post, but two things are for sure: First, I actually had a BLAST with the Simultaneous In-Person Multiplayer, so I have to eat my words. Two, I realized dancing online against someone wouldn’t be nearly as fun as IN-PERSON, so I needed to make some friends that dance!
Special THANKS to Harmonix for sending me an advance copy of Dance Central 2!
Now that I have had the opportunity to really play the game both in solo mode & multiplayer, I feel I have enough solid ammo to review the game and share my thoughts. I will also address frequently asked questions that I see on my YouTube comments. You’ll see positives & negatives listed if you want to get to the nitty-gritty!
FAQ: How is Dance Central 2 different than the original Dance Central?
III. Voice Commands
V. Fitness Mode
VII. Overall Difficulty
I. SIMULTANEOUS MULTIPLAYER: Now Dance Central 2 allows for two people to play at the same time throughout the entire game! Players can drop in & out of the game easily by entering the play space & raising their hand.
You can battle each other for score in the regular Perform It Mode, or you can do Battle Mode, which is the only mode that contains Free-4-All. Free-4-All is a mini-game that comes up twice in a battle mode song, and it’s a set of four flashcards that you and your opponent are duking it out to get first. This section adds about an additional minute to the regular length of the Perform It mode song, so get ready to sweat! You can’t turn off Free-4-All. If you want to battle someone and freestyle instead, you have to use Perform it mode & make sure you have freestyles turned on in your gameplay settings.
Take a look at this Battle Mode gameplay video I made showcasing my brand-new green screen format mixed in with my MMC FLAIR!
“Massive Attack” Battle Mode Free-4-All Multiplayer Gameplay – Hi-Def vs. Riptide
Positives: SIMULTANEOUS MULTIPLAYER
- Even though a second opponent is added into the mix, the accuracy of the Kinect sensor for DC2 is still ON POINT! Most accurate Kinect dance game, PERIOD!
- Free-4-All makes battling with someone so much more fun! Unlike the original DC’s battle mode where each person switches off and does sections of the routines (YAWN), now these Free-4-All sections really make it feel like a dance battle!
Negatives: SIMULTANEOUS MULTIPLAYER
- This isn’t too bad, but the sensor gets “sticky” when a second person is added or drops into the game. Also, you have to dance close enough together so that nobody drops out of the game on accident. You can typically see one of the players jumping around for just a few seconds with their hand up trying to get recognized…it’s kinda funny!
II. CREWS & CREW CHALLENGES: Now the avatars dance in crews of two, and might I add that this is one of my FAVORITE things about Dance Central 2! They are all just so cute! Unlike the original DC, there wasn’t much of a story or ways you identify with the characters other than the way they dressed, talked, or looked like. Now in DC2, each crew is different and there’s a little bit more to gather from the banter between them and their crewmembers and other crews.
Crew Challenges are Dance Central 2’s campaign mode and fictional story about the characters and their objectives. Take a look at this video I made showcasing the movies in DC2, as well as a quick look at how I got through the first crew challenge.
Crew Challenges with MMC
Positives: CREW CHALLENGES
- It gives a little more purpose to the different crews, and gives you some type of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Negatives: CREW CHALLENGES
- I got through the first challenge thinking, THAT’S IT? I know it’s the first challenge, and there’s probably more to see, but all I did was pick a few songs to dance to and get 4+ stars, and that moved on to the next challenge. Sadly, there was nothing exciting about it. I would’ve liked to have been thrown into a non-stop challenge re-mix of different songs instead of having to pick them, maybe some different choreography, a little Free-4-All thrown in, and maybe some storyline in between so I am motivated to complete the challenge. Come on! We’re DANCE CENTRAL players, we KNOW WHAT’S UP!
- It’s was only two days since the October DC2 release in Europe, and I already have YouTube comments from people telling me what happens when they unlock all the challenges. Which by the way, SUCKS!!! I wanted to be SURPRISED!!! ARGH!!!
Positives: VOICE COMMANDS
- Voice commands are a really cool new feature, and they come in REALLY HANDY when you’re dancing around and out of breath! “XBOX, PAUSE!!!” is probably the most useful!
- I LOVE using the voice commands to pick my song, mode, and difficulty, because I find that it works well. BUT from experience, if you use voice to choose your song, you don’t have the ability to pick your crew! Someone correct me if I’m wrong! If that is the case, BOO!!!
Negatives: VOICE COMMANDS
Even though I totally didn’t use voice commands correctly in the video above, things didn’t really change much when I did use them properly, by including the word “XBOX” prior to any of the commands. It’s pretty frustrating, so I think that for Break It Down, it’s much better to use the new right arm at a forty-five degree angle to pull up the Kinect control menu instead. UPDATE 10/28: Someone commented on this below & gave me a few tips, like NOT TO SCREAM at my Kinect, LOL! And what do ya know? It WORKED 97% of the time! So I’m starting to use these voice commands a lot now, and I like ‘em!
IV. IMPROVED BREAK IT DOWN: For me, this was a MAJOR & CRITICAL overhaul to DC2. Gone are the days that you have to go through an entire Break It Down session in order to focus on a specific move!!! Can I get a “HALLELUJAH???” I’m sure you would all agree that the Break It Down section can be really time consuming, but now DC2 gives you the ability to choose from the list of dance moves in the song, and focus on those specific ones that give you problems. HALLELUJAH!!!
Check out the video I made with my doing the new & improved Break It Down mode, as well as a bit of the voice control (incorrectly)! LOL! Yup, I never read instructions! I just like to learn from my mistakes!
Break It Down Mode & Voice Commands with MMC
Positives:IMPROVED BREAK IT DOWN
- As mentioned, the most beneficial part for me is the ability to focus on specific moves! TIME SAVER! I’ll probably skip using the full Break It Down except for the really difficult songs…ya know, because I’m such a pro! That’s a bit of the Miss Aubrey in me! LOL! ;D
- The ability to SKIP moves, go back to the PREVIOUS is a big deal in the full Break It Down mode!!!
- The ability to RECORD VIDEO is SO COOL! You can compare the playback next to the avatar to see how you look! AHHHH!!! Sick, huh?
Negatives: IMPROVED BREAK IT DOWN
- During the breakdown of a move, I didn’t really like that during the “5, 6, 7, 8” prep count, the avatar does a bit of the previous dance move, because it’s a little confusing. In live dance classes I attend, I’m not used to starting a dance move until after I hear “8.” This isn’t too bad, but something I have to get used to because in DC, they only focused strictly on the particular move. I don’t mind the fact that after the move, it goes into the next move slightly, because that is what happens in live dance classes. UPDATE 10/28: I got used to this, so no biggie anymore! LOL!
- Another thing is that if you’re using voice commands during the breakdown, since the voice commands aren’t perfect and usually begin a little late, the avatar usually performs the command mid-move rather than starting from the beginning. Example, the avatar can be doing a move in slow motion, but when it catches your voice command of “speed up” it can be in the middle of a confusing spin move, and just speed up. I found that weird and not user-friendly. Yup, I know this is a video game, but a real teacher wouldn’t do that! LOL!
- UPDATE 10/28: I failed to mention one very important negative that I didn’t bring up!!! The playback of the recorded video is not as useful as it can be because you can only really examine your playback just once, and that’s not enough to really see what you did wrong! So after it shows your initial playback by yourself doing the move, the avatar is added so you can see how you compare, HOWEVER, you have to do the move at the same time because it rates you! I don’t know about you, but I can do those two things at once! LOL! I figure that the whole purpose of the Record Video playback is to watch and make adjustments.
V. FITNESS MODE: It’s not that big of a deal. The main change for this is that there are now set playlists of songs along with the length of time listed, so you can do a continuous mix of dance routines in a row for however long you want, and just sweat your little booty off! You don’t have to enter your weight this time, so I don’t take the calories burned that seriously. I would’ve believed it more if I did have to put my weight and maybe height in.
I would’ve liked to see something more interesting, and customizable, like building your own workout playlist with calories each song burns listed. But hey, this game is only $50, right? Gotta have the developers focus on more important features! ;D LOL!
FAQ: What are the benefits of importing my Dance Central songs into DC2?
- The coolest thing is if you imported your original DC songs into DC2, then you can use the simultaneous multiplayer for all songs!
- You can also take advantage of the new & improved Break It Down mode for DC songs!
- ***The only thing that you won’t have in DC2 with original DC songs is Free-4-All, so you can only battle for score. I would assume that you can turn off the freestyle with DC songs as well. So pretty much you can take advantage of all new DC2 features for DC songs, except for Free-4-All, ya dig? CORRECTION: Thanks to your comments, now I know you CANNOT turn off freestyle for DC songs. NO BIGGIE, everyone should try to be comfortable with free-styling! It’s definitely NOT easy, requires confidence, and just GOING FOR IT!
SORTING SONGS: This is really cool, especially if you imported your DC songs into DC2. I mean, my arm would go numb being held out sorting through all of the DC, DC2, & DLC I have to choose from! You can sort by Song, Artist, Difficulty, & Source. You can also create different PLAYLISTS in DC2! PARTY TIME!!!
Here’s a video I made showing how I imported my DC songs into DC2. I also show the sorting feature at the end.
How to Import DC songs into DC2 & Sorting Feature with MMC
VII. Overall Difficulty: So here’s the deal. Number one, the choreography has gotten more diverse for all levels of difficulty, which is a GREAT thing, so easy songs don’t all look like “Poker Face” from DC. We all love brand new moves & actually are let down when we see too many DC moves in a DC2 song. So yeah, PROPS out to the AMAZING DC CHOREOGRAPHERS! WE LOVE YA! The level of difficulty has generally increased, and especially for the more difficult songs. But hey, it’s all good! I think DC fanatics certainly welcome the challenge!!!
Anyway, I totally just wrote a NOVEL, so in closing, I want to saw Harmonix really outdid themselves with improving Dance Central 2 with the addition of Simultaneous Multiplayer, Battle Mode, improved Break It Down with video recording and more flexibility, Voice Commands, great Song Selection, and hands-down the Best Choreography in any dance game, PERIOD! Dance Central 2 was released in the United States today, October 25, so if you don’t have it already, GO GET IT! It’s really the BEST KINECT DANCE VIDEO GAME!!!
Dance Central 2: “Right Thurr” Simultaneous Multi-Player Gameplay – Riptide vs. Flash4ward
“Right Thurr” by Chingy. Hard level. Difficulty 3. This is featuring Simultaneous In-person Multi-player, DC2′s biggest change since the original Dance Central. This is NOT actual Battle Mode, but you can battle for score between two players. We also have the Freestyle option turned on for this one. Thanks to “Tiny T” for joining me for this battle! She’s an amazing pro dancer who can kick my butt any day, so I got really, really LUCKY! :O Also to the blazin’ tight referee, Rick, for keeping these battles from getting ugly! ;D
NEW!!! Behind the Green: DC2 BATTLE BLOOPERS!
As I edit my next battle, I thought I’d give you a sneak peak behind the scenes of my first green screen battle taping!
Special thanks to my hubby & love of my life, who you never see or hear about, but who always helps me out as the camera person for big shoots like this! You know when I said I had no friends that danced? Well “Tiny T” is my cousin, who is a professional dancer, as well as an elementary teacher. She’s super-busy, so I’m lucky she squeezed in filming with me. Miss Krys is Tiny T’s sister, so she’s also family. We filmed at Rick the Ref’s house because they have a bigger living room. Rick is the hubby of one of my BFFs, & she helped me recruit M.Solo, who is an old high school friend that can KILL IT on the dance floor! He never played DC until the day of this taping! The kids in the video, as mentioned, are my sweet Godchildren.
DC2 SWAG GIVEAWAY!!! [CLOSED AS OF NOVEMBER 1. THANKS ALL PARTICIPANTS ]
As shown at the end of my Dance Central 2 VLOG video, I have some swag to giveaway courtesy of Harmonix! For this particular giveaway, I have only TWO PRIZE PACKS each with 1 pair of hot purple DC2 sunglasses, 1 ultra-cool DC2 bandana, and 2 crew slap bracelets!
For your chance to WIN one of two prize packs, you must do the following: Read the entire DC2 novel above that I just wrote, and comment below with any kind of feedback such as your thoughts, or maybe something you learned that you didn’t know, a feature that you like or dislike, agree or disagree with! I want to learn from YOU! Please be specific! There are no wrong answers! (well, except for the very general, kiss-butt ones)
Winner will be notified via email. Open to international residents as well! You must list country you reside in either in the field that says “website” or in the comments section. I will comment below when I decide to close the contest. The next giveaway will be the highly coveted Dance Central scarves! Details in an upcoming video description!
GOOD LUCK! –MMC
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