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Review

Dance Central 3 Review

  • Game release: October 16, 2012
  • Reviewed:
  • X360

A terrific new party mode and other smart additions to the franchise make Dance Central 3 the best way yet to get groovy with your Kinect.

by

The Dance Central series has already established itself as the best dance franchise available. It's known for its gorgeous animations, wonderful dance routines that cater to a wide range of skill levels, and Kinect tracking that gets your whole body into the groove. And in these regards, Dance Central 3 maintains the excellence of its predecessors, leaving the basic gameplay untouched. You still perform a wide variety of fun dance moves in routines that are expertly choreographed to match the music that accompanies them. But it's the elements that surround the dancing that make this sequel a standout. An appropriately absurd Story mode and a diverse soundtrack that reaches back through time to work in hit records and dance crazes of the past few decades elevate the game. But it's the outrageous and frequently hilarious Party Time mode that takes this sequel over the top and makes it the best Dance Central yet.

Of course, dancing is still front and center. A new difficulty level, beginner, keeps routines simple and lets even those who may have been intimidated by the easy mode in earlier games enjoy strutting their stuff. On the other end of the spectrum, dances on hard difficulty are complex, challenging more experienced dancers to keep up with intricate, physically demanding routines. The dances are performed by an assortment of impossibly attractive, stylish characters--most of whom return from earlier games--and their smooth, graceful animations make even the simplest of moves look pretty cool.

As in earlier Dance Central games, cue cards scroll up along the side of the screen, indicating which moves are coming up in the current routine, and should your actions not quite match the dance move being performed, the corresponding limbs on the onscreen dancer become outlined in red. It's a gentle, effective way to inform you that your performance is a little off, but this may not be enough to help you understand what you're doing wrong.

Thankfully, the option to rehearse specific dance moves or entire songs is back, and as before, you can slow things down and master a move at half speed if you're struggling. A new addition to Rehearse mode makes it an even better tool for helping you identify aspects of a move you might be having trouble with. You can now have the Kinect show live footage of you dancing next to the in-game dancer performing the move, making any discrepancies between your actions and the character's more obvious.

The red lines mean you're not quite nailing the move. That's just simple dance science.

The dance moves range from extremely simple steps that anyone can keep up with, to much more intricate moves that all but the most seasoned dancers may need to practice to master. Generally, the Kinect's tracking of your moves is precise, though you can usually fudge any subtle hand movements involved in a dance step and still earn a rating of flawless. New in Dance Central 3 are a number of dance crazes from the past few decades, which consist of a few dance steps in a specific sequence.

When dancing to "The Hustle," a few dance moves come together to form the titular '70s dance craze. Similarly, when dancing to "Macarena," you need to put your pride aside, move your arms, and wiggle your booty to do the goofy dance that was inescapable for a brief period in the mid-'90s. (If doing the Hustle or the Macarena sounds too easy to you, don't worry. On harder difficulties, these crazes are mixed with vigorous steps that ensure the routines are no walk in the park.)

Kid 'n Play wish they were cool enough to attend this house party.

Along with the period dance crazes, Dance Central 3 shores up its sense of history by including numerous songs from each of the past four decades. "Turn the Beat Around," "I Will Survive," and other tunes represent the '70s. Grooves from the '80s show up in the form of "Let the Music Play" and "You've Got It (The Right Stuff)," among others. You'll have '90s flashbacks thanks to songs like "Now That We Found Love" and "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)."

And then there are a host of songs from the 2000s and the current decade, with Usher, Katy Perry, 50 Cent, Kelly Clarkson, Maroon 5, and many other artists represented. If you own Dance Central or Dance Central 2, you can import the on-disc soundtracks for those games for 400 Microsoft points per disc. (If you already imported Dance Central's songs for Dance Central 2, you don't need to pay the 400 points again.) And all songs you may have downloaded for the previous games work automatically with Dance Central 3.

Supporting Dance Central 3's diverse soundtrack is an entertainingly silly Story mode. Dance Central Intelligence, or DCI, is our last line of defense against dance crimes, and you're their newest recruit. The nefarious Dr. Tan has launched Operation Lockstep, which seeks to eliminate all freestyling from dance and make it a rigid, robotic practice. DCI has sent dance crews back to the '70s, '80s, '90s, and 2000s to study the dance crazes of those eras to prevent Dr. Tan from exploiting the power they possess.

You travel back to a '70s disco, a hoppin' '80s street corner, a '90s house party, and other locations to dance with the crews and identify each era's dance craze. It all culminates in a fun boss battle dance-off that pulls together dance crazes from across the eras and reaffirms the power of personal expression. Completing Story mode opens up the master quest, which continues the story and doles out unlockable rewards for those players committed enough to master the dance routines. Thankfully, you won't find any songs among those unlockable rewards; all 45 songs included in Dance Central 3 are unlocked from the get-go.

In addition to Story mode, you can experience these songs in traditional Dance Central fashion simply by jumping into Perform mode and tackling them solo or with a friend. But where Dance Central 3 really distinguishes itself is in Party Time mode. This mode automatically shuffles through songs and game types, so you can leave it running at a get-together and people can jump up and play whenever the urge to dance strikes them.

Let's face facts here. This happened in the '90s. There's no point in us pretending it didn't.

Party Time lets you participate in straightforward performances and in the two-player battles of Dance Central 2. It also introduces Keep the Beat, a two-player game in which you freestyle to a song and the game determines whether you or your opponent is more accurately moving to the beat of the music, and if your opponent is winning, you can attempt to mimic and "steal" his or her move. The game's sense of who's doing a better job of grooving to the music is a bit arbitrary, but that's OK. Party Time is for friendly goofing around, not serious competition.

Party Time also includes Strike a Pose, a shallow game type in which you and your opponent race to match poses presented by the onscreen dancers. The highlight of Party Time, however, is Make Your Move. Essentially a dance version of Mad Libs, this game prompts you to create your own moves, issuing directives like "Do a dramatic move!" or "Do a ridiculous move!" You repeat a move a few times to "create" it, and then your opponent is challenged to pull off your move, and then create one of his or her own. At the end of the mode, the moves you and your opponent have created are strung together into a dance routine that you both must perform. It's almost guaranteed that the moves you make in response to prompts like "Do a grandpa move!" will result in laughter, and again, though the Kinect's reading of how well you perform the moves your opponent has created can be spotty, it's hard to care when you're having so much fun goofing around.

Winning against someone who is dancing as the perpetually sunny, cartoonishly handsome Bodie is especially satisfying.

If you're looking for a less casual, more structured competitive mode, Crew Throwdown lets two teams of up to four dancers battle it out in a series of rounds that build up to a final dance battle. And if you want to compete with friends online, you can choose to "flaunt" your score on any song, automatically creating a challenge that shows up for your friends. Whether you're looking for a beginner-friendly dance experience, rigorous routines that challenge your skills and help you burn calories, or a terrific party game that gets everyone on their feet and having fun, Dance Central 3 is the best way to turn your living room into a dancefloor short of hiring your own personal DJ.

The Good
Excellent dance routines can appeal to beginners and experts alike
New Party Time mode is fantastic fun at get-togethers
Soundtrack and story draw on decades of dance hits
Improved Rehearse mode makes it easier to master tough moves
The Bad
N/A
8.5
Great
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Discussion

0 comments
RussellGorall
RussellGorall

This may make me fire up my Kinect. Just kidding.

Bowser05
Bowser05

I'm glad they are still doing well. I skipped 2 but loved 1. I think I'll pick this one up. Thanks for another thoughtful review.

murekkep
murekkep

You shouldn't make it that obvious you getting paid.

IceJester45
IceJester45

Two 8+ Kinect titles within a week of each other. Maybe I shouldn't have sold my Kinect. 

 

I wonder what Harmonix is going to do with the next game. I mean, they added simultaneous multiplayer -- the only major thing the first game was missing -- to Dance Central 2. How much more could they possibly do with the current Kinect hardware? Maybe Microsoft should give the series a rest until Kinect 2.0 comes out.

TheEveryMan
TheEveryMan

No bad section. What is happening to Gamespot?

inuyasha1031
inuyasha1031

>> Gives unique, fun games 6/10

 

>> Gives same-old sequel 8.5/10

 

GG GG

DBGT-87
DBGT-87

waaaaw 

this shit 8.5 and RE6 got 4.5 

ilantis
ilantis

Seems nice, but don't even let me started at how retarded I looked while playing Dance Central 2 on the wii XD. BTW my little cousin would love this game , but me ? no

sleepnsurf
sleepnsurf

Just bought the first one at fry's new for .99. Ill get to this one soon enough

OmegaFlare18
OmegaFlare18

where's the "Bad" section? or is Dance Central 3 perfect?

ebeorietemethhp
ebeorietemethhp

great! i loved the first two. and i cant dance. like, at all. will be picking this up and importing my  DC 1 and 2 tracks.

Getbacktogaming
Getbacktogaming

Phew I don't need to pay another 400 MSP to import DC1's songs!!! Thanks Carolyn I couldn't find this info anywhere else!

glez13
glez13

Another one of these?

RussellGorall
RussellGorall

 @Bowser05 They aren't selling nearly as well. Basically they are slammed by Just Dance.

arrolllal
arrolllal

 @Bowser05 I have all 3  and I like dance central 2 the best...but 3 is also very good :)

ALPRAS91
ALPRAS91

 @Bowser05 I have both and I loved both. But there was a great evolution from DC1 to 2, like the voice control...

RussellGorall
RussellGorall

 @murekkep Just because Gamespot gets money from Microsoft to give Kinect games good reviews like they did with Fable The Journey doesn't mean they are getting paid. Oops, it does.

 

Honestly, it doesn't look like the reviewer can move at all. They had a morbidly obese chick do a review for a motion control game. They are basically asking for it.

arrolllal
arrolllal

 @DBGT-87 Resident evil got 4.5 because it didn't stay true to the series. it became an action game as opposed to a horror/ survival game. 

da2g
da2g

 @DBGT-87 sorry but RE6 IS A CRAP however I agree that note for DC3 is to high

dlCHIEF58
dlCHIEF58

 @DBGT-87 

 

Just because YOU don't like this type of game does not make it bad. As stated by another user, get over it.

arrolllal
arrolllal

 @ilantis You only look silly if you don't know do the dances properly. if you actually learn them in the rehearsal mode you can look good while dancing. look at songs like omg and satisfaction. but yea its sort of a party game and if you don't like parties I can see how it won't appeal to many people. 

carolynmichelle
carolynmichelle moderator staff

 @Harrydapro Yes. Because games don't start at a 10 and only lose points for flaws. Games earn their scores.

carolynmichelle
carolynmichelle moderator staff

 @OmegaFlare18 It's not "perfect." It's just really great. If you absolutely need to know some minor negative things about the game for some reason, you can find some in my review--I talk about how you can fudge smaller movements and still get a rating of "flawless" on a move, for instance, and how the "Strike a Pose" game type is shallow, and how the tracking is a bit spotty during the Make Your Move game. But I didn't, and don't, feel that any of these are worthy of Bad entries. I wouldn't really describe anything about the game as "bad." That doesn't make it a 10. Games don't start at 10.

painpas
painpas

 @Gelugon_baat  @murekkep Gelugon_baat... How come anytime there is a comment that hints at something like this or anything against Petit you come running with chastisements or try to sway our suspicion? I have to type that I am LOL right now by this review. I am not saying that this game is good or not because I think that it is but there is a theme here with the M$ games and with the youtube no more money from us approach this sort of pacify the beast tactic is being employed. Remember that this site is a BUSINESS. No matter how you try to spin it. Fable the journey and now this game exclusives for M$'s console are getting high scores. I do not see this site giving Halo any less than a 9 to see if they can prove to M$ that they can move units for them as they have in the past and get that ad money still coming. You would be suprised at  how much the holiday ads are the only reason why you get paid throughout the year in some lines of work. DC3 is good.. never was bad, but I see the trend and the facts are the facts. M$ is tightening the wallet... its all over the internet and there have been a number of rants and complaints. For those who say it will be HALO only are wrong it is all M$ published games. 

DBGT-87
DBGT-87

 @dlCHIEF58 don't tell me that ,,, please look at the others reviews at GS

painpas
painpas

 @Gelugon_baat Forget it Gelugon_baat.  We are all just gamers sharing about videogames. This is not important at all and I hope you have a nice day, evening, or night. LOL! Conspiracy theories... we are consumers looking for information on a subjective matter. There is nothing objective in anyones opinion and to suppose non-bias based on a lack of proof is noble but may not be wise. Just because your girlfriend says that she did not sleep with someone else when she went on a trip with her friends does not mean it did not happen. Have you ever lied to someone about something that they will never be able to prove? If you believe everything that you read and hear and not read between the lines investigate and gather information you are considered a fool. Your loyalty to this company or any website is to be admired in this day and age. I wish I was still trusting in the way that you seem to be. However, once you work for companies long enough you know that drinking the kool-aid may further your career but feel uncomfortable looking in the mirror. But.... when you look at a wife and childs hungry eyes.......

painpas
painpas

 @Gelugon_baat You did not understand my point based on basic "google is your friend" research. Gelugon_baat beg gamespot for a job.....

painpas
painpas

 @Gelugon_baat  @murekkep  Gelugon_Baat do you work for gamespot? If you do then this sort of thing is understandable. However, if you don't you will know that making reference to the past is not what is the current situation. Ad money that would have been generated from Microsoft games is a NEW issue. Citing the past is not the latest development in the Microsoft ad saga. I am confused because this is a recent issue. Plus check out other reviews for Fable the Journey and you will see that Tom did what Kevin did not for RE6 which is just review the game for what it is not what you think it should be given the franchise history. Fable J might sell well with the strong US and UK marketing the M$ has but FANS of the open world games from Xbox to 360 are surely going to be disappointed. 

kkxtrouble
kkxtrouble

 @megakick  @carolynmichelle  @Harrydapro You're not understanding how reviews work. She does say what is bad in the review she just didn't put it in the "Good/Bad" Section because these things were to small. They only put the most important details in that section, but these flaws do lower the score. If that section said everything there is to be said about the game there would be no need for a review.

megakick
megakick

 @carolynmichelle  @Harrydapro

hows that any different if a student answered all the questions correctly on test but the teacher didn't give the student 100% but the teacher won't say why. carlolyn Your reviews make no sense you don't give review you give commentaries and are very biased. A review should have good points and bad points so readers can make a good informed decision.

carolynmichelle
carolynmichelle moderator staff

 @TohouAsura  @carolynmichelle  @Harrydapro It does have "flaws." Just nothing that I felt was significant of a flaw to warrant a Bad entry. As I said in a comment below, "f you absolutely need to know some minor negative things about the game for some reason, you can find some in my review--I talk about how you can fudge smaller movements and still get a rating of "flawless" on a move, for instance, and how the "Strike a Pose" game type is shallow, and how the tracking is a bit spotty during the Make Your Move game." To get above an 8.5, it would need to do not just be a really great game, but a superb one. It would probably need to make even more significant improvements and innovations on the core Dance Central gameplay than it does.

carolynmichelle
carolynmichelle moderator staff

 @Harrydapro Because, as I said, games don't start at a 10 and only have points deducted for flaws. This is a really great game. Hence, it earns the really great score of 8.5.

Dance Central 3 More Info

First Release on Oct 16, 2012
  • Xbox 360
Dance Central 3 is the third installment in the popular Dance Central game for the Kinect on the Xbox 360.
6.8
Average User RatingOut of 40 User Ratings
Please Sign In to rate Dance Central 3
Developed by:
Harmonix Music Systems
Published by:
Microsoft Game Studios
Genres:
Music/Rhythm
Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
Teen
All Platforms
Lyrics, Mild Suggestive Themes