The music won’t stop for anyone as the creators of the Guitar Hero and Rock Band franchises are set to release their third entry into the Dance Central universe. Pretty much defining how rhythm games are played today, Harmonix is making some major overhauls and additions to their latest dance title that hopefully will be enough to justify an annual subscription.
While the first game was the building block for a terrific key franchise on the Kinect, the second game is what pushed the series further with a single player campaign and a wider variety of options. There was an actual story to why you were dancing, but even then, it was fairly vague and felt like an old school arcade fighter where you just scaled the ranks until the final boss. This is where Dance Central 3 comes into play, as after two years of tampering and experimenting, Harmonix is looking to release a fun loving campaign that’s relevant to the soundtrack they’re establishing.
The story is absolutely crazy, which is probably for the best. As the protagonist, you’ve been scouted by Rasa and Lima, two special agents who are a part of an elite secret organization tasked with keeping the world in check with sick moves. This organization is called Dance Central Intelligence (DCI for short). After a short introduction on the basics of the game, Dr. Tan, an evil dancing tyrant, reveals himself to be a threat upon humanity. You’re tasked with going through time with Boomy, the time traveling boombox that is powered by star energy, to gather some of the most illest moves you can obtain in order to stop and dismantle Dr. Tan’s imposing regime.
Because Dance Central 3 is a time traveling game, not only are there very distinct visuals flares for each era, but there are a number of songs and move sets that may have felt out of place prior. Of course we saw a number of actions that were recycled, but there seems to be a ton of newly added or modified choreography that is suitable for the timeline. The story progresses through the 70s and skips every decade until it reaches current day. This allows Harmonix to set up a number of stylish throwbacks that are missing from rhythm games today, which always seem to focus on songs that sell rather than being suitable. It’s a good chronological outlook on how dancing and music has changed over the past forty years.
With a number of new modes to choose from, the story isn’t the only modification. Drop-in and drop-out multiplayer is a heavy focus with Dance Central 3 as there’s Crew Throwdown, a mode in which eight different dancers battle in groups of up to four. There’s also the traditional dance offs, but the new “Strike a Pose” tasks players to strike distinct forms in order to generate multipliers and more points. Free for All is a similar new feature that appears during a song where the player can choose from four different rotating moves in order to increase their star value. These are fun new additions that should have everyone looking stupid in front of their friends
Set for release on October 16th here in North America, Dance Central 3 will be once again the definitive Kinect experience, and quite possibly the best time travel video game as well. Having tweaked the series so much since it was first introduced to the world, Dance Central 3 improves upon everything we’ve come to love: more modes, more moves, and more fun. Stay tuned in the coming days for our full review.