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Video Game of the Week – Dance Central 2

When Kinect for Xbox 360 first came out just under a year ago, no video game better demonstrated its amazing capabilities than Dance Central. It’s OK to pretend to play with cute animals or swing an imaginary tennis racket, but when the body is the controller, nothing can compare to breaking out your best dance moves to some great tunes.

Harmonix Music’s latest dance game, Dance Central 2, sticks closely to the winning formula of the earlier version, while adding some new challenges and a two-player format that will be the highlight of thousands of birthday parties and sleepovers for months to come.

Of course, the strength of any good party game is how easy it is for total beginners to jump straight into the fun, and with Dance Central 2 it couldn’t be any simpler. You just pick a song, select a difficulty level, and mirror the actions of the dancer onscreen.

One of the Kinect features that is cleverly incorporated into Dance Central 2 is speech recognition. At any time, you can bring up the Voice Commander screen to choose a song, select a mode, or say ‘Pause’ for a break in the action. Voice commands are also used to control Break It Down, a mode that lets you go over a dizzying array of dance moves until you have mastered them to perfection.

There is also a new Crew Challenge mode, where you dance to earn stars and unlock custom outfits, back-up dancers, and signature venues. But the most popular mode will undoubtedly be Dance Battle, which takes the passive ‘dance with a friend’ option from the earlier game and turns it into a head-to-head competition. (Again, the beginner is well looked after, with variable difficult modes allowing the novice to take on a more experienced dancer.)

The Dance Central 2 soundtrack features over 40 all-new dance tracks, including numbers by Bruno Mars, Daft Punk, Lady Gaga, Missy Elliott and Rihanna. Dozens more are available from the Xbox LIVE store, so the music is never going to feel old.

As in the earlier version, the great music selection is supplemented by striking visuals and sound effects. Your “instructor” will reward you when you nail a move and offer words of encouragement – laced with a little humor – when you fail. Every so often, Kinect will surprise you by taking a picture, which bolder players can instantly upload to their Facebook and Twitter accounts.

If you love to get up and dance, then Dance Central 2 is the perfect game for you. If not, then this is the one game that might just make you change your mind!

Dance Central 2 is rated “T” for Teen (lyrics, suggestive themes) by the ESRB. Check out the ESRB video game ratings and content descriptors at ESRB.org

Publisher: Harmonix/Microsoft Game Studios

Platform: Kinect for the Xbox 360

Genre: Rhythm, dance

RRP: $49.99

Release Date: October 25, 2011

ESRB Rating: “T” for Teen

Comment by pam, posted 11/2/2011, 4:59 PM:

my husband bought this game for me for my birthday, which is this friday 11/4. i love it. we got it on amazon when they had the preorder deal that included 400 microsoft points so you can get all of the 1st dance central songs, free shipping, and a $10 amazon credit. PLUS, the game comes with 240 microsoft points. SCORE! My 14 yo daughter loves the game. It gives you one heck of a workout, too. great fun!
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