Dance Central 3 Preview -- Finally, You'll Learn How to DougieBy Dana Leahy - Posted Jun 05, 2012
Dance Central--up until this point--has been a franchise more about following orders than knowing how to dance. If you could imitate what was happening on the screen, the game would reward you with points. It would allow you to feel like maybe there was a chance you were cool and wouldn't make a total fool of yourself on the dance floor even if there weren't colorful cartoon people telling you what to do. I have bad news for you: all that is changing with Dance Central 3. You're going to have to learn how to really dance.
Here at E3 2012, Harmonix is showcasing the new Crew Throwdown mode, which is the revamped version of the multiplayer mode introduced in Dance Central 2. Allowing two teams of up to four people (eight in total playing 2 dancers at a time), Crew Throwdown consists of a series of mini-games that let you battle it out for the title of best living room dance crew.
Did you wince when I said mini-games? I understand, but I have good news: while the mini-games in DC2 left something to be desired, Harmonix has completely changed its approach this time around, aiming to make them far more engaging than frustrating. There are a few different challenges that will be thrown at you and your crew, but all of them much improved over the offerings of the second game and seem way more in line with the overall Dance Central experience.
In our demo, we took a look at two mini-games in particular: Keep the Beat and Make Your Move. Remember what I was saying about really knowing how to dance? Well, here we go. With Keep the Beat, two members in your crew bust their own moves. That's right. Dance moves that come from your brain. You have to do moves in time with the music, and the game scores you on how well you do. When one player pulls ahead of the other player (a small crown will appear above their head), their opponent can steal the move by doing what they are doing. If you do the same move too much, however, the game will penalize you.
The other mode, Make Your Move, is like a game of dance H.O.R.S.E. One player creates a move, executes it four times in a row, and then it is up to their opponent to do that same move four times in a row. This happens until four moves are created, and then the game strings them together into a routine that both players have to perform. The game doles out points based on how well you do, and a winner is determined after the routine is finished.
I don't know about you, but to me, this sounds terrifying. Dancing. . .without instruction? How. . .how will I know what to do? It sends a shiver of embarrassment up my spine just thinking about it, but maybe this is what Harmonix has had in mind all along. Maybe it's part of their master plan to help us all learn how to groove. Perhaps, this how we nerds will acquire what professionals call "rhythm."
Along with the new Crew Throwdown mode, Dance Central 3 also features an entirely new scripted campaign, with an all-new crew DCI (Dance Central Intelligence. They wear little business suits!) thrown into the mix. All Harmonix would say about the story mode is that it involves time travel, which makes sense knowing that DC3's track listing is a mix of hits from the 70's through today.
The track list also emphasizes popular dances from every era, including The Hustle, The Electric Slide, and yes, even the Dougie. Yesterday at the Microsoft Press Conference, Usher performed to promote Dance Central 3, and the game features two of his songs with the same choreography featured in his videos. That's a pretty cool treat for Usher fans, and even though who casually appreciate his existence. Right now, there are more than 40 songs in the game, and you will be able to import your tracklists from Dance Central and Dance Central 2 into the game.
From what I've seen so far, Dance Central 3 is--somehow--going to improve on the near-perfect Dance Central 2. The features we saw today look very promising, and fans of the franchise should be pretty excited for what Harmonix has in store, except for the having to really dance part. I mean, be excited because it will be fun, but you should probably start practicing now. Consider yourself warned
Dance Central 3 will hit stores this fall.