Dance Central 3 - Review

Author: Marco Mottura
Date: 2020-07-30 23:03:14
Sometimes in video games, like in life, it's all about the approach. Just think of vintage dualisms such as Super Mario vs Sonic or the more recent FIFA vs PES: the exact same type of game, interpretation of a genre and the mechanics that regulate it profoundly different. It is not always necessary to necessarily determine a winner, and indeed the ideal would be to be able to enjoy the best of both worlds, without too many thoughts. Which, I suppose, is a little bit what the preferred users of the duel fought with dance steps between Just Dance 4 and Dance Central 3 can do with their shrewd disposition: a challenge that has been going on for some years now, founded on two radically different philosophies (but united at the base by a trait d'union made of pure fun).

On the one hand we have Ubisoft, which, as told in the Just Dance 4 review, follows a path based more on intent than on actual style: the French publisher aims to make people move without taking themselves too seriously, to unleash them regardless of their harmony in dance ... in three words, to just make them dance. And given the exceptional results in terms of popularity and sales, it seems difficult to blame him.

On the other hand we have Harmonix, a very talented studio responsible for the first two chapters of Guitar Hero and the Rock Band series, which with Dance Central proposes a different goal: to create the formally perfect dance game, offering an experience so accurate as to be able to have almost didactic purposes, teaching reproducible steps and choreography also in real life. A challenge that is obviously far from simple - after all, there is talk of detecting the movements of an entire body, strictly in real time! - motivated in any case by a well-defined need: to demonstrate the goodness and accuracy of the technology behind Kinect.

With Dance Central 3 you can also go back in time (and in music)!

If Just Dance is in fact on a multiplatform exit perspective (although the original project was born on Wii, where the series continues to grind most of the sales), the Harmonix series is presented as an absolute exclusive of the Microsoft peripheral: a an experience impossible to reproduce elsewhere, built around a discussed but absolutely flawless hardware for this kind of titles (because the absence of the controller is something really able to make a difference in a similar context).

Starting from what was seen in previous episodes, Dance Central 3 cannot help but appear at the appointment with its audience in an excellent condition, to say the least: the precision in detecting the inputs is commendable (or even maniacally punitive by selecting the latest difficulty level available), and the tracking of the various parts of the body is so punctual and meticulous that it leads to something authentically magical, unthinkable even at the beginning of the current generation of consoles.

In no uncertain terms, we are faced with the best that Kinect can offer today: thanks to the stunning technological expertise of Harmonix, every aspect of Dance Central 3 - from navigating within the menus to the ability to instantly enter and exit the mode two-player cooperative, obviously going through the real gameplay stages - it just works. Which, I realize, should be an obvious and the norm, yet, looking at the average of Kinect titles (and also to productions of a certain level such as Fable: The Journey), the reality appears to be definitely another.

The comparison with Just Dance is disarming in this sense: it is true that, as mentioned, the purposes of the Ubisoft title are different, but forget to assist on these shores with generous evaluations given as much for, in order to create an atmosphere of joy without neither winners nor losers. In Dance Central 3 you dance and dance well, it's up to you to sweat on the dancefloor of your living room every notch of the fateful five stars that equate to a performance worthy of a random Justin Timberlake. No discounts, in short, but a lot of satisfaction in being able to learn (perhaps using the very effective system of "breaking up" the various steps) the elaborate choreography often and willingly drawn from what was seen in the official videos of the various songs.

The scores are decided at the last minute, and each head-to-head is very open.

The songs, yes: without a doubt, one of the focal points of a title of this genre, able to make the difference between a memorable chapter and only one convincing one. With this in mind, I personally found the selection of songs from Dance Central 3 slightly subdued compared to the competition and the past: certainly there are some memorable ideas (Around The World by Daft Punk, In Da Club by 50 Cent, Starships by Nicki Minaj and YMCA by Village People), but overall the offer seems perhaps too concentrated on hip-hop and R&B songs with a purely American style, with a fair number of artists and tracks almost unknown in our part.

The ubiquitous DLC (the Gangnam Style catchphrase has been available for a few days, yes) and above all the exceptional ability to import - for just 400 Microsoft Points, or 4.80 Euros - to save the situation contained in Dance Central 1 and 2. Provided you have purchased the two previous episodes, with less than 10 euros you will be able to create an authentic 150-song dancing juke box, perfect for dancing to exhaustion (and without changing disc, of course!).

Undeniably positive notes also for the technical realization, with the consolidated cartoon style that distinguishes the saga once again capable of entertaining and entertaining thanks to the lighting effects, the bright colors and the effective "neon" transitions during the moments in which you dance without making mistakes. The artistic imprint remains - for a change - radically different from the iconic fluorescent shapes proposed by the French counterpart, but it is impossible to complain when the production values and attention to detail are so high.

In common with the rival, however, the problem linked to the novelty effect of the whole: since it is now substantially annual appointments, it is not actually easy to renew a formula with a sure impact without bringing about dangerous distortions. In any case, Harmonix has been busy, shuffling the cards on the table and offering a series of new and rewarding features. The original Story Mode stands out above all, a delusional single player campaign designed to take the player on a journey as a secret agent of dance (!?!) Through various musical ages, as well as noteworthy are the Party Mode option ( attempt after all succeeded in overcoming the lack - dictated by technical limits - of the support to four dancers at the same time) and the two confrontations of the Crew Throwdown.

Marco Mottura , editor of IGN Italia, prefers crossover to dance music. But since in the dancing games he gets along (even if he dances horrendously), now he touches a little. You can find it at some bad gig from poser or on Twitter.