E3 2011: Dance Central 2 Preview

By Shawn Collier on June 24, 2011, 3:18PM EDT

Dance Central for Kinect on the Xbox 360 was easily one of the breakout hits for the new peripheral and was one of the few games to truly showcase what Kinect was capable of. Developed by Harmonix, the same studio responsible for Rock Band and the original Guitar Hero, the game utilized Kinect's hands-free motion capabilities to let players feel like a real dancer. However, the game did have some noticeable faults such as the inability for two players to play at the same time. Thankfully that issue has been rectified along with a slew of other updates and new features, some of which we got a chance to look at during a demo of the game on the show floor at E3 2011.

E3 2011: Dance Central 2 Preview

As was said before, the main aim for Harmonix in Dance Central 2 is to make the game much more of a "social" game. The main push for this new outlook is the two-player drop-in-drop-out ability, which lets the Kinect sensor sense a second player and let them into the song at any time. It is important to note that this means a wider area of room will need to be made for those used to the original, as many of the songs featured in the sequel need a wide area of room to dance in, which is only made larger by the new two-player feature.

One of Dance Central 2's other new additions is its revamped campaign mode. The original game had players play through songs that increased in their difficulty level --- the sequel will feature an actual story. The gist of the mode, as explained by Harmonix, is that the various characters belong to different distinct dance crews with their own outfits and dance choices. The player's character will work their way through the ranks until they reach the ranks of the world's best-known dancers. Sadly Harmonix wasn't ready to show off this mode to us during the demo, but it sounds like a great improvement over the original.

E3 2011: Dance Central 2 Preview (2)

Harmonix is also applying a variety of other minor tweaks and additions to the franchise besides just the aforementioned major updates. The sequel will featured a revamped tutorial mode (not much information was revealed about the specifics of the changes, however), the ability to get a quick peek at a song's choreography while browsing through the song list, the ability to navigate through the menus with your voice and an in-game store. The key feature for players of the original Dance Central, however, is the ability to import all of the original game's songs into the sequel, which amounts to over 140 different songs in total. One of the major complaints about the original game was the lack of content, so this addition should make things more tolerable. Harmonix wasn't able to indicate how newcomers who jump straight into the sequel will be able to access these songs, but it's likely that DC1 songs will be available via the game's in-game store.

Fans of the original will almost likely flock to the sequel, but it appears that Harmonix is putting a lot of effort into tearing down even more of the boundaries for those who are not normally into dancing games, so it will be interesting to see how the game shapes up before its release during the holiday season later this year.

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