Dance Central Is Hella Good

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Posted by Jeff (3400 posts) -

A dancing game that utilizes Microsoft's hands-free Kinect device seems like the sort of thing that would be a natural fit. It also, predictably, seems like one of the things that people are quickest to write off as soon as they see it. Either they're above it or they're so convinced that they're unable to dance that they're unwilling to give it a shot. Since I'll try just about anything once, I fell more into the latter camp.

Maybe I should have considered Harmonix's track record a bit more. With the Rock Band series, the company's done well at providing something that's fun across multiple levels of difficulty. That philosophy appears to carry over into Dance Central, the company's new Kinect dancing game. I danced to Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" in front of a television, and it worked out just fine.
  

  
Of course, I was playing on easy. At the lowest of its three difficulty settings, Dance Central focuses more on basic rhythm by giving you easier steps to perform. Maybe "steps" is a bit of a misnomer, because stepping back and forth quickly gives way to stepping back and forth with claps, rocking your arms above your head, and other simple, but effective full-body stuff. By the end of the first verse, I had it down, pulling off the simplified moves with "flawless" timing. Perhaps I've been a hidden dancer for all of these years? Well, probably not. Easy is, well, easy. But it still felt pretty satisfying and it felt like the Kinect hardware was accurately seeing what I was doing. Though you're barely represented on the screen (a small window shows your outline), the game gives you feedback by having the body parts you aren't using properly flash red on the on-screen dancer, who serves as a guide for you to match movements with.

The flash card-style display on the right shifts up-screen as you transition from one step to the next. 
Though the game won't offer two-player simultaneous play, the game does feature a multiplayer mode called "dance battle." Though Harmonix isn't ready to share details on that mode, it sounds like the sort of mode where one could serve or perhaps... get served.

It sounds like the game's developers have similar plans for downloadable add-ons as it has for its Rock Band series, and the songs in the demo so far include Bell Biv DeVoe's "Poison," No Doubt's "Hella Good," M.I.A's "Galang '05," and a couple of others. With a collection of music that might actually be worth dancing to, Dance Central is the first game that has me thinking there might be something to this whole Kinect thing, after all.

The game is currently scheduled to release later this year, whenever Microsoft's fancy robot camera/radioactive X-ray murder device goes on sale.
Staff
#1 Posted by Jeff (3400 posts) -

A dancing game that utilizes Microsoft's hands-free Kinect device seems like the sort of thing that would be a natural fit. It also, predictably, seems like one of the things that people are quickest to write off as soon as they see it. Either they're above it or they're so convinced that they're unable to dance that they're unwilling to give it a shot. Since I'll try just about anything once, I fell more into the latter camp.

Maybe I should have considered Harmonix's track record a bit more. With the Rock Band series, the company's done well at providing something that's fun across multiple levels of difficulty. That philosophy appears to carry over into Dance Central, the company's new Kinect dancing game. I danced to Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" in front of a television, and it worked out just fine.
  

  
Of course, I was playing on easy. At the lowest of its three difficulty settings, Dance Central focuses more on basic rhythm by giving you easier steps to perform. Maybe "steps" is a bit of a misnomer, because stepping back and forth quickly gives way to stepping back and forth with claps, rocking your arms above your head, and other simple, but effective full-body stuff. By the end of the first verse, I had it down, pulling off the simplified moves with "flawless" timing. Perhaps I've been a hidden dancer for all of these years? Well, probably not. Easy is, well, easy. But it still felt pretty satisfying and it felt like the Kinect hardware was accurately seeing what I was doing. Though you're barely represented on the screen (a small window shows your outline), the game gives you feedback by having the body parts you aren't using properly flash red on the on-screen dancer, who serves as a guide for you to match movements with.

The flash card-style display on the right shifts up-screen as you transition from one step to the next. 
Though the game won't offer two-player simultaneous play, the game does feature a multiplayer mode called "dance battle." Though Harmonix isn't ready to share details on that mode, it sounds like the sort of mode where one could serve or perhaps... get served.

It sounds like the game's developers have similar plans for downloadable add-ons as it has for its Rock Band series, and the songs in the demo so far include Bell Biv DeVoe's "Poison," No Doubt's "Hella Good," M.I.A's "Galang '05," and a couple of others. With a collection of music that might actually be worth dancing to, Dance Central is the first game that has me thinking there might be something to this whole Kinect thing, after all.

The game is currently scheduled to release later this year, whenever Microsoft's fancy robot camera/radioactive X-ray murder device goes on sale.
Staff
#2 Edited by EvGar (131 posts) -

This looks interesting, at least.
 
I guess I still don't see how that all works, since all three of those people were excellent dancers, and were doing moves that didn't even seem to be prompted...

#3 Posted by CharlesAlanRatliff (5371 posts) -

I would really love lag-free dance competitions online with people. So cool!

#4 Posted by darkjester74 (1565 posts) -

Sorry, but the words "Dance" and "Hella Good" DO NOT go together.  This post automatically fails.

#5 Posted by TheCreamFilling (1223 posts) -

This really looks intriguing. 

#6 Posted by Lunar_Aura (2779 posts) -

If they manage to incorporate this with a dance mat I'd be sold.
#7 Posted by TheClap (538 posts) -

Are the back-up dancers included?

#8 Posted by evanbrau (1162 posts) -

It looks kind of cool, but I have the two leftest feet in the history of left feet. Hopefully the teaching stuff works well.

#9 Posted by Bobby (88 posts) -

I hope someone develops a de-make of this for use with my Sega Activator.

#10 Posted by DCFGS3 (1054 posts) -

This is perhaps the only title for kinect that I'm confident could work past the cheap gimmicky 'Kinect Sports' kind of stuff. I could easily see an entire dance genre akin to Rock band opening up.

#11 Posted by gosukiller (2324 posts) -

 

 
 Saw this on the forums earlier. It truly does fit.
#12 Posted by Lunar_Aura (2779 posts) -
@gosukiller:
Instant buy if Guile Theme is included or is DLC.
#13 Posted by wealllikepie (756 posts) -

meh i hated how the micro conference concentrated so much on kinect. i understand its their biggest thing this year, but they shouldnt have forgotten about the hardcore audience. showing off only 5 big games is a real shame (forza update excluded)

#14 Posted by RE_Player1 (7544 posts) -
@gosukiller said:
"  
   Saw this on the forums earlier. It truly does fit. "
I also saw this. Guile's theme does go with everything.
Online
#15 Posted by ryanwho (12082 posts) -

I was hoping someone would screw up so I could see if those avatars are actually mapped to the dance or if they're just supposed to show you how to correctly do the move.

#16 Posted by MiamiRedHawks (914 posts) -

This could be interesting.

#17 Posted by TheDrizzle (27 posts) -

Seems kind  of interesting, just have to see how the finished product comes out

#18 Posted by arab_prince (2053 posts) -

Poker face! Awesome. Seems interesting, i guess.

#19 Edited by Mrskidders (1330 posts) -
@ryanwho: Jeff mentioned that there is only a small screen showing your movement that Kinect is tracking.  The Avatar isn't directly movement related.
 
 "Though you're barely represented on the screen (a small window shows your outline), the game gives you feedback by having the body parts you aren't using properly flash red on the on-screen dancer, who serves as a guide for you to match movements with."
#20 Posted by heatDrive88 (2262 posts) -

 
Haha, that Guile theme vid is fantastic.

#21 Posted by Scrumdidlyumptious (1639 posts) -

This game looked so shit when it was first shown with that fake family, but it looked really decent during the conference. The only game that caught my attention during all the Kinect crap.

#22 Posted by MichaelBach (874 posts) -

I think it looked fun in the demo, can't wait to see the vids Vinny shot of Jeff :)

#23 Posted by TimFReilly (98 posts) -

When we were going through the E3 trailers, this was the one my girlfriend was really in to.  Looks like fun!

#24 Posted by Hike77 (14 posts) -

I have bad visions of having to play this with my Fiance, it'll be good reason to have to get a new toy.

#25 Posted by skrutop (3615 posts) -
@Jeff said:

"

Though the game won't offer two-player simultaneous play, the game does feature a multiplayer mode called "dance battle." Though Harmonix isn't ready to share details on that mode, it sounds like the sort of mode where one could serve or perhaps... get served.
Ok, now I'm interested.  Question: can you step up 2 the streets?
#26 Edited by asdfghasdf (71 posts) -

Looks pretty cool. I like Harmonix games, so I think I'll probably like this if they do it right. Definitely the only Kinect game that appealed to me during the conference.

#27 Posted by shawnyofthedead (45 posts) -

at least its better than just dance 

#28 Posted by thesillyoldbear (2 posts) -

People are writing this off? As far as my wife and I are concerned this game might be the only reason so far to buy the Kinetic hardware.

#29 Posted by TripMasterMunky (2403 posts) -

I've never bought a rockband or guitar hero, but I might get this.

#30 Edited by skittles (156 posts) -

Watching the press conference last night, this game is the only thing that got me excited about Kinect so far.
 
I just hope they have a wealth of awful old dance moves I can learn.

#31 Posted by greenblattsam (80 posts) -

Step Back or I'll sick dancing Lincon on you!

#32 Posted by JJWeatherman (14553 posts) -

Thank you Jeff for writing this article. There's so much cynicism regarding Kinect here on the site. We need more articles like this.

#33 Posted by JarenFace (205 posts) -

If I were to get a Kinect, this would be my only reason to. Really intriguing at this point.
 
Plus I've been saying this every topic/comment I can- best part of the conference to me.

#34 Posted by Haoshiro (115 posts) -

Definitely looks like it justifies Kinect, neither a dance mat nor Wii/Move could pull this game off.

#35 Posted by Zero_Kane (9 posts) -

Not feeling the Kinect stuff at all. This was probably the closest to being interesting though.

#36 Posted by knownspace (85 posts) -

So no mosh pit mode? Would love to see windmill punching and headbutts.

#37 Posted by DeviantJoker (398 posts) -

In agreeance with a lot of the folks here. This is about the only thing that looked appealing to me, personally, about Kinect - sadly, one game is not enough of a reason to buy a peripheral for. While I do like the technology showcased in You Shape (Thermal People on mah screen!), as well, I need more reasons to purchase Kinect. Hopefully a few publishers buy into this thing and we can see the technology be utilized in creative new ways!

#38 Posted by bretthancock (778 posts) -

When do we get to see the video of Jeff dancing to Poker Face?

#39 Posted by Deathpooky (1367 posts) -

Yeah, this and the workout game were the only interesting ones.  They actually tried to use the hardware for what its designed for (full body tracking) as opposed to being Wii lite, or generally terrible.  I don't see how Kinect can be good for fake driving or fake sports of any sort unless they somehow figure out a much better way to use the hardware.

#40 Posted by Bocam (3665 posts) -

Another game where you look like a fool playing it

#41 Posted by Mordebir (134 posts) -

I think this is one of those games that you have to play in order to get if you realy like it. Looking at the people playing it, I have to say it looks bad.

#42 Edited by Mercanis (659 posts) -

Leave it to Harmonix to again successfully open up gaming to new types of peripherals. 
 
@skrutop
said: 

" @Jeff said:

"



Though the game won't offer two-player simultaneous play, the game does feature a multiplayer mode called "dance battle." Though Harmonix isn't ready to share details on that mode, it sounds like the sort of mode where one could serve or perhaps... get served.
Ok, now I'm interested.  Question: can you step up 2 the streets? "
Only if you've contracted Saturday night fever.
#43 Posted by LastHill (23 posts) -

Im actually interested in this tittle for something my family and i will play together.

#44 Posted by Somadude (549 posts) -

That actually looks really cool.
#45 Posted by AlKusanagi (896 posts) -

The real question is if it allows me to flip it, smack it, and/or rub it down?

#46 Posted by Catolf (2653 posts) -

I would really consider buying this, looks like a lot of fun, and teaching me some moves is bonus points.

#47 Posted by ep_driver (432 posts) -

of course this guy can play it, we all know gay guys can dance! what about us straight guys?!
#48 Posted by ethan (776 posts) -

I'm so getting this.  And then I will make my return to nightlife!

#49 Posted by krackofdawn (25 posts) -

Just wait for all the debate once the haters come out from the woodworks with "...well they should just learn how to dance for real, not with plastic" 
 
I cant wait.
#50 Posted by jollywhitegiant (54 posts) -

This game seems like it would be a lot of fun to play with friends. People I know who don't enjoy dancing might even step up and give it a shot if we were all goofing off and laughing at one another.

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