E3 Editor’s Choice: “Dance Central”

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E3 Editor’s Choice: “Dance Central”

Dance Central

Everyone knows my love for Harmonix. It’s not really a secret. You can click on my “GamerGal” tag up there and see countless articles on “Rock Band” and my fanaticism for each and every installment. Harmonix developers are revolutionaries. With each and every game release, Harmonix tries to change how gamers interact with music. “Rock Band” brought together four people to create a band and play together on instrument replicas. “Rock Band 3” will finally bridge the gap between gamers and professional musicians. But, I have to be honest, when I heard that they were going to be working on a dance game; I was a little skeptical.

Boy, I shouldn’t have been…

“Dance Central” uses Microsoft’s newly unveiled “Kinect” and definitely showcases what it is truly capable of. Harmonix is all about gamers finding new ways to connect with music. They didn’t see the need for controllers or other crazy devices. Instead, they embraced the idea of using your body as the controller. They managed to come up with a truly unique game that as you progress through the game, you’ll be able to do really complicated dance moves that actually look like a professionally choreographed dance routine. In fact, there’s about 600 moves you can learn while playing the game! And, so far, the announced artists that will be included are a vast mix of pop, hip-hop and R&B artists.

As soon as I saw the dancers hit the E3 Harmonix stage, I couldn’t help but ask if I could try it out. And boy was it a workout! I was even dancing on ‘Easy’! But even on ‘Easy’, the game expects your full commitment to the moves. There was no half-assed moves to be had here. The player is expected to dance along with the AI on the screen. So, if you’re thinking that you just need to move only your hands or legs around while following some arrowed cues, you’ll be sadly mistaken. “Dance Central” is similar to following a dance choreographer in a gym class or like those segements of “So You Think You Can Dance”, where you see the contestants talking about their practice for the upcoming week. While words can’t really describe the experience fully but you have to understand that it’s really fun to play, even on ‘Easy’.

What I do wish Harmonix would add to the game before it’s release is a little verbal feedback whenever you’re about to switch through moves. I found that extremely helpful from the professional dancers who were dancing with me on stage. Both dancers were yelling out the upcoming moves whenever we were about to switch between moves. It was handy to have that verbal feedback as I was playing because, to be honest, I thought I was learning a real dance routine. After a few minutes, I forgot I was playing a game but reality set in as I was walking off the stage and one of the dancers called out to me: “Hey, girl! Don’t you wanna know how you did?” We were both amazed I got four stars! But man, was I sore afterwards. This can only tell you how out of shape I am. 🙂

I’m looking forward to “Dance Central” and “Kinect” this fall, as well as the slimmer gal I will be come the new year!

© 2010 Harmonix Music Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. Dance Central and all related titles and logos are trademarks of Harmonix Music Systems, Inc., a MTV Networks company. Dance Central developed by Harmonix Music Systems, Inc. MTV: Music Television, MTV Games and all related titles and logos are trademarks of MTV Networks, a division of Viacom International Inc. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.