written by Justin Prince (@prince_justin)
Here at last, here at last... thank Glitch all mighty it's here at last! When the XBOX ONE launched late last year, the holiday season was sorely missing something that (to me at least) had become a bit of a staple for post Thanksgiving food hangovers... Dance Central.
I've been an avid Dance Central fan and player since the very first game, in fact the reason I picked up a Kinect in the first place was solely for this game. This game served to satisfy that itch I'd get to go dancing, minus the drunken make-out sessions and SMEDIUM T-shirt wearing d-bags trying to pick up every girl in the club... plus, who really "dances" at "dance-clubs" right? You can't make that work out... anyway. After almost 9 months without a new Dance Central game, the new Kinect is finally getting the game that pushed me to get the original Kinect... say hello to Dance Central: Spotlight.
A little bit different this time around, rather than charging disc price (like previous installments) Dance Central: Spotlight (henceforth referred to as DC:S) has a very different purchase model. Dance Central boasted an on disc sountrack of 32 songs with the more recent interation, Dance Central 3, sporting 46 songs on disc; DC:S comes with 10 songs pre-loaded for the low, low, DLC-like price of $9.99. New songs can be added to your personal library and downloaded separately, with an already impressive collection of songs available on day one.
Speaking to developers at PAX, I also learned that 25 previous DLC tracks called "Legacy DLC" will also be available to download, best part... if you downloaded them before for any previous iteration of DC, these tracks will come gratis... which is awesome because of what I will tell you next!
There is some differences this time around, the most noticeable difference is the four new routines. In previous games you had the same routine with four levels of difficulty... ranging from simple like that scene from Hitch where Will Smith's character tries to teach Kevin James' character how to dance... to full on choreographed Gaga-esque dance numbers. Four new modes and routines are thrown into every song, some are meant to give give you more of a workout like burn, others take dance numbers that are typically more feminine and create a masculine routine for it... because I dunno bout you but I have quite the hard time trying to "dip it low" and "move it all slow." These four new difficulties (now called routines) give the game a brand new fresh feeling that honestly wasn't present between DC2 and DC3.
Unlocking new routines is simple, when you play a routine you collect cards for each move you perform flawlessly, collect enough of these cards to unlock new routines. The concept of the game is exactly the same as previous iterations; you follow the dancer on screen as if you are looking into a mirror, when you perform a move the halo at your dancer's feet will tell you how well you did, if see a leg or arm on your dancer glowing red... it means you need to adjust something on your end. Simple concept and very precise, unlike games like the Just Dance series which stand to promote more of a fun, anyone can jump in, vibe... DC:S is for the more technical dancer.
The new Kinect controls work wonderfully with DC:S, browsing the song list and to selecting what routine to do feel simple and intuitive. Some hiccups here and there, but nothing too major, most I assume will be patched shortly.
My most major complaint has to be the fact that other routines are not unlocked from the start, I can understand if they wanted to keep the four new routines locked, but having the first four which are basically the same routine with varying difficulties locked force me, a DC veteran of three previous games, to play through the boring early difficulties before I can get to anything truly good. I like dancing and DC is one of my favorite series, but I do find myself playing the same song three times in a row just to get to my comfortable pro level. Another complaint is smaller but the fact they don't let you skip the tutorial segment left me with a "WTF" face the entire time...
Dance Central: Spotlight is out now for only $9.99... If you are a DC fan like me, this is an absolute must-buy!
+ Easy to pick-up gameplay
+ Fun routines
+ New play modes
+ Great value
- All basic routines locked from the start
- Can't skip tutorial
- Glitch is dressed like Justin Bieber *hiss*