Plucking up the courage to hit the dance floor can be difficult, but Dance Central 2 does an excellent job of getting you moving and shaking to some great tunes. Its multiple difficulty levels and in-depth tutorials make things accessible for newcomers, while expertly choreographed routines and some frighteningly technical moves mean even pros can be challenged. Dance Central 2 introduces simultaneous two-player competitions, letting you compete against a friend in exciting dance battles that are all accurately tracked by the Kinect. Even if you don't bring a friend along, the new Crew Challenge career--complete with its wacky storyline--and sweat-inducing fitness playlists are excellent and keep you engrossed. Whether you're an experienced dancer, a Friday night rocker, or someone with two left feet, Dance Central 2 will delight you with a slick, well-presented dancing experience that no Kinect owner should be without.
6341301Loose hips make for high scores in Dance Central 2.
Part of Dance Central 2's fun is how easy it is to jump straight into a dance; you pick a song and mirror the actions of a dancer onscreen. Cue cards scroll along the right-hand side to show you upcoming moves, while the dancer's limbs light up red when there's a move you're not performing correctly. The deluge of information is a little overwhelming at first--particularly when combined with the flashy visual and lighting effects that surround the dancers--but it becomes second nature after just a few routines. Points are awarded for moves you perform correctly, which are totalled up to give you a grade on a five-star scale. The Kinect does an admirable job of tracking your movements so if you want to rack up some points, then you've got to put some real effort behind your dancing. Even if you perform poorly, it's impossible to fail out of song, but there are incentives for doing well.
Global leaderboards let you compare your score against others on Xbox Live, sorted by your chosen difficulty level. Scores from people on your friends list also appear within menus, enticing you to better them. The new Crew Challenge career mode takes things further and even includes a narrative to follow--albeit a rather silly one. You play as an up-and-coming dancer who is eager to earn the respect of various crews that are headed up by impossibly stylish, perfectly toned, and talented dancers. Though the avatars that represent the dancers are a little too perfect--the blond locks and incessant grin of surfer Bodie being the most grating--they fit within the flashy style of the game. You earn the respect of a crew by performing a dance with it. If you earn enough stars, you can take on a locked track, which unlocks other crews for you to dance with, as well as new outfits. Crew Challenge is a lot of fun, and the silly--if shallow--storyline about taking down a mysterious megalomaniac dancer encourages you to keep grooving.
You can ramp up the fun even more by getting a friend involved, with both Crew Challenge and the regular Dance mode supporting simultaneous two-player dancing for the first time. Your friends could always dance along with you in Dance Central, but actually receiving a score for doing so makes getting them involved a lot more compelling. A second player can jump into a song at any time, with the Kinect automatically recognizing him or her and letting you compete for the high score. If you want to get even more competitive, you can challenge a friend to a dance battle, where you perform in solo "spotlight" sections and in a Free-4-All minigame. During Free-4-All, various moves appear onscreen, which you and the opposing player try to perform. The first to do so correctly wins bonus points, as well as the satisfaction of outdancing your opponent.
Dance Battles are all about the smack talk.