We loved the original Dance Central, more than most eight-out-of-ten games that float through the office. We loved the visual style, we loved the soundtrack, we loved the full body detection. But we loved it in spite of a couple of technical niggles, most notably the lack of a proper, simultaneous two player mode - a product of pushing to get the game out for the launch of Kinect.
For Dance Central 2 there are no such technical limitations. In fact, the game overcompensates by allowing you to play the entire Crew Challenge 'career' mode in co-op. It also atones for the sins of the father by allowing you to import the songs from Dance Central and play them in two-player mode too. We think Harmonix has more than made up for its omission last time around.
But that's not the only reason Dance Central is a better game than the original. That career mode offers structure that simply wasn't there in the first game and the tantalising reward of unlocking the Gaga-style Glitterati is reason enough to commit the time to it. The actual characters themselves are less insufferable too, refraining from openly slagging you off to your face.
Of course a dance game is nothing without its playlist and Dance Central 2 comes out swinging in that department. There's a perceptible shift towards the more poppy, contemporary end of the spectrum, with the quality control as brilliant as we've come to expect from Harmonix.
There are still classics in there - including the incredible What Is Love by Haddaway - but if you rear back like a startled horse when you hear the name Justin Bieber, you may have to swallow your pride and just get stuck in. You never know, you might even discover you like it.
The variety of moves has been bolstered as well. Even if you mastered all the routines from the first game, you'll find yourself learning a huge number of new, often more complex steps. Careful balancing and an improved Break It Down mode ensure it's not actually more difficult, though, just more sophisticated.
Dance Central 2 is a clear improvement on its already-excellent predecessor and is now absolutely the dance game that Kinect deserves. Those who can't stomach the more narrow selection of musical genres will be upset, but this is still the slickest, sexiest dance game around.
It's a ready-made party in a DVD case
- Technically improved
- Loads of brilliant tunes
- Tons of new moves
- Achingly stylish
- Less variety in the playlist