If you're partial to busting a move or even throwing some shapes if the occasion calls for it, then you've got quite a selection of dance games for various consoles that will do the job just fine. If you want the job done correctly and in a superior way to pretty much any other game however, your best bet is the Dance Central series, and Dance Central 3 certainly marks the aforementioned occasion that calls for you to break out your best dancing gear and “bust a move”. Though you could once mark your calendar in around about the autumn time to denote the yearly release of a Dance Central game, Dance Central 3 marks the latest release that shimmied onto the dance floor of our consoles in 2012. Since there hasn't been a release since this title, Dance Central 3 as usual represents the gold standard in dance games for everyone else to follow, and most certainly stands atop the series as the best iteration of the music and dance-driven action yet.
It seems a shame that Dance Central 3 doesn't look to be getting a sequel when other dance series are getting a 2014 version such as Just Dance 2014, but it's definitely worth appreciating what he have of the series. The game works pretty much as you would expect one from this genre to work no matter whether you're experienced with it or not: basically, lots of dancing happens. More specifically, this dancing takes place with the backing and support of routines that are professionally choreographed. You simply follow the on-screen prompts and mimic them in your living room where your movements are picked up by the incredible Kinect technology that puts the Xbox 360 ahead of the game when it comes to the dance genre. Much like in rhythm-based music games in the vein of Guitar Hero where your guitar tapping is judged, Dance Central 3 also judges the moves that you have performed and ranks them according to their accuracy and likeness to the on-screen instructions.
The game's variety of modes hasn't changed a great deal since Dance Central 2, though this is really true of the entire series, which remains steady and unchanging on the whole, probably because of the whole “if it isn't broken, don't try to fix it' mentality. And this is true to an extent: the series is successful and the formula does work. There is a new multiplayer mode called ‘Crew Throwdown' which brings a fresh injection of features into the mix however, and it involves playing against other players in a series of mini-game scenarios that seem to embody pretty much everything Dance Central 3 has to offer. You can also rely on the sturdy presence of Party Mode, which keeps the songs flowing in a seamless manner until your party or occasion that you are hosting finishes. The fact that you can initiate a two-player dancing session by hi-fiving your friend and essentially ‘tagging them in' is a thing of marvel all of itself.
But games like this - all other features aside - really depend on their track lists to keep the entertainment coming. Bad music equals a disinterested fan base and niche games like The Black Eyed Peas Experience can be too specific in their scope. Also, people won't want to dance to shoddy, poorly-chosen songs, so it's a good job that the roster is as impressive as ever. In fact, you've got songs that represent the best bits of five whole decades of music, though it is of course restricted to pop music and doesn't do justice to any genres that fall outside of this bracket. Expect tracks from Village People's YMCA to modern hits that you can be the judge of such as Bieber's Boyfriend, Daft Punk's Around the World, and Afrojack's Take Over Control. It would have been nice to see some more disco classics and some funkier tracks like the perfect-to-dance-to Superstition by Stevie Wonder, but the track list is comprehensive enough to please most.
And that's what Dance Central 3 is really all about: pleasing the most people with the widest variety of tracks it can. The story mode also delivers equal quantities of entertainment and ridiculousness, with the premise that you represent an agency of law enforcement that can time travel in order to dance away the crime in various decades/musical eras. Though it is exactly as corny as it sounds, it is also aware of this and is constantly self-referential in its approach to ensure that it remains enjoyable whilst actually providing quite a good justification for the jump between different styles of music. The graphics are as always vibrant and the on-screen characters' movements flow extremely well, a feat that rhythm game series Guitar Hero and the highly disappointing Michael Jackson Experience game have never managed to pull off.
Though Dance Central 3 isn't as much of a new game as it is an expanded version of its predecessor, it still remains consistently entertaining and offers just enough variety to keep fans pleased for another year or so.