When the player finished DC2’s story mode and danced to every song on the disc, there wasn’t much to do beyond trying to 5-star every song on higher difficulties. DC3 pushes that 5-star focus largely aside in favor of a new metagame. Completing songs now earns experience towards leveling up. You get bonuses for doing well, turning on Fitness mode (which really should be on by default), completing score challenges, playing DLC songs, and more. Leveling up provides rewards like new dancers, outfits, and venues. I love the new system because every time you play you’re making progress, no matter what mode you choose.
New multiplayer modes round out the package. Party Time starts with a screen that shuffles through all available songs (or a custom playlist). When a choice song comes up, one or two players can step up and choose to play it. The game randomly chooses a game type for them to play, but the type can be changed by swiping with your left hand (it seems that a controller can’t change the type). The idea is to keep the dance party going without having to navigate so many menus and scroll through songs.
Most of the new game types are competitive in nature. Crew Throwdown is like a dance Battle except it pits two teams of up to four players each against each other, battling for high scores two dancers at a time. Both Battles and Crew Throwdowns are a lot of fun. The other new types, Keep the Beat and Make Your Own Move will require some patience and learning. So far I haven’t spent much time with them, but I may try them again down the line.
Dance Central 3 ships with 46 songs. Past games only had a few older songs, but you’ll find those in abundance in this entry. I could live without hearing a disco song ever again, but I guess someone out there who enjoys disco might still be alive and able to dance. Still, the eighties and nineties stuff is most welcome, especially Vanilla Ice’s ‘Ice Ice Baby.’ It makes me wish for ‘Ninja Rap’ as DLC in the worst way. Similarly, Harmonix really needs to offer ‘Gangnam Style’ for purchase while we all still have K-pop fever. Speaking of downloading songs, the "New song available!" voice that nags players with every visit to the main menu needs to go. On the plus side, the first two games’ songs can be exported to 3 for 400 MS Points each, giving series fans a vast library of songs to play.
Dance Central 3 proves to be just about everything you could want in a dancing game. The new Story and Party Time modes, leveling system, and Beginner difficulty make an already great game even better. Some might feel that those improvements aren’t enough to justify another sequel. Even then, how can you turn down 46 more songs for the game’s $49.99 price? The longevity of a music game comes from having new songs to play, and Dance Central 3 fulfills that function excellently. Buy it, export the old games’ songs, and your dance parties will easily stay fresh for another year.
Editor's Note: The publisher provided a copy for review.
The Co-Op Experience: Dance Central 3, like Dance Central 2, supports local 2-player co-op in Story Mode and when selecting individual songs. Each person can play on their own difficulty and both players' performance contributes to the overall score.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.