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Dance Evolution 360 Kinect Review

12/11/2010 Family Family Gamer Review
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Dance Evolution 360 Kinect

Dance Evolution

360 Kinect



Further reading:
Dance Dance Revolution
Dance Central
Just Dance 2

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Reporting Gamer (360)

Dance Evolution's club drenched honies and hardcore dancing can't quite hide the lack of finesse demanded by a wider audience.

Konami should know what they are doing with a dancing game, they started the craze after all, back with Dance Dance Revolution. Dance Evolution (Dance Masters elsewhere) continues their focus on the hardcore club scene with impressive visuals and music.

The leggy instructors are a sharp shock from the 360's tubby avatars, but they set the scene for the high impact pump and grind dancing that is to come. It's all very impressive but I was left unsure how well this fits functionally and culturally with Kinect - there is an uneasy synergy between the old and the new here.

To get dancing you step onto the mat area, but of course there is no mat anymore, it's all projected in Kinect's imaginary eye. This layover from the past continues into the dancing where there is more focus on foot placement and timing than in other Kinect dance games like Dance Central.

But more than this shift of technology, it is the sheer difficulty level that seems a little odd next to the other Kinect titles. The dancing itself is frantic and requires a combination of precise poses, hand gestures, foot and body work. It's pretty mind boggling from the start - even on the easier difficulty levels.

My son kept asking "why have they stopped the song", and I could see his point.

If you miss too many moves you deplete your dance meter and the song is halted. Of course this is how Dance Dance Revolution games always used to work. But with the influence of family friendly Just Dance 2 that lets you dance on regardless, it was a big of a shock. My son kept asking "why have they stopped the song", and I could see his point.

Persisting with particular dances and working through the oddly pedestrian tutorial did grant me more progress. As you start to learn the moves by heart you can disengage your brain and let muscle memory take over. I was able to edge towards the medium difficulty on some songs, although this was still a lot of work.

The Kinect controls work well in general - albeit with a little too much use of the hand up gesture. It's great to see yourself on screen while you are dancing - particularly when you are asked to pull off specific poses - as you can quickly see if you are getting the moves right. It's here, along with the ability to dance simultaneously with another person, and the extensive song list that Dance Evolution has the edge over Dance Central.

It's here, along with the ability to dance simultaneously with another person, and the extensive song list that Dance Evolution has the edge over Dance Central.

For all but hardcore dance gamers though the difficulties outweigh the benefits. Where Dance Central applies its Rockband expertise to lead you into the experience, Dance Evolution drops you in the middle of it and expects you to cope. Small things, like not being told which new songs you have unlocked after each dance, start to grate over time.

Dance Evolution may struggle to find an audience. Although I think the UK box art that depicts a club scene from the game has a better chance than the "soccer mum" version that Dance Maters (as it's called there) has in the US. Dance Evolution needs to be clear that it is a game for hardcore dance fans.

Dance Evolution / Dance Masters Song List

"A Geisha's Dream"     Naoki
"Brilliant 2U"         Naoki
"Crazy Control"        D-Crew
"Exotic Ethnic"        Reveng
"Hysteria 2001"        NM
"Into Your Heart"      Ruffage
"Kimono Princess"      Jun
"La Receta"            Carlos Garcia
"Night of Fire"        Niko
"Unity"                The Remembers

+20 more

Written by Andy Robertson

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Andy Robertson writes the Family Gamer column.

"Videogame reviews for the whole family, not just the kids. I dig out videogame experiences to intrigue and interest grownups and children. This is post-hardcore gaming where accessibility, emotion and storytelling are as important as realism, explosions and bravado."

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