Arguably, no launch title made better use of Microsoft's Kinect technology than Dance Central. It was a complete game that stood on its own two feet, while gamers shuffled and jived around on theirs. The motion detection was ultra-accurate, and the moves were easy enough to learn so even the most slack-footed couch potatoes could be thrilling their mates like Justin Timberlake without too much practice.
Dance Central 2 cuts in and steals the moves away from its predecessor by allowing two players to groove simultaneously, meaning you and your mates can have dance-offs against each other, or team up to form your own little crew. Still no sign of online multiplayer though, which seems like an opportunity lost.
I'm no dancer, but the choreography feels tight, and more or less professional. Yes, you can feel like a complete idiot when you play but it's more down to being the centre of attention in a room reverberating with giggles than it is about the techniques. Still, you get the impression that DC2 works harder to make players feel more like real dancers than Guitar Hero or DJ Hero ever did for their wannabes. Maybe more like real female dancers, though. There are a distinct lack of masculine moves in the DC2 arsenal, and more hip-shaking than some fellows might be used to, but that's what makes a great party game: encouraging people to step outside their comfort zones in the name of fun.
The song selection is fairly uninspired compared to DC1's long list of hits - no matter how good the game is, few would want to dance along to Justin Bieber - but if you're willing to spend a little, then the tracks from the original can be imported for play.
Though this is a game meant for parties, DC2 offers good value for solo players. The improved "Break It Down" mode is a challenging dance tutorial that sets you up with the skills for competitive play, and the pulse-quickening fitness mode threatens to out-Zumba that other global craze.
Dance Central 2 is boosted by a great local multiplayer experience, but it is unfortunately harmed by the lack of an online competition which might draw even more dancers on to the living room floor. Regardless, it stands up as the best Kinect game on the market right now. Shed your inhibitions and bust a move.
Platform: Xbox 360