Kinect Sports Season Two Price: $39.99 (currently on sale) Rating: Recommend* Product: Dance Central 2 Price: $49.99 Rating: Strong Recommend* As we mentioned in our Xbox Holiday Preview post, the sequels to the best-selling Kinect Sports and Dance Central were on our list to review. Being big fans of the originals and having played the demos at events we could hardly wait to get them into the Test Lab. We are happy to report that the gameplay in both is better than ever and that we were pleasantly surprised by how well some new features work...
Both games are a fun time had by all and we give Kinect Sports Season Two a Recommend and Dance Central 2 a Strong Recommend rating. We've created the above chart to show some of the key info about both games at a glance, for a more detailed review of each game, see below. Kinect Sports Season Two: The biggest difference between this title and its predecessor is the sports. In Season Two there are tennis, golf, American football, baseball, skiing, and darts. There are also different levels in which you can play each of these sports as well as different modes. What this is means is that for someone like me who knows next to nothing about American football, I can play as a "Rookie" and with the "Coach's Playbook" to have the game suggest when I should call out exotic things like "Buttonhooks!"
Speaking of calling out, voice command is a very prominent feature in the new game. Surprisingly voice command works really well and the Kinect had zero trouble understanding us. You can use the voice command feature to do things like call out plays in football and change clubs in golf.
The game also has a nice very easy to use and set up Quick Play feature that make playing a game with a group of friends a snap. Most of the standard non Quick Play games are pretty long (around 10-18 minutes) and it's nice to have an option for something shorter when you have friends that all want a chance to play.
Season Two also offers better integration with Xbox Live, now you can issue challenges to friends and family so they can compete with you from their homes at a later date or in a one-on-one showdown. We would be remiss to neglect mentioning the fitness options, the game has an in-game calorie counter that tracks your total calories while playing the game to date, your fitness progress, and how much you're burning during each activity.
For a non-sports gal, my favorites were surprisingly baseball, a sport I do not enjoy playing or watching in real life, and tennis. As someone who also owns a Wii and a variety of sports games for the Wii, the baseball on Kinect is much more engaging with less down time and the skiing is also much more responsive. This game misses out on a Strong Recommend because we did experience a few hiccups during gameplay, the game froze a few times and we lost points as a result. Kinect Sports Season Two is rated E and is currently on sale for $39.99. Dance Central 2: To say that there is a lot to love about this sequel would be a huge understatement, this game is simply fantastic. With over 40 new songs and a huge revamp to gameplay it's a game that is, how do you say it? Full of win.
The big improvement that everyone talks about is the new Dance Battle mode where you can go head to head with a friend. None of this you dance, then I dance, you can now dance alongside your friend. To further help the fun party vibe there is even a minigame where players can drop in and out to score points as sort of a more casual dance battle. The improvement that we love the most that we did not see coming is the playlists. It's awesome being able to select the songs you want and have the game go right from one to another. This is perfect for when you workout with the game as you no longer have the lag in between songs! There are also playlists that are already made for different moods should your party be a bit on the indecisive side. Voice commands also work well in the game and it's nice to be able to tell the Xbox to pause when you really need to catch your breath and grab a glass of water. Even the main menu is voice enabled which makes getting to what you want even easier.
The song selection is even better than the first version and there is something to suit many tastes including those who prefer to kick it old school. If you want to add even more songs to the mix, for a fee you can import the songs from the first version of the game as well as add individual new songs from the song download library. For the hours of fun and smooth gameplay that Dance Central 2 has provided we give it a Strong Recommend. Dance Central 2 is rated T and sells for $49.99 Have you played these new games? Our Ratings: Strong Recommend* Recommend* Weak Recommend Don't Recommend Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes. (Images: Joelle Alcaidinho)