Dancing with the Stars: The PC Game Review
By Corey Stoneburner |
Now in its sixth season, Dancing with the Stars continues to dazzle audiences with celebrities who can or can't dance. The show pairs up celebrities with real dancers and each week they need to come up with a creative routine to wow judges and audiences. If they do well, they continue on, if not, they go home. It's another game show for people who either really like ballroom or Latin dance, or they just like to see celebrities make a fool out of themselves--kind of like Dancing with the Stars: The PC Game.
The game includes 26 celebrities and professional dancers from the first four seasons of the show. They include Billy Ray Cyrus, Brian Fortuna, Charlotte Jorgensen, Cheryl Burke, Drew Lachey, Edyta Sliwinska, and Emmitt Smith, just to name a few. If you're wondering who half these people are you are not alone. At this point it really doesn't matter who you pick, the characters vaguely resemble their real-life counterparts, and they all have the same body type and are more or less the same height. On the dance floor it really doesn't seem to make much of a difference either because it's so poorly animated you can't tell if they're messing up or it's supposed to be like that.
Talk about the romance of dancing.Once you set up a profile, you can choose easy, intermediate, hard and ultimate difficulty. The only difference between them all is that your choreography will be longer and the mini-games will be harder. Starting from week one, you are given a style of dance to choreograph. The dance floor is all yours. On easy you are given nine moves and on ultimate you are given 12. Before you begin you are given a score that the judges are looking for. You get points as you put together your dance and if you can get a higher score than what the judges are looking for then you're pretty much set. The only thing to watch out for is to not include too many advanced moves in the first few weeks since your celebrity hasn't done any training. Once you click on the dance floor, a menu pops up where you pick your opening move, combine some beginner, intermediate and advanced moves in between, and finish off with a closing. Each move you add to the list will create a pattern on the dance floor. Some moves will limit what you can choose next or depending on your placement you might go off the dance floor. You can reset your path with the reset button but that clears everything you've done. If you made a mistake or decided to choose something different near the end of your routine you have to start over. There is no way to backtrack just one move which was irritating.
By now, the fun part is really over. As exciting (or non-exciting) as that was, the next part is training which will get old really fast. The same three mini-games are played between each week so that you can work on your showmanship, posture and rhythm. If you do well in training, your performance in front of the judges will be better. The rhythm training is similar to Dance Dance Revolution where you watch feet fly up the screen and you hit the corresponding direction with the arrow keys at the right moment. Not only is this unoriginal, the feet will speed up near the top and it doesn't even go with the music that is being played. I could play this game on mute and would have done better. The harder the difficulty setting is, the longer the game and more feet will show up. It is also relatively tricky to get a perfect timing, but there is only perfect, good and miss, so as long as you're close, you don't need to worry. The posture mini-game involves balancing books on the celebrity's head. Using the mouse cursor you follow the books as they lean left and right. There were times when the books would just fall off for no particular reason, or the books look like they're about to fall yet they stay on. The showmanship mini-game is like Simon the memory game. The feet will light up in a certain order and it'll test out your short-term memory. Combinations can go up to nine so it does get tough if you're playing on ultimate. Once each mini-game is over you are given a score an overall score on how you did.
The performance comes next where you and your partner hit the dance floor and pull off the moves that you had choreographed. Like robots, your dancers will execute one move after the other. The camera will also change after each move and it seems like your dancers are placed in a new location each time so there is no concept of continuity. Once in awhile you'll pull off a power move if you go over a random hot spot on the dance floor. This is supposed to add to your final score but most of my scores were either 8 or 9 unless I messed up the training on purpose. At the end the judges will give you their pre-recorded spiel which can repeat each week or they will tell you that this was the best performance all season and you're on week one.
Can't you just feel the magic?After that, rinse and repeat until the bottom ranking dancers get eliminated. Once you are declared the winner, the credits will roll and you're back at the menu screen. If you load up your profile again, you start from week one. Why would anyone want to do it again?
In the main menu there are recoded videos of Karina Smirnoff and Jonathan Roberts doing the various forms of dances including the Tango, Cha Cha, Paso Doble, Waltz, Foxtrot and more. This is probably the most interesting thing included with the game because you get to see real dancers with real costumes actually dance.
It seems that not much effort was put into Dancing with the Stars: The PC Game. There is no reason why the dancers should all look the same and move with the speed and agility of a flagpole. The animation is choppy and most of the time your dancers are either not holding hands when they should or one person's arm went through their partner's chest. There was one dance where my dancers disappeared for a move but came back at the next step. There also seems to be some kind of disconnect between the dancing and the music. It's not very fun to watch at all because a majority of these dance styles are supposed to be full of energy, extremely technical and sexy but none of that comes across when you watch these pixilated mannequins.
There is a wide variety of music to complement the different dance styles, but the same theme music during the load menus will eventually make you want to just leave the game on mute anyway. The judges repeat the same few lines and the announcer doesn't do much except to tell you that a certain couple will not be returning next week. The whole point of these shows is to watch the losers cry or have a fit, but none of this is included. All you're doing is watching your dancers go through the same motions week after week.