The core gameplay in Dance Central 2 is mostly identical to the original Dance Central. Players perform given dance moves, which are tracked by the Kinect. The more accurately the player performs the move, the more points he/she scores. Higher difficulties increase move complexity, and the margin of error is reduced.
Features new to Dance Central 2 include voice control, simultaneous two player gameplay in both cooperative and competitive modes with drop in/drop out functionality, an improved fitness mode, a more in-depth and customizable "Break it Down" mode, allowing the player to practice only specific moves in a routine, and a campaign mode featuring dance crews of various styles.
The 21 characters appearing in the game are listed below along with their crew affiliation. 13 are new to Dance Central 2 while the 5 others return from the original Dance Central; Dare, MacCoy, Oblio and ELIOT do not return in Dance Central 2. The three (except ELIOT) will return in Dance Central 3.
Riptide is the sportiest crew, consisting of Bodie and Emilia. Their venue is a basketball court next to a beach. They are regarded as the most supportive and friendly crew.
Flash4wrd is the sassy African sister-duo crew with their leader. Members are Taye and her little sister, 'Lil T. They dance at a golf course.
Lush Crew is the fancy crew and both members are from the original Dance Central. Miss Aubrey and Angel are the members. Venue is Miss Aubrey's cruise ship.
Hi-Def is the rap/hip hop crew of Mo and Glitch. Takes place at train station and in a train.
The Glitterati are the mysterious and sinister twin crew consisting of Kerith and Jaryn. They are regarded as the toughest crew to defeat.
D-CYPHER is Dr. Tan's evil robot dance crew from inside an airship. The robots are called CYPH-56 CYPH-78.
Icon Crew consists of Marcos and Frenchy, who are seen in song previews in the song menu.
Ninja Crew consists of Ninjas - Kichi and Shinju. Shinju makes a return from Dance Central, with his new partner, Kichi.
The following 44 songs appear on the Dance Central 2 disc. Songs that are in pink are cover versions. Riptide's Songs are in red are the songs in the Crew Challenge. Flash4wrd's Songs in are green are the songs in the Crew Challenge. Lu$h Crew's Songs are in blue are the songs in the Crew Challenge. Hi-Def's Songs are in yellow are the songs in the Crew Challenge. And The Glitterati's Songs are in purple are the songs in the Crew Challenge. All songs that are in light blue are final challenge songs in Crew Challenge led by D-Cypher. All songs are unlocked from the start.
Similar to games in the Rock Band franchise, users are able to import all 32 songs from the original Dance Central disc for 400 Microsoft Points ($4.99 local currency). Additionally, users will need the 16-character code printed either on the back of the Dance Central manual or on a separate insert and at least 250 MB of available storage space.
Downloadable songs from the original Dance Central are forward compatible with Dance Central 2. Downloadable songs released for Dance Central 2 are forward compatible with Dance Central 3; however, support for new downloadable content for Dance Central 2 ended with the launch of Dance Central 3 on October 16, 2012. Songs are available for 240 Microsoft Points ($2.99 local currency) each.
Dance Central 2 was officially announced at E3 2011 during Microsoft's press conference. It was announced on February 2, 2012 that if the community reaches certain milestones, like star count or calories burned, three new crews and two new outfits will be unlocked. As of April 30, 2012, all the crews and outfits have been unlocked. The characters that are in purple are new characters.
Reviews of the game were positive. IGN praising the game's style, added multiplayer, and dances, but mentions how a lot of the dances feel quite feminine, and how there is no shuffle mode. As of May 2012, the game has sold 1.6 million copies worldwide.