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E3 '11: Hands Off: Grease

kinectgrease.jpg

After releasing Grease games onto the DS and Wii last year, 505 Games has set their sights on the Kinect for Xbox 360. I liked the Elite Beat Agents-style of gameplay on the DS game, but if you read my review, you know I was somewhat underwhelmed when I played the whole thing. And my initial excitement about singing and dancing with the Wii version was tempered by the fact that the dancing was just waving the Wiimote around, Just Dance-style. So you can understand why I was a little wary to give the Kinect game a try. I shouldn't have worried.

As you might expect from a Kinect dancing game, it works like Dance Central, with the upcoming moves scrolling up the side of the screen so you can anticipate what's next. The graphics are still in the cartoony style so as to avoid likeness, but the songs are straight from the movie. And in an interesting twist, I found myself dancing to an uncensored version of "Greased Lightning." I was told that the games rating is still pending, and they're debating whether to censor the handful of naughty words to get another E-10 rating, or to go ahead and leave them intact and accept a T. Personally, I'm hoping for the latter, because changing lyrics or just "whiting-out" words is always distracting in music games.

The gameplay was a whole lot of fun. I danced two-player alongside a 505 Games employee, and we ended up doing something I haven't seen the two-player mode in Dance Central 2 do yet, which was that we occasionally crossed in front of each other to trade sides briefly as part of the choreography. It was unexpected, but fun. Even better, though, was the fact that some of the classic moves you remember from the film have been incorporated into the dances! When the chorus hit and you do the pointing and fist pumping just like John Travolta and Jeff Conaway did in the movie, I admit I got a little thrill. I couldn't help it.

Grease will feature all the songs from the movie as well as around 15 or so additional tunes from the era, and will have both singing and dancing modes (although not doing both at the same time, because come on — we don't want anyone to hurt themselves!). And while a release date has not yet been determined, I was told we should look for it later this year. And I will be, because I had a blast with the one song I did play, and this one looks to be the Grease game I've been waiting for! (Oh, there's also a PlayStation Move version, but it can't be as much fun waving a controller around!)

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