Michael Jackson is no stranger to the world of videogames, having been featured in a number of his own titles and even reportedly being involved in composing the music for Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog 3. Known as a gamer and a fan of using technology to deliver new entertainment experiences, it’s shocking that it has taken the late King of Pop this long to get his own music game.
Michael Jackson: The Experience (Wii)
Gameplay wise, Michael Jackson: The Experience mirrors the Just Dance formula to the letter. This isn’t surprising considering the title was developed in collaboration with Ubisoft’s team in Paris, the same responsible for the blockbuster Wii dance titles. While this isn’t entirely a bad thing -- Just Dance manages to be a fun game in its own right, I suppose -- this title simply doesn’t go far enough in building on Jackson’s identity and career to make it truly stand on its own.
Ubisoft stuffed a glove into the game box, but limits usage. Great for gardening.
Gameplay involves holding a single Wii Remote and matching the on-screen movements of stylized, on-screen dancers, including a faux Michael himself. Depending on the performance, either Michael or his back-up dancers’ choreography can be selected, each with their own set of moves. The difficulty of the dances is non-negotiable, too -- it is what it is, with no difficulty options given to the player. Because of this, if you want to get your “Thriller” on, limber up and bring your pro dance skills, because your options are “Inhuman” (for Michael) and “Hard” (for back-up dancers).
The game also doesn’t feature any sort of practice mode that allows you to slow down and learn the movements, either, so it’s always a trial-by-fire experience. Earning stars on songs will unlock non-interactive movies in the game’s “Dance School,” but most players will find these short vignettes completely useless. Professional dancer will run you through portions of a routine, but they go through the motions so briskly that you’d do just as well mimicking Jackson’s moves on your own.
While trying to dance along to these familiar routines is actually a good time (even if you’re not doing well, and particularly as a Jackson fan), the game’s scoring system and what it’s actually tracking is nebulous at best. The title’s reliance on the Wii Remote turns out to be a frustrating limitation, especially in the wake of full-body-experience dance games like Dance Central for Kinect. Because Michael Jackson: The Experience simply appears to track Wii Remote position, some of the finer moves in Jackson’s repertoire are just there for show. It’s likely you’ll do your best to match entire body movements (what fun is it otherwise?), but it’s debatable if the game itself is concerned with you expending that additional energy.
THE VERDICT - Michael Jackson: The Experience
Reviewed by Nick Chester
|6:45 PM on 02.15.2012|
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