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Published on April 14th, 2011 | by Kyle Spencer, Editor

Michael Jackson: The Experience Kinect Review

Platform: Wii, DS, PSP, Playstation 3, Xbox 360
Developer: Ubisoft
MSRP: U.S. 49.99

Move over Dance Central because the “King of Pop” is here to take over the dancing on Kinect. A lot of people may argue that the sudden rise of dance related software making their way to the new motion based peripherals is a nuance in and of itself, but it is hard to deny the impact of a few standouts, Dance Central being on of them. With the growing popularity of the genre, it only seems fitting that Michael would find a unique way to hit the home consoles. Thus we are given “The Experience”.

If your asking which is the best version of the game to get, having played all three (DS and PSP aside), the Kinect is the way to go. You do not feel restricted in movements and your body is fully registered with the Kinect technology. With the Wii and Playstation 3 versions, your moves are scored on wand movement and position. With Kinect you are free to let yourself go.

The game is down right fun to play. If you thought that games like Dance Central is a fun, ultimate party game, it’s time to give MJ a try. Fans of the King will be taken back to the journey of his career from the “Bad” video, “Thriller” performance, and the  re-interpretation of the “Smooth Criminal” video.

( I wish I could pull that off )

Each song has different ways to perform them. Some songs, such as “Earth Song” is a straight singing balled (yes there is Karaoke in this as well). Many others will offer dancing, singing or “Performance”, which is a combination of singing and dancing his songs. Try this on the “Black and White” song, I dare you. Trying to achieve a five star rating on any of the Jackson songs is a task in and of itself, but that’s the beauty of this game.

Each song and performance has their own unique set pieces. They are accompanied by dancers that fit the song and or music video, for example you will join the dance crew that is dressed up in different ethnic clothes,  just as it was seen in the “Black and White” music video. The game does a good job of immersing the player into the world that was Michael Jackson. Fireworks, explosions, and chanting fans while performing-are all captured and throw you as the performer into Michael’s shoes. This is the immersion that makes this game special. Each song you play has a different feel to it. Obviously the mood and dance routines change song-by-song, but the detail given to the sets are amazing.

The game is difficult to perfect, unless your a dance fanatic. Each of the songs are given a difficulty rating in each of the songs game modes. The performance, Dance and Vocals all have their own individual difficulty, although I would highly recommend to practice the songs at least once. The practice sessions are a great way to learn the steps that the songs will require you to perform. You can break the songs down by intro, choruses, verse, and outros. The best idea implemented into the practice session is that you are left to learn the steps in your own unique way. You are shown what it looks like, and you mimic that motion without hearing some annoying DJ in the background saying “One more time”, or “That was Awesome”. You can replay any section of the song at any time during the session to perfect the moves.

With all the good that “The Experience” has to offer, there are some negatives that can found with it. For starters, the menu system does not register very well and can become annoying at times. I found myself plenty of times scrolling past songs that I was trying to play and having trouble selecting the right song because the track list kept moving. There was also no online leaderboard implemented where other games in the genre executed that option very well. It would have been nice to compare my scores with others on my friends list since I have become better at performing “Smooth Criminal”.

The dancers that you have to mimic in the game are a bit troubling to look at as well. The dancers are replications of one model that appear to be copied and pasted. For example dancing to “Smooth Criminal,” you will follow the lead of two other dancers that are the exact same person performing the moves together. Your silhouette is a blurry blue figure that looks like a ghost dancing in the center of the frame. Sure the figure is there and is easy to make out arms, legs and a head but that is all. Your silhouette looks like a one man, “blue man” show.

The track listing is unfortunately slim. The classics are there from “Thriller”, “Billy Jean”, and “Beat It” but there are a couple songs that would have been excellent additions that never made their appearance. I suppose they are saving some of them for DLC in the future, but please give us “Scream”.

The Final Truth:

Michael Jackson: The Experience is every Michael Jackson fan’s-dream come true. This is a pure party game at heart and will certainly be the topic of conversation after you host the annual Christmas party. This takes some of the best features of Dance Central and adds it’s own unique flavor. The effects and graphics are stunning and immerse you into the world of Michael Jackson. There are some features that were missing, however, for those die hard Michael fans they will be overlooked. This is a party game at heart and can be a work out as well. (as you can see in my video above).

[xrr label=”Rating: 8.0/10″ rating=8.0/10]

+ Great visuals.
+ Great Soundtrack (It’s Michael!)
+ Moves Register very well.
+ Excellent Practice Mode
No Online Leaderboard.
Horrible Menu controls.

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About the Author

I have been a video game enthusiast for many many years, and have been in the industry for the last 10 years. I love what I do and I love, well VIDEO GAMES! I have a degree in computer programming and currently working on a arcade/indie title.

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