Monday, March 4, 2013

Michael Jackson: The Experience

I've been trying to think up the best way to review this game for several months now, but I figured I might as well just dive in.

Michael Jackson: The Experience is a spinoff of the Just Dance series using the Just Dance engine or whatever they all it that was released for Wii, PSP, DS, 3DS, Vita, PS3, Mac OSX, iPad 2 and Xbox 360 over the course of three years starting in 2010 and ending TBA this year. I only played the Wii version since that's the only one my library had and on top of that I don't own the necessary hardware to play any of the other home console versions.
The very first warning sign is the fact that it says:"The dance game the world is waiting for" on the front
We'll see if it lives up to its own hype.
The back of the box says:"Step into the King of Pop's videos and learn all his moves"
Okay, that's not true. The gameplay consists entirely of somewhat less than the length of each song, instead of remaking the entire music video into a game section. Unfortunately I only had a few days with the game because I got bored fast. The Wii version has tutorials that require you to achieve a certain ranking or something to unlock all of them, but you need the tutorials to know what to do so you can get the highest ranking. Back to the gameplay, Ubisoft attempted (Quite poorly) to compress the legendary music-videos that Michael Jackson was famous for into gameplay sessions that are a few seconds shorter than the actual songs, and back to that quote I mentioned from the box you don't learn all his moves, most of the iconic moves have been over-used, like in Bad. Bad winds up re-using a lot of things and becomes extremely repetitive, especially towards the end. They've even inserted moves that are either bad shadows of the ones from the actual videos or had never been used in the video period. With Smooth Criminal there's a section where they require you to lean like MJ did in Moonwalker, but that requires specially made shoes and a floor with hooked pegs protruding from it. Ubisoft even cut one of the moves out of the Bad instance and inserted it into Smooth Criminal, which leaves me wondering whether or not they actually watched the videos or just intended to make it as unlike the actual videos as possible. Then there's "They don't care about us", which had two different videos and therefore should have two different sections dedicated to it, but no! Theyjust adapted the prison sequence and inserted a move that requires you to tap your left shoulder in time with the drumbeats. It's not impossible, but it wasn't in the video and therefore shouldn't be in this game. Beat It involves mostly repeating the ending sequence of the Beat It video with a few moves that make absolutely no sense thrown in. All in all, it doesn't do a good job of adapting the videos into gameplay sessions, and feels kind of rushed. I've only ever played Just Dance 3 to compare it to, but if Ubisoft did the same thing with the rest of the Just Dance series they did for this, then most of the gameplay is nothing like the actual videos.
Now, since there it such thing as "WiiSpeak", Wii USB mics, and Wii headsets you'd think that Ubisoft would let you sing as well, but there's no voice function. CNET gave this game a 5/5 whereas most of rest of the critics cited on Wikipedia said that it wasn't perfect, and I'm inclined to agree, the controls are broken, something that could easily be glossed over by the Wii Motion +, but wasn't, sometimes the difficulty is stupid because it doesn't actually tell you what to do to prepare beforehand since the tutorials aren't all unlocked at the start, then of course there's the fact that not all the versions have the same songs. Some of the songs are DLC and therefore not included by default even on the consoles that DID get them (Which is absurd, not like they couldn't have packed them all onto the discs or cartridges) Then there's the fact that several songs (This is it, Hold My Hand, Jam, and You Rock my World) are 3DS, Vita, and iOS exclusive. This just comes down to Ubisoft wanting to wring out as much money as possible from everyone they could, and I'm glad I didn't pay for this game. Ironically, they included the song "Money" on the Wii, PS3, and Xbox 360 versions of the game. This game is essentially just a cash-in by Ubisoft to capitalize on Michael's surge in popularity following his death, and doesn't offer much in terms of gameplay or interface, which by the way is terrible to navigate. Most of the required gameplay involves you following the onscreen mirror image's movements only when the bar on the left tells you to, but if you want to get anything out of this game I suggest that you try and follow the avatars 1:1, that'll at least give you exercise.
Summing it all up I'm gonna rate this game a 5.2*, I didn't enjoy myself as much as I did playing Skyward Sword or even Just Dance 3, I'd like to change quite a few things that happened in the development of this game so that it matches the videos a bit more. I know that you can't have the player run all the way across a subway station in Bad, but this was dumbed down beyond belief.