The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
When Ubisoft released Michael Jackson The Experience last holiday on
Wii (check out our review), it allowed fans of the pop icon to jam out to classic tracks using
the remote-waggling dance mechanic featured in the publisher's money
making franchise Just Dance. With the Kinect version, Ubisoft Montreal
uses the sensor's body and voice tracking capabilities to give users a
more faithful interpretation of the Michael Jackson performance
experience -- and mostly succeeds.
Michael Jackson The Experience
projects a fluid outline of your likeness on a variety of performance
stages designed after each song's respective music video. Players step
along a lit up sidewalk in "Billie Jean" and jam among undead
backup dancers in "Thriller." All of the tracks are available at the
outset, allowing you to sing, dance, or both.
The King of Pop is
music royalty for a reason, as the perfectionist performer flawlessly
sang and danced at the same time. Unfortunately, The Experience on
Kinect doesn't have the same chops. If you choose the option to sing
and dance, the song is broken up into sections that alternate between
movement and vocals. No one's stopping you from singing through the
whole song even when not prompted, but you won't get credit for your
The Kinect version of The Experience has a similar
performance-scoring problem as the Wii counterpart -- it's brutal.
The game rewards exaggerated movements over accuracy, and since the only
visual feedback offered is a few flashes of the words "Perfect" or "Almost", you'll be hard pressed to get five stars. Difficulty is
determined by song, and some arbitrarily chosen tracks require the
player to both sing and dance with no other option, leaving little in
terms of player choice. With the exception of ballads, which wisely
feature only vocals, not accommodating people who just prefer cutting a
rug to belting out a tune or vice versa is a missed opportunity.
flaws hamper the single player, but in co-op The Experience shines.
After selecting a track, up to four players can join in on the
performance. Each player is randomly selected to complete a segment of a
song, and roles of singers and dancers are constantly shaken up so you
never know what to expect. Unfortunately, I can't say the same about
versus mode. Here two teams compete for a high score, but it lacks the
frantic spontaneity that makes co-op so entertaining. Instead you are
forced to listen to the selected song twice, as you and your opponent
perform the same routine one after the other.
As a fan of Michael
Jackson, I can say The Experience on Kinect is fun despite its
shortcomings. Working through each track and learning the routines is a
refreshing reminder of his greatness as a performer. I may never dance
like MJ, but after my time with The Experience, I am much closer to
perfecting the moonwalk.