Michael Jackson: The Experience Review

Plenty Of Fan Service In An Otherwise Shallow Experience
by Annette Gonzalez on Nov 24, 2010 at 08:30 AM
Reviewed on Wii
Also on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PSP, DS
Publisher Ubisoft
Developer Ubisoft
Rating Everyone 10+

With Michael Jackson The Experience, Ubisoft wants to give fans a chance to learn performance techniques used by The King of Pop. While the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions (available in 2011) will offer a full experience with both singing and dancing that utilizes the entire body, the Wii entry only offers the dance component that feels more like timed arm swinging than an actual performance.

If you've played Ubisoft's other Wii dance offerings in the Just Dance franchise you know what you're getting. Michael Jackson The Experience lacks any sort of career mode, so players can jump right in. As either Jackson or a backup dancer (move sets are slightly different for each) you'll dance through the game's 20-plus tracks from the likes of Bad, Dangerous, Off the Wall, and Thriller. The gameplay basics are simple: Hold on to the Wii remote and follow the stick figures scrolling along the left hand side of the screen that display what move you'll need to perform next. The prompts were confusing at times and the stick figures occasionally stopped appearing, which caused a few missteps on my end.

Getting perfect marks on your moves requires timed movement of the Wii remote, so you can easily get by full-on dancing, or just standing still and moving the remote-equipped arm accordingly. Of course, the latter way is far less fun. To get the most of the experience, just let loose as you play through your favorite songs, something fans will have no problem with. On the downside, the game is brutal with performance scoring, so despite earning many good and perfect marks, I rarely passed the three-star point at the end of my performance (you can get up to five). Earning stars unlocks training videos that look like they were shot in the '80s with live action choreographers teaching some of Jackson's more advanced moves. This is a nice touch for fans interested in brushing up their moves, as the set offered in actual gameplay are fairly simplistic regardless of difficulty. There's only so much you can do with remote waggling.

In regard to the soundtrack, you'll perform zombie-like moves in "Thriller" and attempt a mean lean in "Smooth Criminal", which makes these tracks some of the more entertaining choices. However, you'll also come across ballads like "Earth Song" that are odd selections for the dance-only Wii version. These slower tracks would be best served with a karaoke gameplay mode.

Despite being modeled on one of the best performers of all time, Michael Jackson The Experience on Wii puts on a fairly lackluster show. Still, if you're a die-hard Michael Jackson fan with the Wii as your primary console, you may find something to like here. The rest of us will be left wanting a more well-rounded experience.

Michael Jackson meets Just Dance
Each song's stage is themed around its respective video. The blurry Jackson silhouette can be jarring to watch
Fan-favorite dance tracks like "Bad", "Billie Jean", "Smooth Criminal", "Beat It", and "Thriller"‚ are perfect fits. Ballad selections from Jackson's library are an odd choice for the dance-only game
With the Wii remote as the only source of movement detection, you can get away with cheating, which is not nearly as fun as actually performing the moves
There's only so much you can do when dance detection is focused on one arm's movements
Moderately Low

Products In This Article

Michael Jackson: The Experiencecover

Michael Jackson: The Experience

PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, PSP, DS
Release Date: