Game Review

Michael Jackson: The Experience Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Jon Wahlgren

It's good to be the King

Ubisoft struck gold last year with Just Dance, a light-hearted game that didn't really care about hardcore talent as much as it did good times and booty shakin'. Its runaway success explains the improved sequel, Broadway number and kid-centric titles we've seen only one year into the franchise, so it was really only a matter of time before the artist-specific ones started rolling out.

And, good lord, are they starting at the top of the musical heap with Michael Jackson: The Experience. The late King of Pop is undoubtedly one of the greatest dancers pop music has ever seen, but what could've been a truly stellar video game experience for Jacko fans winds up being merely pretty good on account of not doing enough with the man or his career.

At its core, The Experience is essentially Just Dance 2: all songs are open from the get-go and are played by copying the on-screen dancer's movements as if they were your mirror image. Each of the 26 songs pulled from Off The Wall, Thriller, Bad, Dangerous, HIStory and Blood on the Dance Floor gets its own special game adaptation of the associated music video and iconic dance routines, so there are zombies for "Thriller" and light-up flooring for "Smooth Criminal" all translated into the nifty neon/pastel Just Dance art style. It works about as well as you'd expect – that is to say quite well: Jackson fans will get a real kick out of performing these routines, and the loose scoring system keeps the intimidation factor at bay. The song selection is excellent although perhaps a bit small, and disappointingly there is no downloadable content shop to expand the track list.

There are, however, some notable improvements made to the whole formula. Certain songs allow you to perform the background dancers' routines as well, both solo and with three other rump jigglers. The interface has gotten even tidier and more informative, depicted as coloured swooshes along the sides of the screen with little dots that act as star markers. Additionally, earning stars unlocks instructional videos to teach you how to perform three or so moves from each song, broken down by professional dancers with French accents.

But apart from these little videos, The Experience falls short for a game dedicated to an artist of Jackson's calibre. While it does let you experience the dance routines, which are obviously the most important part of the whole thing and make it all worthwhile for dance and pop fans, it really fails to capitalise on his career or the man himself. Apart from cover art and years for albums and singles on the song selection screen, there is nothing to show for his legacy. Those little instructional videos have snippets of live shows and videos of the man dancing, but there's otherwise a very distinct lack of photos, footage or other extras like biographic information or anecdotes. The Beatles: Rock Band this is not, and that is quite disappointing considering Jackson's musical legacy.

Conclusion

Michael Jackson: The Experience is indeed a good way to dance along to your favourite King of Pop routines, but that's really about it. While there's enough fun to be had with the iconic routines to please fearless fans, there's a disappointing lack of extras to elevate this beyond anything more than a glorified Michael Jackson track pack for Just Dance. It'll rock with you, just don't expect anything more.

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User Comments (31)

JayArr

#12

JayArr said:

It's not a Thriller? You know it's Bad.

Ok, I'm not very Smooth........ crimainal

Caliko

#19

Caliko said:

I already know all his moves and own all his songs. Wish there was more here. They should have had songs from his upcoming album.

R.I.P. King of Pop

Burn

#21

Burn said:

In the new issue of Nintendo Power, this game scored higher in the reviews than Deathly Hallows: Part I. With that reasoning: Michael Jackson > Harry Potter.

DarkEdi

#23

DarkEdi said:

Only 26 songs (without DL) while Just Dance 2 has 44 songs (plus 6 DL)???
I´ll search it used and no pay more of 40 dls for it.

Warioware

#24

Warioware said:

The lighting up floor was from Billie Jean. Smooth Criminal was the white suit in the gangster nightclub.....

OldBoy

#26

OldBoy said:

Be Michael Jackson????.......errrr no thanks.
When's the Gary Glitter edition due?

LittleIrves

#27

LittleIrves said:

Whoa, why all the MJ hate? Maybe it's the girlfriend's enthusiasm, but I'm actually pretty psyched for this. Played Just Dance for the first time yesterday with 4 friends, and as silly as it was, we all had a blast. I don't care how troubled his life was -- the dude's music is transcendent. Too bad the game doesn't explore this more, but I'm tempted by what's on offer, regardless.

Big_A2

#28

Big_A2 said:

All of his post-Thriller songs sound the same. Why no Rolling Stones: Just Dance?

jjbulldog22

#29

jjbulldog22 said:

@Dazza your right about the glove i was gonna post the same thing you did i have the glove i just couldnt copy or past it to anything and heres a story it didn't ome out where i live yet nad my grandma and grandpa bought the last game with the last glove im really lucky though thats my story~bulldog

kiarat2008

#30

kiarat2008 said:

I have a question, i have no sound on my MJ game, but I still have sound with my other wii games...how do i fix this?

ILuvMusic14

#31

ILuvMusic14 said:

I got this game for dsi, DONT get the DS, DSi, or 3DS version for ANY dance game trust me you WILL be bored for very quick,to me i think all those dance are ment for the kinect. I'am planing on buying this game because well I love Mj :]. with L.O.V.E(this is it refrence) i give this game 9/10... oh yeah and stop hatin >:)

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