David Klein On April 27, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Michael Jackson in a video game might seem like an odd marriage at first, though he’s no stranger to this world. Anybody who’s owned a Sega Genesis has probably heard of Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker, which was this weird beat’em up game that where it was your job as Michael Jackson to go through levels beating up baddies and look for children to rescue. Keep in mind that this was before the whole controversy that was a major shadow near the end of his career. The point being is this isn’t the first time that Michael Jackson has been showcased within a game and this time around theme for the game at least makes a bit more sense. Michael Jackson: The Experience is a pretty accurate for what the game is about, you use the Kinect to make you feel like the man having you do the dance moves and singing his songs. Now the question is does the game make you feel like a star or a two-bit Michael Jackson wannabe.

The two things Michael Jackson is most famous for is his singing and his dancing; that’s the two things that the game concentrates to try and give you the illusion that you’re the musical legend that is MJ. You’re represented by an avatar taken from the Kinect camera of yourself, it puts you in the game though in my case I ended up with the top of my head cut off so it’s not 100% accurate but it’s not too bad either. The menus are navigated by having your avatar stretch out your arms and pick the menu options. I felt like the menus were clunky to navigate, where if you’re not at the right distance or looking the right direction it might have trouble picking up what you’re trying to do. The levels themselves are pretty to take in where they created environments for each song, though the quality varied where the more famous songs had the most effort put towards them and the more obscure ones merely has the name and a little background art. Thriller especially has the most detail put into it where while it’s not as exciting as watching the music video for the song, which is breathtaking, its still darn nice. You’re taught what to do either by looking at the rough picture of what dance move to do like in Dance Central or look at the dancing backup singer next to your avatar and seeing what they’re doing. The backup singers all look like pretty low quality but they get across the dance moves well enough.

The game has thirty tracks in all though some those tracks are more playable than others. I don’t mean the music is bad by that, Michael Jackson’s most famous songs are all found within the game and they’re all exceptional music. They’re excellently transferred into the game and joy to listen to; Michael Jackson is a pop icon after all. The game has 4 modes you can select for any individual song though not every mode is available for every song except Practice. The game has Vocal Performance, Dance, Performance and Master Performance to choose from where in Vocal Performance you just sing karaoke to song, in Dance you’re only asked to simply dance and in Performance and Master Performance it’s a combination of both though in Master your dance tracking is far more accurate than a normal Performance mode. Now this last part is one of the problems with the game. The dancing in the regular Performance isn’t all that accurate, I felt like when I was playing the game it sort of understood what I was doing but it only seemed to get a lot more precise when I was playing within Master Performance which isn’t available in most of the songs. While Master Performance felt closer to if I were dancing in Dance Central where the accuracy is really solid and where you actually have to do a lot of practicing for the game to tell you’ve got the move down.

While the Performance mode’s dancing is lacking, it’s nothing compared to the shortcomings of the Vocal portions of the game. During select parts of Performance modes and throughout the Vocal mode you have the lyrics appears on the screen for you to sing. The karaoke mode is lazy and light-years behind the same mode in just about any other game. The game just checks if there’s something being said on the right queue not checking the pitch of what you’re saying like any other game with karaoke. In fact I’ve gotten a lot of sequences perfect by having the Kinect microphone pick up the speakers on the TV and it registered with the game, where other games would mute the lyrics, they chose to not to with the game because of what I only see as laziness. The vocal portions thus were annoying to play through and made the Performance modes less worthwhile when you also had to deal with this half-baked mode. There was at least one song that only had Vocal mode and made that song quite worthless towards the song count.

Michael Jackson: The Experience is quite a mixed experience where some of the time it’s kind of fun and others where it’s quite a bore. Ubisoft seems to have tried to copy the success of games like Rock Band, Singstar and Dance Central and only made a passable copy of the game. In fact it’s been copied right down to having multipliers and star power to try and make it as similar as possible to the competition. The only unique factor is this is just about the only game you’ll find the music of Michael Jackson. If a flaky experience doesn’t turn you away and you have rabid fandom of Michael Jackson then this might be worth your time.


The Vocal Portions and the Dancing is okay, nothing here but run of the mill.


It’s a little inconsistent with the level design though in the whole it’s nothing special.


It’s Michael Jackson, and he’s a pop icon for a reason.


Overall if you really want to dance to Michael Jackson music here’s your chance, otherwise Dance Central is a better bet.

Buy Michael Jackson The Experience online for Xbox 360 from EBGames.com

Click here to buy Michael Jackson The Experience new or used online for the Xbox 360 for a great price form EBGames.com


Comments are closed.