Michael Jackson: The Experience (Hands-On) (Wii) Preview

By Adam Riley 20.11.2010 8

Review for Michael Jackson: The Experience (Hands-On) on Wii

Just Dance and Just Dance 2 have already proven exactly how popular the dance genre can be on Nintendo Wii, and considering the late King of Pop’s moves and routines are legendary, it should come as no surprise that Ubisoft decided to turn Michael Jackson: The Experience for Wii into a ‘dance with Michael’ style affair. In order to ensure the game proved to be a stronger product than even the Just Dance series, though, the Paris team that worked on those two Wii titles collaborated with Ubisoft Montpellier (the group where Michael Ancel works, whose current projects include Rayman Origins and The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn). Read on for Cubed3’s early impressions of what will no doubt be one of the biggest releases of 2010.

One of the first questions asked when viewing the game in motion, as some hapless folk got dragged towards the large TV set for some awkward first-time dancing action, was ‘How were Michael Jackson’s dance moves recreated in the game?’ Clearly it had to have been one of the most important factors for the development team to get right, especially in a dance game based around the magical talent of the King of Pop, who not only created such classic music, but also performed unforgettable dance manoeuvres. The great news is that rather than some generally well-trained dancers being recorded for the in-game rotoscoping technique employed, two of Jackson’s official backing dancers were enlisted to ensure that everything was captured to the highest possible standard, so that players and fans could really feel the beat and mimic his moves as if in MJ's actual shoes.

In the final game there are 26 songs to choose from, with classics such as Beat It and Billie Jean, through to more obscure tracks like Streetwalker and Sunset Driver, and as players scrolled through the track list on the menu, information about the album and year from which it originated could be seen next to each song to keep inquisitive people in the loop. The basic premise is the same as the Just Dance duo of releases, with players loading up their song of choice only to be greeted by an avatar version of Michael Jackson (and backing dancers on certain songs). As he grooves away on-screen, over the backdrop of environments inspired by his greatest videos and stage performances, the song’s lyrics appear at the bottom for those who wish to flex their vocal talent at the same time (although with no microphone support this is purely for the sake of some extra personal enjoyment), whilst at the side of the screen are a few key features: the current score total, a bar showing performance standards compared to the friends competing alongside you, as well as those all important dance actions that must be mimicked, with the Wii Remote smartly and accurately picking up all your movements.

Screenshot for Michael Jackson: The Experience (Hands-On) on Wii

Instead of causing potential injury by the flapping Nunchuk cord that attaches to the Wii Remote around and resultantly whipping yourself in the face after some quick gestures, Ubisoft Montpellier has ditched the peripheral and opted for pure single-controller motion fun, making sure that the game is even more inclusive than its older brother series. Continuing with the theme of making this as intuitive and easy to grasp for even the most inept dancers in the world, there is ‘Michael’s School Mode’ where rehearsals can be carried out with video training providing the chance to practice any of the moves that have been proving tough to master and then go through the whole choreography process in the hope of turning yourself into an eventual star. Sadly there was no time to try this out at the event, meaning myself and the rest of those who were wet-behind-the-ears were thrown into the deep end and left to randomly wave our arms around in despair. Fortunately, being in groups of four meant less focus was on any individual calamities.

Anyone that enjoyed the Just Dance style of gameplay will feel right at home with Michael Jackson: The Experience, and there is plenty on offer, with the chance to face-off against a friend, or conduct a two-on-two dance battle, plus even share the stage with three others, with some taking on the role of Michael himself or the backing dancers. No doubt playing this alone might grow tiresome, just as is the case with karaoke titles such as We Sing: Robbie Williams, but mix in some friends and a few drinks for good measure, and Michael Jackson: The Experience turns into yet another fantastic Wii party game.

Screenshot for Michael Jackson: The Experience (Hands-On) on Wii

Final Thoughts

Michael Jackson: The Experience is shaping up to be even more fun than the Just Dance duo of releases, and the inclusion of a dance school will definitely be a massive relief for rookie performers wanting to learn the most slick moves around. Unfortunately there is no online option for downloading extra tracks, or the ability to hook up a USB microphone and sing alone, but that will not stop this being a resounding success this Christmas.

Developer

Ubisoft

Publisher

Ubisoft

Genre

Dance

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10 (5 Votes)

European release date Nov 2010   North America release date Nov 2010   Japan release date TBA   Australian release date TBA   

Comments

Jennnifer (guest) 21.11.2010#1

It looks awesome I want it so badly!!!!SmilieSmilieSmilieSmilieSmilieSmilieSmilieSmilieSmilieSmilieSmilieSmilie8)

The full Michael Jackson experience would have to include a Moonwalk. Can you Moonwalk in this?

3DS Code 2578-3122-0744

I'm pretty sure I saw some people attempting to do just that...

There was a massive launch with Pixie Lott in attendance at the end of last week. Shame I wasn't in London for that! Smilie

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

The DS version is basically Elite Beat Agents with MJ music so I'll be sure to buy that one as well.

Sean (guest) 23.11.2010#5

So are you saying this is better than Just Dance 2? The DS version looks very basic compared to this, but as Eden says above, the EBA similarities really can't be ignored.

EdEN said:
The DS version is basically Elite Beat Agents with MJ music so I'll be sure to buy that one as well.

If that's the case, and the presentation is good, I may too.

3DS Code 2578-3122-0744
monique (guest) 26.11.2010#7

wow it's my birthday and i want it so so bad SmilieSmilieSmilieSmilieSmilieSmilieSmilieSmilieSmilieSmilie

Got my copy of the Wii version this evening and loving it so far! Was never really into the whole Just Dance thing, but MJ: TE has sucked me in, definitely. I like the Dance School videos that get unlocked the more you play through the game Smilie

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

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