So, here I am listening to Michael Jackson and remembering my childhood days where I tried to imitate the awesome dance skills of the king of pop but not quite being able to execute them as the man himself. Well, I say remembering but this is actually a daily occurrence for a fan like myself. Thankfully Ubisoft have created a lovely video game that can not only help me brush up on my dance moves but also my 'hee-hees' and my 'hoo-hoos' in the Michael Jackson: The Experience.
Although Michael Jackson: The Experience has been out on the Wii for some time now, Ubisoft have had plans to release it on both the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 since the beginning of it’s development. The Xbox 360 version will make use of the Kinect peripheral while the Playstation 3 makes use of the Move controller. For players who are used to the Wii version, the PS3 is played the same way with the player following the commands on screen and waving the Move controller in time to the song with more points being awarded depending on your timing and movement. The Xbox 360 version however, has had a complete overhaul that features a new technology Ubisoft have dubbed, Player Projection.
Player Projection uses the Kinect to display a mirrored image of the player on-screen that will follow your movements perfectly and allow you to take MJ's place rather than copy his moves. The moves that you are required to perform are shown on screen and come up a few seconds before you must perform them to give you time to prepare. This way of playing feels very natural as you don’t have any controller in your hand and being able to see yourself on screen really makes you feel like the king himself. On both platforms the singing aspect of the game is performed with any standard microphone that is used with other singing games but the Xbox 360 version can also make use of the Kinect’s built in microphone, though Ubisoft suggest using an external microphone.
The game features three different modes of play. The first is the Michael Jackson School, which teaches you the basics of the game, Single Player, that allows you to dance, sing or do both at the same time, and finally there is Multiplayer, which features either co-op or battle style modes for local play. The two platform versions do have a few of their own differences, however the PS3 version allows for up to four players to play at once, either all dancing, all singing or a variety of both. The Xbox 360 multiplayer modes feature allows players to jump in and out of both the co-op and battle modes, also with up to four players. Sadly, the Kinect can only recognise one player at a time but this doesn’t spoil the fun in any way as players switch places quite regularly.
Regardless what mode you play, at the end of a song you will be greeted with an array of pictures that were taken during your performance and given the option to upload these to Facebook and possibly other social sites that have yet to be confirmed. Also a video is played that displays some of your highlights and gives you a good chuckle as you laugh at your friends as they attempt to master the Moonwalk. Ubisoft have also hidden a ton of extras in the options menu, such as facts about the man himself, videos of his performances, photos throughout the years and other fan desired goodies.
At the time of writing this article there are thirty confirmed songs that will be available in the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 versions of the game and newly announced songs included in this thirty were ‘I Just Can’t Stop Loving You’ and ‘Blood on the Dance Floor’. Ubisoft did mention that there will some DLC released shortly after the release of the game which will be available via an in-game store.
Overall, Michael Jackson: The Experience is a fantastic game and although playing it by your self won’t be as fun as having a few friends over and laughing at each other in the multiplayer modes, I definitely think this one will be worth the money. The game is due for release mid-April so look out for Console Monster’s full review in the coming weeks!