Thursday, April 28, 2011

Michael Jackson: The Experience is $60 Fail

I love dancing. I love video games. So when they started making video games based on dancing, it was a pretty big day for me. I have spent many an afternoon inside the Southern Hills Mall arcade playing Dance Dance Revolution like a YouTube cliche. And when Dance Central came out, I went a little crazy. But Michael Jackson: The Experience was, for me, the day the music died.

It should be noted first that this game is a different experience on the Kinect than it is on the Wii or the PS3. So this review/public shaming is directed solely at the edition made for the Xbox360. I am targeting this console because of the application of the Kinect specifically for this game. The developers had some good ideas, but horrible execution.

This is the first game I have played that requires you to dance and sing at the same time. There are several problems with this. First, if I had the physical stamina and lung capacity to dance full out to a heavily choreographed Michael Jackson video while singing the damn thing, I'd be too busy training for the Olympics because I would obviously be a an athlete far superior to most gamers. This skill set is well beyond that of the average consumer.

While I am borderline desperate for games to play with my Kinect, the Jackson game took advantage of almost every capability the equipment has to offer without testing it in multiple environments first. I live in a typical Chicago apartment complete with ancient, squeaky hardwood floors. Between the floors and my breathy jumping, the singing rarely registered correctly on the Kinect's built in mic. And God forbid there should be a siren outside or my phone should start ringing.

So maybe this game is amazing with the Wii or the Playstation move. Perhaps playing with a large group or party would be way more fun and tolerable. But even the classic songs of Michael Jackson couldn't save this game's solo campaign.

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