Review of Michael Jackson: The Experience for the Wii
Back in November 2010, Ubisoft released a game called Michael Jackson The Experience for the Wii. I bought my copy back then, but since I’ve been so engrossed in my EA Sports Active-ing, I let this one kind of sit on the shelf. Since then, it’s gotten an impressive 457 (and counting) reviews on Amazon. And unlike with previous Ubisoft games like Your Shape, where Ubisoft shills left laughably obvious fake glowing reviews for that disaster of a game, this time most of the reviews actually seem legitimate. Hopefully Ubisoft is finally getting the message that it’s a lot more efficient to actually give people good quality stuff rather than fooling them into buying junk.
Whatever you think of Michael Jackson’s life and death and the tabloid nonsense that surrounded him all his life, one thing was very clear. The man had a lot of talent, from his childhood to his last days on earth. And his impact on music and the music business was tremendous.
The simplest way to describe Michael Jackson The Experience is that it’s like Just Dance 2, but made up completely of Michael Jackson’s songs. When I heard that Ubisoft was coming out with this game, I rolled my eyes. Was this another attempt at just taking the wildly successful Just Dance series and beating it into the ground by flooding the market with imitation after imitation.
After playing the game a few times, I realize that this is much, much more than simply another variation of Just Dance. Yes, it works like Just Dance in that you hold a single Wii remote in your right hand and mimic the moves of a dancer on-screen. And thankfully, the accuracy is on par with Just Dance 2 (as I wrote in my review of that game, while the accuracy is still not perfect, if you practice the moves enough you’ll find your score gets better).
But this title adds a few more things that Just Dance 2 nor any of its other sequels did not have.
1) There’s a menu option called “Dance School”. These are videos of actual choreographers and dance instructors who have actually work withed Michael Jackson himself. They have an in-depth knowledge of Michael Jackson’s signature moves, and they do an excellent job of breaking them down for you. Plus, they even give advice on proper conditioning and stretching to make those moves. You start out with simple tutorial videos, but as you dance more and more, different lessons are “unlocked” for you. The more advanced lessons actually go through some of Michael Jackson’s actual dance routines in his videos and tell you exactly how to do them.
2) Of course, the bulk of the game is to, no pun intended, “Just Dance”. Unlike the Dance on Broadway title, the dance moves you see here aren’t dumbed down interpretations of Michael Jackson songs–they’re the actual choreographed moves from the music videos. You can get a decent score just by matching the movements of your right hand, but for the full experience (and the best score), you need to learn the actual choreographed routine. The best way to do this is to play the game over and over again and each time focus on a different body part (for example, focusing on arm movements first, leg movements second, and putting them all together). Or, like I said, most of the most popular routines are broken down in the Dance School videos.
Trying out a few of these gave me a newfound appreciation for how athleticly conditioned Michael Jackson must have been. Even when I matched the movements only 50-70%, I was still out of breath. Each dance is categorized by difficulty (easy, medium, hard). One very cool feature of the game is that for some songs, you can play as Michael Jackson or as a backup dancer, each with varying degrees of difficulty. The game also supports multiplayer, so on some songs multiple people can dance at once to simulate your own Michael Jackson video!
Here are a list of the tracks on the game:
- Working’ Day And Night (Off The Wall – 1979)
- Beat It (Thriller – 1982)
- Billie Jean (Thriller – 1982)
- The Girl Is Mine (Thriller – 1982)
- Thriller (Thriller – 1982)
- Wanna Be Startin’ Something (Thriller – 1982)
- Bad (Bad – 1987)
- Dirty Diana (Bad – 1987)
- Leave Me Alone (Bad – 1987)
- Smooth Criminal (Bad – 1987)
- Speed Demon (Bad – 1987)
- Street Walker (Bad Special Edition – 2001)
- The Way You Make Me Feel (Bad – 1987)
- Black Or White (Dangerous – 1991)
Heal the World (Dangerous – 1991)
- In the Closet (Dangerous – 1991)
- Remember The Time (Dangerous – 1991)
- Who is It (Dangerous – 1991)
- Will You Be There (Dangerous – 1991)
- Earth Song (History – 1995)
- They Don’t Care About Us (History – 1995)
- Ghosts (Blood on the Dance Floor – 1997)
- Money (Blood on the Dance Floor – 1997)
- Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough (Off the Wall – 1979)
- Rock With You (Off The Wall – 1979)
- Sunset Driver (Ultimate Collection – 2004)
Overall, Michael Jackson The Experience is a great game which you can add to your workout regimen–if you’ve always wanted to dance like Michael did in his music videos, now’s your chance! And the great thing about it, after you’ve learned all the moves, they’re yours to keep.
4.5 of 5 stars.