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Michael Jackson Wii game review

AKA Just Dance: Michael Jackson...

Long before Michael Jackson's death a year and a half ago it had been known that the King Of Pop was working on a video game to coincide with his big comeback. If this is that game we can only wonder why it's taken so long to make, because rather than providing the Michael Jackson "experience" this is more or less Just Dance 2 with Michael Jackson songs chucked in.

Sure it features a cel-shaded Jacko and there are some nice nods to his videos but The gameplay is identical to Just Dance. Icons appear up the side of the screen and you have to match them as you dance. Each song takes a couple of goes to get right as, given how complicated Jackson's dancing was, the icons are far too vague and you'll find yourself holding the pose only to see the on-screen Fake Jacko busting far more ridiculous moves.

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Blame It On The Boogie

The game also asks you to do things that the Wii Remote simply can't measure, and as a result there's a lot of guesswork. Some basic moves are almost impossible to get a perfect rating on, whereas difficult ones like full spins and the 'punching the air' section from Beat It give perfects nearly every time.

Also odd is the choice of tracks. Some are great - Bad, Billie Jean - but others are bizarre - like Streetwalker, a bonus track tucked away at the back of a 2000 re-release of Bad.

Michael Jackson fans will definitely get something out of The Experience but it's still disappointing. Given that this is meant to be a celebration of the man's music and dancing there's a distinct lack of full music videos or concert footage. Instead what you're left with is a game that encapsulates Jackson's work, but fails to convey why it's so special.

This is an edited version of a review that will appear in the Christmas issue of Official Nintendo Magazine. For more in-depth analysis and screenshots buy the magazine here.

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  1. MarioMagic Thursday 25th Nov 2010 at 16:18

    This is not surprising....
    The only good Michael Jackson game was Moonwalker...

  2. sciqueen Thursday 25th Nov 2010 at 16:56

    Lol I was going to mention Moonwalker!

    I doubt that Michael Jackson had much input into this game because he was famous for his perfectionism so he wouldn't have wanted a poor product with his name on it. I think the people who made this are the same sick people who are trying to make as much money as they can from Michael's death.

  3. Cormsie Thursday 25th Nov 2010 at 17:02

    Was hoping this would be quite good :L

  4. geengy Thursday 25th Nov 2010 at 17:10

    Aww...:(

  5. Ahiru77 Thursday 25th Nov 2010 at 17:45

    ONM has no respect for MJ....calling him Jacko. >_>

  6. stupet11 Thursday 25th Nov 2010 at 17:56

    I do not understand this review.

    You say it is identical almost to Just Dance 2.

    That scored 72%.

    So how does this only get 59%???????

    Please explain to us.

    My son is a big MJ fan - so I reckon, that makes the 72% Just Dance game improve by 10% for him!

    Or is the game NOT the same as Just Dance 2????

  7. ChrisONM Thursday 25th Nov 2010 at 18:11

    I do not understand this review.

    You say it is identical almost to Just Dance 2.

    That scored 72%.

    So how does this only get 59%???????

    Please explain to us.

    My son is a big MJ fan - so I reckon, that makes the 72% Just Dance game improve by 10% for him!

    Or is the game NOT the same as Just Dance 2????


    Just Dance 2 has 44 tracks and an in-game shop where you can buy more. MJ only has 20-odd tracks and some of them are fairly obscure. I too am a huge MJ fan but I was a wee bit disappointed by this.

  8. LaytonMario3 Thursday 25th Nov 2010 at 18:16

    Can't say i expected anything higher. Not a Jacko fan, so... no.

  9. stupet11 Thursday 25th Nov 2010 at 18:20

    Didn't see the tracks / shop issue in the review.

    Hmmm....but if you are a fan, you get 20 tracks of someone you are gonna love as opposed to, well how many I are you gonna really love out of 44 in JD2?

    I can see why it would get less than JD2. But for a fan, I can't see it's worth 13% less...if the game play is as good.

    Difficult to get the score right - but it sounds like you've underrated it coz your wanted so much more from MJ?

  10. ArmouredSwampert Thursday 25th Nov 2010 at 18:23

    Didn't see the tracks / shop issue in the review.

    Hmmm....but if you are a fan, you get 20 tracks of someone you are gonna love as opposed to, well how many I are you gonna really love out of 44 in JD2?

    I can see why it would get less than JD2. But for a fan, I can't see it's worth 13% less...if the game play is as good.

    Difficult to get the score right - but it sounds like you've underrated it coz your wanted so much more from MJ?


    Mate, the thing is, ONM isn't tellling you what to buy. Chris isn't sending squads of elite ninjas to force you to play Super Mario Galaxy 2.

  11. stupet11 Thursday 25th Nov 2010 at 18:30

    Mate, the thing is, ONM isn't tellling you what to buy. Chris isn't sending squads of elite ninjas to force you to play Super Mario Galaxy 2.

    Mate - I've bought the game anyway - it's tucked away for an MJ fan for xmas.

    I'm sure said MJ fan will enjoy it.

    I'm trying to understand the score - whether the game play has gone backward from the 72% JD2 got.

    Maybe that will help others to decide if its worth the buy or not.

    Not sure where you are coming from mate - no one makes anyone buy a came. I'm trying to understand another persons view point - why one games wasn't as good as another in their opinion, as I didn't get that from the review on here or in the mag.

    BTW - are their ninjas in it then???

  12. imbusydoctorwho Thursday 25th Nov 2010 at 22:15

    They should have made a MJ Rock band or Guitar Hero.
    I wasn't expecting much I feel a little sad bout it neither will I bother on the ds aswell the only one that could be good and that is the Xbox one mainly cause of Kinect.

  13. ChrisONM Thursday 25th Nov 2010 at 23:12

    Didn't see the tracks / shop issue in the review.

    Hmmm....but if you are a fan, you get 20 tracks of someone you are gonna love as opposed to, well how many I are you gonna really love out of 44 in JD2?

    I can see why it would get less than JD2. But for a fan, I can't see it's worth 13% less...if the game play is as good.

    Difficult to get the score right - but it sounds like you've underrated it coz your wanted so much more from MJ?


    The tracks issue is covered in the full review, which is in the magazine. We only print shortened versions of the review on the website so that people buying the magazine can get their money's worth and get more detailed information.

    I think one of the reasons I was disappointed in it was that as a huge Michael Jackson fan I expected so much more. Some of the songs on there are songs that never had dance routines, which not only means that they made up some routines that may not strictly have been approved by MJ, but also means that if they really wanted to they could have put double the number of songs on there.

    It's also worth bearing in mind that I didn't write the Just Dance 2 review. Each reviewer has their own tastes and opinions and perhaps if I'd reviewed Just Dance 2 my score for it would have been more in line with the MJ score. So if your son likes Just Dance 2 then he should probably feel the same about the MJ game.

    I'm sure your son will still enjoy it because I did get more or less the same amount of enjoyment out of it as I did Just Dance 2. I just felt they could have done so much more to celebrate the world's greatest entertainer, especially given that it was supposedly made with the co-operation of the Jackson estate who must have loads of footage of him (none of which features in the game).

  14. stupet11 Friday 26th Nov 2010 at 08:46

    Thank you Chris - that's a good summary of how you got to you mark - the fact that someone else review JD2 is a good point.

    Maybe someone who wasn't an MJ fan would have given it a higher score - maybe on some reviews you need two reviewers to get more balanced reviews.

    But I see where you are coming from now.

    I reckon as my son is 12, he'll have lower expectations, and as it's his first dance game, he'll enjoy it. I think he'll enjoy owning a piece of MJ merchandise too.

    I can see older/keener fans might be a bit disappointed...

  15. ChrisONM Friday 26th Nov 2010 at 09:35

    Thank you Chris - that's a good summary of how you got to you mark - the fact that someone else review JD2 is a good point.

    Maybe someone who wasn't an MJ fan would have given it a higher score - maybe on some reviews you need two reviewers to get more balanced reviews.

    But I see where you are coming from now.

    I reckon as my son is 12, he'll have lower expectations, and as it's his first dance game, he'll enjoy it. I think he'll enjoy owning a piece of MJ merchandise too.

    I can see older/keener fans might be a bit disappointed...


    I think your son probably will enjoy it more than I did. You're right: like you say, I think long-time MJ fans (like me) expect so much from a product like this and are ultimately disappointed when it doesn't feel like it's been put together with as much care and attention as older MJ projects like the Moonwalker game on the Mega Drive or the Moonwalker and Ghosts movies.

    Younger gamers probably won't care about that though, and will be happy to just dance to some great music. That said, that's another reason I was disappointed by the lack of actual Michael Jackson footage, because it would have been a perfect opportunity to show younger fans who might not be so familiar with the man's performances to see exactly why he was so successful.

    I don't know if you've been considering this too but I'd say the Michael Jackson's Vision DVD set would be a perfect companion gift to the game because it's got all his actual music videos, meaning your son can enjoy all the actual performances that made MJ a star and then play the game to try the dance moves himself.

    Hope that helps! :D

  16. stupet11 Friday 26th Nov 2010 at 09:53

    Good shout on the DVD!

    Thanks.

    I'll have to post back my / his review of the game after Christmas Day.

    Be interesting how much attention it gets v's Donkey Kong and Epic Mickey in our house (the good thing about having 3 kids, they can have a game each!).

  17. ChrisONM Friday 26th Nov 2010 at 09:55

    Good shout on the DVD!

    Thanks.

    I'll have to post back my / his review of the game after Christmas Day.

    Be interesting how much attention it gets v's Donkey Kong and Epic Mickey in our house (the good thing about having 3 kids, they can have a game each!).


    Sounds like a good plan :D

    Yeah, be sure to drop me a line and let me know how your son likes the game after Christmas!

  18. hoshixcandy Friday 26th Nov 2010 at 10:52

    Shame, I don't know any MJ fans, sure this would suit them.

    Personally, there's so many dance like games out there now. I'll stick to my Dance Dance Mario Mix... I know those songs at least. :)

  19. Ryu5 Friday 26th Nov 2010 at 18:37

    please stop referring to the king of pop as "jacko" - thank you.

  20. stupet11 Tuesday 4th Jan 2011 at 10:09

    MJ Experience went down very well in our house.

    We don't have Just Dance...but I think the fact that this has a recognisable character and dance moves to songs you know and have seen the videos off, makes this more fun in my opinion.

    My son loved sticking on his MJ gear and going for it. And everyone wanted a go at Thriller.

    I think the score is too low. If you are a fan, and not picky about exact move recognition and the limited tracks, and just want fun - add on 10-15%.

    This like most Wii games (Wii tennis on Wii Sports springs to mind) - if you absorb yourself in the magic of the game, you'll love it. If you want to pick faults and look behind what's really happening, you won't.

    I like to think of it's limitations as something to look forward to in MJ Experience 2!!!

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