Michael Jackson: The Experience Preview (PS Vita)
On consoles, Michael Jackson: The Experience is an unstoppable juggernaut for Ubisoft. They’ve basically modified their Just Dance engine, configuring it around a series of MJ videos, and created the ultimate fan service…even though the in-game model looks even creepier. Plus, no appearance of Bubbles. Still, we could easily see its appeal.
However, the portable version is simply not the same. Seriously, who releases a dancing game where you don’t actually do any dancing? True, Ubisoft did try to do something of the music/rhythm variety, but it feels like something’s off. Perhaps with the upcoming PS Vita version of the game, which releases next month in time for the system’s launch, we’ll see what Ubisoft was really trying to do with the formula.
Most of the content from previous versions of Experience remains intact here, with 15 songs to choose from throughout Michael Jackson’s career. These include “Smooth Criminal”, “Beat It”, “Thriller”, “Billie Jean” and a plethora of others. Each song comes with its own customized background, resembling something that came out of the MJ film Moonwalker, or one of his countless music videos. So, yeah, “Billie Jean” has the light-up floor. And “Thriller”? Graveyard, for sure.
Instead of trying to dance like Michael (and let’s face it, we can’t – when’s the last time you nailed a moonwalk?), you’ll have to play using the touch sensors on the PS Vita system. You’ll either draw shapes on the screen to match symbols indicating you need to hit them, or tap on the multi-pads in rhythm to the music. We’ve only seen a small bit of the game in action, so we can’t entirely say if it’s a system that works or not. But one thing is for sure – it definitely beats the somewhat flat DS and PSP versions as far as interactivity is concerned.
Getting through each of the songs in Experience offers rewards at the end. These include special effects that can perk up your performances (glowing feet, anyone?), as well as alternate costumes, so you can change Jackson’s appearance around. If you prefer something a bit more competitive, Ubisoft has confirmed that the game will have online support through PlayStation Network.
Not only can you compete with others through an online leaderboard, seeing how you stack up with your dancing skills, but you can also compete against your friends in an online Dance Battle Mode, to see who truly is the “Bad”-dest of them all. WHO’S BAD?! JAMON!
While we can’t say we’re entirely sold on this new version of the game, it does have the potential to be a hit when it comes out with the PS Vita launch slate next month. We’ll check it out and be back with our review to let you know if it’s truly the Michael Jackson Experience – or something more along the lines of Tito.