Every track from the 26-strong soundtrack is unlocked from the off, selectable from the one real mode: Dance. It seems silly to say, but the music is fantastic. Beat It, Billie Jean, Black or White, Smooth Criminal, Bad, Earth Song, Thriller - they're all there. I was a little distressed to discover Man in the Mirror missing from the line-up, but this seems to be the only noticeable absentee. Each dance routine is faithfully lifted from the music video it came from, with a loose sense of the song's theme and narrative conveyed in stylish intro and outro sequences.
In addition to Dance mode, there's also a Dance School, but this shouldn't be considered a second game mode. Dance School is a selection of tutorial videos presented by three professional dancers. Travis Payne, Brahim, and Maryss from Paris break each routine down into sections, explaining how to pull off some of the more difficult moves in the game.
This would be a great addition to the game if it wasn't for one thing: each dance lesson needs to be unlocked. It's completely bizarre. Say you're struggling with Smooth Criminal - which is pretty demanding towards the end - the logical thing to do would be to hit up the Dance School to learn the routine. For some unfathomable reason, though, the lesson is locked, only becoming available after you've earned a ludicrous number of stars first. In order to get those stars, however, you need to be good at the game. But you can't be good at the game without the lessons. It's a classic Catch 22 situation, and renders the whole Dance School utterly pointless. Still, they're worth watching purely for the lovely Maryss from Paris, who I took an instant shining too.
The fact the game is harder than both Just Dance games only serves to highlight these problems further. The immortal Thriller is particularly difficult; the game's equivalent of Through the Fire and Flames. I happen to have five-starred it on Hard (it took me half a day), but even this isn't much of an achievement. The rather appropriate 'Inhuman' setting, however, is where the real challenge is at, and what will ultimately keep good players coming back for more.
Even without alcohol coursing through my veins, I still had a reasonable amount of fun with the game. I've often seen people dancing to the likes of Thriller and Billie Jean and thought "Gee, I wish I could do that". Now I can. Kind of. After several hours with the game, I can not only keep up with virtual MJ, but could probably recreate the routines without even having him there to follow. It's not a particularly responsive game, especially compared to the technically superior Dance Central but for what it is, Michael Jackson: The Experience is an enjoyable one.
VideoGamer.com Score7 Score out of 10
- Fantastic track list
- Thriller is a highlight
- Lacks responsiveness
- Dance School is pointless