Bargain Wars Pt. 1 - MJ: The Experience - September 3rd 2011

'Tis the season to be merry! At least it will be in a couple of months. And for all the premature festive cheer you may or may not be feeling this September, your bank balance is probably going to be taking a few hits to its weak spot in the days and weeks ahead. Yes, Christmas will soon be upon us. And with an incredibly packed final quarter, there's going to be a lot of fine content to choose from. So, to round out your stockings, you're going to be in need of some high quality bargains. Specifically, a selection of really cracking games from years past that can be bought for a mere fraction of their original asking price.

If you're in the market for a new dance game, then look no further than Michael Jackson: The Experience. There's a slightly pointless DS version, and equally baffling 3DS and Vita editions in the pipeline, but the ones we're looking at today are for Xbox 360 (with Kinect), Playstation 3 (with Move), and Nintendo Wii. All three are available on Amazon for under 15. But which version should you get?

Xbox 360 (with Kinect)
Although the core gameplay mechanics are the same across all three versions, the Kinect edition does some things a bit differently. The primary dancing aspect of the game is presented as a live concert with A.I. back up dancers, instead of a music video. Coupled with the lack of a controller in your hand, this makes you feel more like you're performing as MJ, and therefore closer to the real thing. However, the lack of simultaneous multiplayer is a massive letdown. The choreography is also not very satisfying, compared to the other versions. The moves are over complicated, and the Kinect camera often had trouble detecting when a step had been performed successfully. There's also an annoying glitter like graphical effect that at times obstructs the on screen action. Although I'm a big fan of the Kinect, I was very disappointed with this version of the game. A wasted opportunity to make use of impressive technology.

Final Score - 2 Stars

The Kinect version is definitely the weakest of the three that I played.

Playstation 3 (with Move)
Without a doubt, the Playstation 3 version of Michael Jackson: The Experience was the best of the three. Alongside all the features of the Wii version, developers Ubisoft Montpellier and Ubisoft Paris added a picture in picture screen, so you can see yourself dancing alongside your character. This made excellent use of the image quality offered by the Playstation Eye. Random photo and video capture has also been included and integrated with the XMB. Finally, there can be no denying that the Move controller is exceptionally accurate and responsive. On top of that, the support for multiple simultaneous players and in-game recording makes this ideal for party situations. This is definitely my favourite version of the game.

Final Score - 5 Stars

Nintendo Wii
The Wii release served as my introduction to Michael Jackson: The Experience. It was a lot of fun to learn his iconic moves while being able to unlock step by step dance lessons and additional challenges. In-game characters are nicely stylised, despite not being presented in HD. It is actually very similar to the PS3 version in terms of gameplay, and overall fun factor. However, it doesn't include any of the picture in picture or video / photo capture features of the Move edition. It also lacks the responsiveness of the Move controller, but the Wii-mote does work much better than the Kinect camera.

Final Score - 4 Stars

The track list is fantastic.

Having played all three versions, Michael Jackson: The Experience for Playstation 3 ultimately came out on top. It has everything that an MJ fan would expect from a game such as this, and the extra features were greatly appreciated on top of an already impressive package. You won't be disappointed.

Emma Wilcox

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Ubisoft Montpellier and Paris
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