Friday, 24 February 2012

The Black Eyed Peas Experience Review - Dancing's never been this fun!!

Last year Ubisoft released a title for the Xbox Kinect that I had absolutely no interest in at all. Originally released for the Nintendo Wii, this game found it's way to the Kinect but was one of the games that I made sure to give a miss.

That title was "Michael Jackson - The Experience", a dancing game where you emulated dance moves to Michael Jackson's more popular songs, and although it might be have been a fun game to others, it certainly was not for me.

My reasons for having a lack of interest in this game were incredibly simple and biased....

Firstly.....Michael Jackson?...I've never really been the biggest fan of his music, to be honest and I couldn't see myself dancing to any of his songs either.

Secondly, I have had very little experience with dancing games, and the only time I had attempted it, I did not do very well at all.

Granted, it was only a few minutes playing a Demo of Dance Central at a Microsoft conference, but as I was quick to dicover.....emulating choreographed dance moves displayed on a screen is a lot harder than it looks.

Recently though, Ubisoft released a dancing game structured around a group of artists whose music I enjoy far more. - The Black Eyed Peas.

I went to one of their concerts here in Cape Town back in 2004 (during their Elephunk tour), and I was majorly impressed.  Each member of the group were equally talented in their own way, and made the concert an incredibly memorable and enjoyable event.

So, while doing my usual gaming purchases I came across a copy of the game "The Black Eyed Peas Experience" and decided to give the Dancing game genre another try.....I mean, now I could dance to music I actually enjoyed, and I could do it in the privacy of my home away from prying eyes.

Hell.....Maybe I'd even be good at it.

"No such luck" were my first thoughts after popping it into my Xbox and dancing (ok, stumbling....symantics be damned) to some of the first songs that I thought might be easier.

You start the game by stepping side to side with the black eyed peas on the screen, which I found was quite interesting and innovative.

As Introductory sections or Tutorials go, there were none to be found, but I continued to flail out of sequence until I finally began to adjust to this style of gameplay that was almost entirely new to me.

As it is with a majority of Kinect games....if you're good at it in real life then you'll be good at in the game. This is effectively the rule of thumb for The Black Eyed Peas Experience as well.

There are 30 songs to choose from (with more available as DLC) and all take some getting used to. The game rates these songs by difficulty, but many times the difficulty level shown is unbalanced and incorrect. While many of the songs on the easier levels are actually quite hard to master, there are other songs that show as being more difficult and are much easier to dance to. ("Shut up" is a good example - while the game shows it's difficulty level as Skilled, I found it was one of the easiest songs.)

The flip side of the coin is that even though the game is difficult, it does reward you relatively easily. Some of the moves I made seemed very little like the moves shown on the screen, but were still good enough to warrant a decent score.

While this may be due to a weak utilisation of the way the Kinect reads you, it actually benefits the game and makes it easier to get through.

The campaign mode allows you to create your own character and a host of unlockable items (such as clothing and venues) are available as you progress throughout the game.

There is even an option to develop you own choreography for the songs, and for many this may be essential, with some of the moves being incredible tough to pull off.

Although the game has a steep learning curve (especially for the uninitiated) and certainly has it's flaws, it's loads of fun and is definitely a good game to play with some friends.....albeit, close friends who don't judge.


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