omali's Michael Jackson: The Experience (Nintendo DS) review

Elite Beat Agents' Less Successful Brother.

Michael Jackson: The Experience started out similar, for me, to Scribblenauts, and we all know how that review went, in that I had such great hope for the premise that I went out and bought the game on day one, only to be horribly disappointed. Especially as a long time fan of the Elite Beat Agents and Ouendan games, and even more so as a fan of Michael Jackson's music.


Michael Jackson on the DS incorporates a similar style of gameplay to Elite Beat Agents (or  Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan! for those of you who imported the Japanese games of the same series), in that players are tasked with hitting numbered buttons, in order, in tandem with the music. As you successfully hit numbers, you raise your combo score, as well as gathering stars to start the "star power" where your points are doubled for a short time. Other than that, there are buttons you have to move the stylus with the button, and wheels you have to spin to gain power.

And I hate this game, because it is such a half-ass, simplistic copy of Elite Beat Agents, a series that prided itself in insane difficulty and speed at higher levels. There is no story here, the game is free play from the very beginning, although you are required to play through songs to get to other songs. There are twelve songs total, and the track list is decent (Smooth Criminal, Heal the World, Bad, Black or White, Beat it, etc) but guess which song is missing: Thriller. Yes, Michael Jackson's best selling album of all time, was not important enough to make it into MJTE. 

I did mention the difficulty, which is where Ouendan fans will lose interest. The Experience is easy, at no point did I fail a level, even on hard. There is no differentiation between how well your timing is, just whether you hit or miss. The game ditches that mode for the multiplier from the Hero series, with each strike worth the same amount of points, increased the more you hit successively. The problem with the gameplay is that the beats usually follow the drum beats, rather than the song (taking the easy way of development) so a lot of the songs play pretty much the same. 

I can't fault the game on the controls, as they're rock solid. Push the button and it pushes, it's a pretty simple system. The songs are all of great quality, as far as the DS can push audio, and runs slightly higher quality than Elite Beat Agents. At its core, however, Michael Jackson might be better experience on the consoles, where you have a bigger library and actual dancing to take part in.
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