Whether or not the Black Eyed Peas are your cup of tea, it’s hard to avoid them. With various smash hits, millions upon millions of album sales worldwide and now their own dedicated Kinect game. How does The Black Eyed Peas Experience
shape up amongst the multitude of dance games already out there?
Significantly evolving from Michael Jackson: The Experience
, The Black Eyed Peas Experience
has far more depth, with a quick play-mode for those just wanting to jump in and dance and for those looking for more is the "Deluxe Experience". An in depth campaign mode in which you create a character who follows the group around various venues and practices and performs along side them.
Every performance must be played in steps, before the full routine can be performed. Each song has three steps, each comprising of three moves that the game will pound into your memory before piecing them all together in the full performance. During the steps, if you’re somehow still struggling with a move after various repetitions, you can slow it down further to help you figure it out and nail it perfectly, or as perfectly as the sometimes flaky tracking will let you.
While the Deluxe Experience is thorough this does mean that before clearing a song you will have heard it a mighty four times back to back before it is done and dusted. This will grow tedious, whether you’re a fan or not. This also means that every song holds just nine different moves for the entire routine, regardless of the difficulty. Whilst you never actually perform as the Peas, you play in front of the foursome, mirroring their moves as the on screen prompts count you in to the changes. During the dance, the band or relevant members will sing their parts as the routine plays, sometimes separating off from the rest of the group, who will continue to dance with you.
Making progress in the Deluxe Experience mode, you’ll earn ‘followers’. These earn you various things, mostly items for your character allowing you to customise him/her however you please. The “followers” also unlock new venues, each with their own ‘classic’ style to go with the group themselves, whom – by the way – are alarmingly uncanny. The group are creepily alike in looks, movement and general mannerisms. The game itself is visually quite impressive, with vibrant, evolving environments and good (if a little creepy) character animations.
Another feature that is almost easily missed is that by hooking up a mic a friend can sing along to the hits while you boogie, earning you even more followers. But the vocal system is poorly implemented with no pitch indication, practically any noise will register as a hit making it feel like something that’s there simply for the sake of it.
The game actually has a surprising amount of longevity, with tonnes of unlockables and random challenges thrown at you by members of the group. These can range from finishing with a certain rank to hitting so many ‘Incredible’ ratings. Not to mention the tough and time consuming achievements. These will keep those dedicated dancers going for many, many hours.
The tracklist consists of thirty songs, featuring all the big hits that you would expect, as well as some more obscure work by the band, spanning their entire career so far. The Black Eyed Peas Experience
also offers something that’s rarely seen in the range of dance games: the ability to create your own routines. Pick a song, and then choose from a list of every dance move available to string together yourself. And if the thought of trawling through pages and pages of dance moves sounds tedious, you can dance the move you want and the game will pick it for you. It’s a very smooth process, and turns out surprisingly well.
After the good comes the bad. Sadly the game is marred by occasional poor tracking, and though it’s nowhere near as bad as The Micheal Jackson Experience
, it’s there and can become very frustrating.
Overall, The Black Eyed Peas Experience
isn’t a “bad” game per se, there are certainly far worse in the Kinect “Dance” category. If you can forgive (or ignore) the poor tracking then there’s plenty that is endearing about this game. If you like dancing games then this is a solid effort and will be right up your street, if you like the Black Eyed Peas, then all the better.