With the success of both the Dance Central and Just Dance series', Ubisoft's following their previous artist-exclusive dance game, Michael Jackson: The Experience, with their newest dance game addition. The Black Eyed Peas Experience immerses players with themed choreographies and visuals as they step-touch their way to the top alongside the B.E.P. crew.
Once you've side-stepped your way past the title screen, you have a choice between Dance Party or the Deluxe Experience. Dance Party is a free-play mode, allowing you to choose any song to dance to, and you can play with up to two players. The Deluxe Experience is a "career-mode" of sorts, where you play as your own customized, in-game avatar, gaining fans and unlocking fashion pieces and stages along the way.
All songs are available right away, so you can pick and choose whatever suits your mood without having to play a few rounds first. Though it's nice in some ways to have all 30+ songs to choose from, having no need to unlock any songs may cause some players to lose interest quicker than usual. Each song shows a difficulty rating, ranging from "casual" to "legendary." Casual tends to be very easy, and legendary isn't quite as hard as you'd expect.
To dance, you simply mirror the moves the on-screen avatars are dancing and try to get it just right. Since each song tends to repeat the same choreography patterns, you'll learn the moves by the end of the song for the most part. Sometimes you're given a challenge before you start a song, such as nailing the final pose or gaining a certain amount of "incredible" ratings, which adds to the fun and unlocks more wardrobe pieces, and there's no stress over failing a challenge since there are no consequences from the game.
If you want to practice the moves before you perform the song, or simply want to dance through a career-mode of sorts, you should play through the Deluxe Experience. When playing through this mode, you're taken through several sections of a few steps each in a "break it down" mode, with help from no-name avatars, before you dance the full song. After you watch the on-screen avatar perform the steps a few times, you then must mirror their movements and learn them during the three tries you're given for each move. Once you've practiced all the moves, you get a chance to have a dance-off with the Peas by mirror-dancing with them for the entire song. There's no way to skip the tutorial part so easy moves such as the side-step can't be avoided, but the game does grade you on your performance so even expert dancers may find some joy by striving for the best score possible.
The game reads your movements well enough to sense you did it right, but not so harshly that you fail if you're not quite 100 per cent perfect. Even so, the odd time I had to pose and wasn't really doing it right I was still given the points, yet if I nailed a move I wouldn't necessarily be credited properly for it. It's like the game believes you could never dance as well as the B.E.P. crew, and grades you accordingly.
As with many other dance titles out there, The B.E.P. Experience allows you to create your own choreography for yourself, or other players, to follow. In this game's case, however, you can only choose from the dance moves available for the song you want to choreograph for. You can either pick the cue-card visual or, if you don't remember the name, you can dance it and the game is supposed to figure out the move for you and add it. This simplifies the ability to create your own dance, which many Peas fans may appreciate once they've mastered the game, but it also limits what you can dance for every song.
The visuals and overall experience in the game has improved greatly compared to its predecessor, Michael Jackson: The Experience. The colours are more vibrant, and the Peas feel more approachable as opposed to Jackson's portrayal of a revered and untouchable icon. With that said, I was disappointed that I couldn't dance as one of their avatars, and that I instead had to play as an avatar who's perpetually challenging them to dance-offs; they never remembered who I am and the same "whut whut" style of sequence happened each time I started another song.
Without a doubt the game was designed with the Peas' fans in mind. If you don't like their music steer clear, but if you're indifferent or you're a fan, it's worth checking out. The music includes both new and old hits, the moves are simple enough yet still relatively fun to do, and it's entertaining to dance with the Peas as you strut your stuff. The Black Eyed Peas Experience is already available in stores for the Kinect and the Wii.