The Black Eyed Peas Experience

The other day while I was scratching my humps, I gotta feeling that this was the time to let loose some of my boom boom pow and don’t lie anymore.  The clever of you may have spotted a few song titles in there by the love them or hate them Black Eyed Peas.  It was intentional. After all this is a review of a game featuring them, their music, their style and their favourite food!  It was only logical that the phunksters from across the pond featured in a dance game. Their music is hardly Guitar Hero stuff.  So yet another Kinect enabled dancing game hits the shelves and I must admit to pre-judging this as being terrible before I had done my first Latin Clap. You know what?  I gotta feeling that you may be surprised to hear what I have to say.

The first thing that struck me was that this dancing game was using the Unreal engine to power it. Surely a little over the top for a dancing game?  It would seem not. The visuals are gorgeous, vibrant, colourful and the representations of the band are brilliant. Initial amazement over, I was a little put off by what at first seemed to be an overly complicated menu system. There seemed to be stuff going on everywhere. After a short play, I could see it was actually really easy to navigate using the usual hand movements to select icons and holding a hand above your head to go back a step.  After getting all that out of the way you can choose between dance party mode where you can play with friends in a neat drop in or out way, singing along too if you desire.  The Kinect works wonderfully as you mimic the on-screen moves.

The main meat of the game is to be found in campaign mode, which is part of the “Deluxe Experience”.  It’s here where you can dance your heart out, among other things. I started campaign mode with a nice easy song, “Don’t Lie”. Each song is initially split into four parts and each part contains a few different dance moves.  The on-screen characters first demonstrate what is expected of you and you then try to dance in time. Your moves are graded on how accurately you pull them off. I was amazed to pull off some “incredible” moves on my first go!  After you have practised the different segments they are all played together in the full song and it’s here where you start to sweat.  Will.I.Am, Fergie and the other two ( who, through the game, I found out are called Taboo and Apl.De.Ap) look amazing as they dance away in front of your character. The graphics really are amazing; definitely better than those of the Dance Central games.  After you complete the dance you are awarded points based on your performance and then get an overall rating. I got a “B” on my first attempt.  Buoyed on by my impressive result, I tried the game on a higher setting and ended up flailing around my living room. Back to a lesser skill level.

As you get better and gain more fans, which act as in-game currency for unlocks, you unlock clothes and other apparel for your character.  You can change everything from the hair to the shoes and tattoos in between.  Pretty soon you’ll be looking like one of the crew and you’ll be ready to bust some more moves.  You can also unlock different areas to dance in as you progress, starting in Tokyo and taking in Zero G!  All the venues look suitably lush and give a great backdrop to the dancing.  A nice feature is “Choreo-Maker” where you can make up your own routines and challenge your friends, or yourself!  You have fifty slots to fill with any of the moves from the game. It can be a little time consuming and after your first attempt you’ll have a completely un-danceable routine.  After a little fine tuning, you’ll realise that the way forward is to repeat the moves a few times before starting the next move.  I had fifty different moves the first time and almost induced a heart attack as I tried it out.  The moves vary from simple hand claps to multi limbed movements – not easy for someone of my age and build!  Nevertheless, it is all very enjoyable to play through and after my initial trepidation I found myself really enjoying it.

The only failing that I can see in the game is that it is all Black Eyed peas.  It’s not a huge problem when it works as well as this does but you do become very familiar with all the songs quite quickly.  A few different tunes by bands that influenced the Peas would’ve been great or just some non Peas tracks.  That said, it can be picked up at a really good price so it’s maybe more forgivable.  If you look on it as a game like one of the band editions of Guitar Hero, then it is exemplary; a total fan service.  The loading screens feature snippets of information about the band and the videos for the songs play in the background as you play.  Who knew that Will.I.Am loves Snickers bars?  Because of this game, I now do.







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