Release Date: November 13th, 2012
Platform: [Reviewed: Xbox 360], Wii
Rated: T for Teen
Since the announcement, Hip Hop Dance Experience have been receiving a lot of hype. It has also been proclaimed to be the response to Harmonix’s biggest Kinect title, Dance Central. Just Dance and Dance Central have clearly been neck and neck with sales, Just Dance being the #1 game in America and D.C. #1 for the XBOX 360.
Since last year, Ubisoft took a risk by creating a few experiences, beginning with Michael Jackson. Months later, the Black Eyed Peas. Now we’re looking at the new installment simply titled Hip Hop Dance.
HHDE truly feels like the game that’s been missing from the dancing genre. It also sticks to its theme “hip hop” pulling in tracks from Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Busta Rhymes, Outkast, Sugarhill Gang and many more. Every song draws you in; it’s like bringing the club to your living room.
Dance Party is the basic mode to select a song and dance. Under the artist names are fire icons symbolizing the difficulty of each track. So of course a fast paced track like “Bombs Over Baghdad” would be 5 flames.
You can choose songs by hovering over tracks or by using the enabled “see it, say it” feature. At times, the Kinect did have a few issues recognizing the songs titles when attempting to select a few songs. In addition, when waving my hand over tracks to listen to the snippets, HHDE sometimes played another song. It wasn’t that it happened randomly, just when placing my hand down it accidently hovered over another track.
Gameplay is amazing. Hip Hop Dance Experience is the best dance experience to date.
When in session, you’ll have a live choreographer on the left side walking you through each upcoming dance routine. The best part for me had to be your avatar having his back towards you. One thing some gamers struggled with was comprehending which side you would perform a move. With your avatar dancing the same way you are, it makes transitions a bit smoother. If you prefer you can dance to the normal character that’s facing you as well.
The Kinect does a remarkable job on tracking you during routines. Choreography feels much more authentic in the realm of hip hop in comparison to games with any similarities. After finishing a song, you’re scored overall and notified what your best dancing move was, as well as your worse.
Ubisoft never focused on creating story modes to dance, but in HHDE there are one on one dance battles. Dance Battles are where two players are side by side fighting for recognition by being the most consistent dancer on the song of your choosing. As you dance off, you have a battle meter that expands as you perform each routine successfully. Whomever has the longer meter at the end is declared the winner.
It’s a disappointment that Hip Hop Dance Experience didn’t opt-in multiplayer. Dance Battle could’ve worked as a split screen. Simply hiding the battle meter until the very end and revealing the winner at the end of the song. It may sound silly, but it’s just to show that the concept for online capabilities was there.
When you’re feeling up for a challenge and know most of the songs, Dance Marathon will give you a push. Dance Marathon continuously plays random tracks until you can’t dance no more. What determines if you can go on or not is a life meter that drops as you fail to perform the choreography correctly. It becomes a workout that you feel the urge to continue. I found myself enjoying the songs to where it no longer felt like a marathon, just pure non-stop entertainment.
Be warned however, pausing the game will result in the game automatically completing. You couldn’t stop in a race and expect people to stop with you, could you? It’s considered a forfeit. Hip Hop Dance Experience is no different as stopping is just as bad as draining your meter.
The most important mode outside of gameplay will be Power Skooling. A lot of the moves are pretty advance in HHDE and as previously mentioned, your best and worse moves will be mentioned at the end of each song. Here you can practice the dance moves and even slow down the track, slowing down the choreography by raising your hand, learning the dance steps in a more efficient manner.
Another huge addition to the dance scene is the ability to customize your on-screen avatar. In Dance Central you have characters already created for you to support the story. But in HHDE, you can customize everything about your player from skin tone, glasses, hat, shirt, pants, shoes and more. Having the option to personalize your player is possibly to most advance feature for all dancing games.
Hip Hop Dance Experience feels like iNiS sat in the lab and created the perfect formula to succeed at challenging the #1 Dancing game for Kinect, Dance Central. The product is a success! HHDE is definitely worth picking up and dancing the night away.
Replay Value: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4.25/5