I’ve always been a fan of Guitar Hero, Harmonix never failed to impress me with each release making me feel more and more like a virtual rockstar.
Then they started making dance games with Dance Central, it was the perfect party centerpiece using the Xbox 360’s Kinect motion sensor to full effect. Harmonix now makes their debut on Microsoft’s next generation powerhouse with a surprising collaboration with Disney Interactive. Born is Fantasia: Music Evolved, a prime opportunity to reenact the conducting skills of Sorcerer Mickey Mouse, the red coat and blue starry hat aren’t supplied though.
The story requires you to earn stars to be placed on a strangely familiar blue pointy hat. You are given this task by none other than Yen Sid (spell it backwards) who is fresh from the 1940’s famous cartoon and it is he who explains that the worlds of Fantasia are under threat by an unknown force known only as The Noise. You, as Yen Sid’s apprentice, must travel the many realms of Fantasia, ridding them of this presence and getting those stars which will make you powerful enough to take on The Noise head on. Its a traditional Disney storyline narrated brilliantly and carried along nicely by Yen’s bold character, although i didnt care for it much, i just wanted to get to the next song.
I said before that The Noise needs to be taken down. You dont do this by combat, instead each segment requires you to use the Kinect sensor to follow on screen prompts as if you were a real conductor. There are a nice variety of movements such as waving in a particular direction, holding in certain positions and hand thrusts which are synchronized beautifully with the music. Not only that but each song has three versions to it which can be changed up during each performance to give that song a different feel, this however is hit and miss. Its weird hearing Sting’s “Message In A Bottle” with an orchestral ambiance which modern instruments are triggered with your movements but its all part of the experimentation and gives you a great feeling knowing you can customise each tune as you see fit. Occasionally you may come to a fully customisable section in songs which are called Composition Spells. These allow you to create your own section of a song your own way. Your arms control which tone you play as you chain them together creating a tune, if youre not happy with it, youre free to re-record. Its no mistaking that Harmonix have mastered the Kinect and its impressive to see them include a feature that caters for players want to sit named Seated Play which makes sense considering you only need your arms and hands.
Music Evolved has a nice variety of tracks to unlock via the story mode in order to play them at your leisure in the Song Library. From Mozarts “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” to Queens “Bohemian Rhapsody”, theres certainly variety although there isnt any iconic Disney tracks here albeit it being a Disney game. Each song has three mixes and with songs from over 30 artists means there is a wealth of music on offer which will please everyone’s taste.
Fantasia: Music Evolved not only sounds great, it looks fantastic too. Each realm is beautifully rendered with environments from under the sea to snow ladened forests, each reaming with that iconic Disney aesthetic which will appease veteran Disney fans. During songs is no different. Gesture prompts scatter across the screen with sparkly explosions to indicate a perfect hit with a small outline of you on the bottom of the screen to indicate what the Kinect can see and read so you know where your going wrong.
A Disney title without Disney songs may put some off however the wealth of tracks across 30 plus artists from past and present with three remixes for each song will definitely please everyone. The story is a great recreation of the famous cartoon however it is nothing more than songs stringed together with a nice cut-scene, it will definitely keep kids busy and Disney fans engrossed though. A brilliant music title for all those wannabe conductors out there.
Story - 4/5
Graphics - 5/5
Game-play - 4/5
Overall - 4/5
Version Reviewed - Xbox One