|System: PS3, PS2||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: SCEE||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SCE Studios London||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Dec. 2, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-8||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
Although the SingStar franchise has tackled decades, genres, and even legends, there has never been a single artist-specific edition of the hit franchise. However, SingStar ABBA changes all that. With chart-topping songs from the 70s power-group, this title is sure to be a hit at your next singing party as long as all your friends are obsessed with ABBA.
The song catalog, as you might have guessed, is 100% ABBA. It includes mega hits like Mamma Mia and the immortal Dancing Queen as well as lesser-known songs like Chiquita and Ring Ring. All the songs are master recordings and have excellent sound quality. However, I would have been happy to see a little variety in the soundtrack. No doubt, many of those who will pick this title up are fans of the ABBA catalog musical, Mamma Mia, and a few tracks taken directly from the stage production or recent movie would have definitely been nice. It is also unfortunate that there are no songs by artists that influenced ABBAs sound like there were in Guitar Hero Aerosmith. Despite everything this title doesnt have in its track list, there is no shortage of ABBA, which is probably what those who pick this title up will appreciate.
But other than the single-artist song selection, SingStar ABBA has all the SingStar conventions that we have come to expect from the franchise. You sing into a mic peripheral, and the game will show the notes you sing onscreen. If you sing a note correctly, then a little clear bar will fill with a blue light. Notes that you miss will be shown outside the bar. The game then gives you a score and gives you a ranking that can range from the humiliating Tone Deaf to Hit Artist. Although all of this will be very familiar to SingStar aficionados, I would have liked to see some ABBA-specific elements to the core mechanics, such as ABBA-specific rankings or awards.
SingStar: ABBA does not deviate from the SingStar formula at all in terms of modes. The main single-player mode allows you to sing your best all alone, but the real fun comes when you can play the games signature multiplayer modes with friends. All the usual suspects are here: Battle, Duet, and Pass the Mic. The Battle mode is the games main competitive mode, where you and a friend can sing the same song simultaneously to see who is able to maintain perfect pitch the longest and garner the highest score. But, if youre feeling cooperative, Duet mode allows two players to sing together for a combined score. The final mode is Pass the Mic, which allows up to eight people to play on opposing teams and alternate singing randomly selected verses and choruses with the games two mic inputs.
The visuals in SingStar ABBA are all very standard and sport the series trademark menu style. The PS3 version looks identical to the new SingStar interface, and even includes most of the new wallpapers that were already on Volume 2. While singing, youll be able to watch high-quality videos in the background, and it looks like some of the more dated ABBA videos have been remastered. Since SingStar ABBA is the first artist-specific SingStar title, I would have liked to have seen a custom interface that incorporates the ABBA logos and control scheme, but this title still uses the series trademark blue and red interface.
SingStar ABBA marks the series first foray into single artist serials, and I have to say that I was a little confused. Although ABBA was certainly a music fixture in its time, ABBA does not have the broad appeal of acts like Aerosmith and AC/DC (which received their own artist-specific titles from Guitar Hero and Rock Band, respectively.) ABBA does not seem like an artist that the gamer audience can really identify with, and that is this titles biggest weakness. However, if you cant wait to belt out Dancing Queen, Fernando, and Take a Chance on Me, then SingStar ABBA will hit all the right notes.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Staff Contributor