|System: PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: SCE Studios London||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SCEE (SONY)||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 28, 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
When you think of karaoke games, the natural title to think of has to be SingStar. This franchise has become a casual powerhouse, and with over twenty titles to its credit, it doesnt seem to be slowing down any time soon. SingStar Volume 2 is the series second installment on the PlayStation 3, and even though it features the same tried-and-true SingStar experience, there are enough new features to make this entry in the PS3 series feel distinct from its predecessor, and SingStar fans definitely wont be disappointed. < /p>
From the very beginning of the game, SingStar Volume 2 wants to remind you that this title is online-enabled. Like most SingStar titles, when you first start the game up, you will have to create a profile. However, instead of just creating a name and moving on, you will be able to go straight online and create a SingStar identity. This identity includes a custom name, picture, and favorite artist and song information. Once you become a seasoned pro, this identity will also showcase your high scores and other singing stats. After you create your SingStar Identity, you are able to jump into the game at your leisure.
The core gameplay in SingStar Volume 2 is largely the same as it has always been. You choose a song and try your best to match little note bars that appear on screen. If you are successful, these note bars will turn blue. If not, the note bar will remain transparent, and little blue indicators will show you the notes that you actually sang. The interface is simplistic, but it has worked well to date, and since it is such a signature part of the SingStar series, I would not want or expect them to change this core mechanic any time soon.
However, there are a few different aspects of the singing that SingStar fans will notice in SingStar Volume 2. The biggest difference here is the debut of separate harmony and melody parts for many of the songs. These two parts are made up of completely different notes, with the melody comprising the lead vocal tune of the song, and the harmony providing complementary vocals. And, as any church or high school choir member will tell you, mastering a songs harmony is no easy feat, especially when it requires you to actually read the notes instead of just listening to the tune. The separate vocal parts function definitely provides a welcome challenge for vocal enthusiasts, and it adds a brand-new dimension to the gameplay. Although the separate parts function is not available on all the tracks, youll find this option with songs like Im Gonna Be (500 Miles) by The Proclaimers and California Dreamin by the Mamas and the Papas.
But if youre not all into harmonizing with your vocally talented friends, there are still many multiplayer modes here that will keep you singing your favorite tunes. All your favorites are here, including Duet mode, Battle mode, and Pass the Mic. Duet mode assigns different portions of a song to you and a friend and measures the combined score. However, if you are not in a cooperative mood, there is Battle mode, which calculates you and your friends score separately to see who is the better SingStar. Of course, Pass the Mic is the ultimate party mode, which allows you to play with up to eight different people (with two mics) and take turns singing the different verses and choruses. Although not much has changed with regard to these multiplayer modes, they really didnt need much work as it was and are still fun to play in a group.
One awesome feature that is making a return for Volume two is the video mode. Although this feature originally debuted in the original SingStar for the PS3, it has been streamlined this time around. The video you record (using either your PS2 EyeToy or PlayStation Eye) is now directly tied to your SingStar identity and can be searched for within the SingStar community. This is a pretty cool feature if you have lots of vocally talented friends online, or want to search for those who share your musical tastes.