|System: PS2||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: SONY||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SONY||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sep. 18, 2007||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 Matthew Walker
Who does not like to sing? Whether it's in your house, with your kids, in the shower, in the car, on the stage at your local bar with some friends, or you may even be in a band were you stretch the vocal limits of your voice box - we all love to sing. We all may not be on our way to a recording contract, but we all enjoy it. This has become more evident in the game industry with the popularity of the karaoke games that have come out.
Of course, you have the Sim-centric Karaoke Revolution games where you can tweak the appearance of your avatar to your liking. However, for those that like less customization and just getting into the vocal splintering of some of their favorite songs, Singstar delivers in this area better than any other series. The simplistic nature of the series makes the games fun without making you do tweaks to the character you created to represent you on the screen. To put it simply, Singstar approaches the karaoke genre games with more of an adult approach. SingStar Amped uses this same approach and adds a rocker element that takes this version to a whole different level.
A few months back Singstar came out with rock rendition of the Singstar series. It was supposed to be centered on all the great things about rock. Unfortunately, it felt more like a pop-like variation of what a game about rock should have been. This time they have gotten it right with an assortment of songs that you already know by either heart or are easy to crack out a few chords for. Some of my personal favorite songs among the mix - Audioslave's "Cochise", Stone Temple Pilots' "Vasoline", Foo Fighters' "Best of You", and Pearl Jam's "Alive." These songs have always had that special place in my hard rock heart. I know they may not be as hard as they could have been, but these are some of the highlights in the game. There's also a few other noteworthy songs for lead singer wannabes - Nirvana's "Come As You Are", Motorhead's "Ace of Spades", Quiet Riot's "Come on Feel the Noise", and Judas Priest's "You Got Another Thing Coming." The nice assortment of music that spans a few decades really helps this entry along. Amped has such a wide variety of songs to choose from that I would dare say that there's not one among us that wouldn't have at least one song on the track list we wouldn't enjoy bellowing. There are even a few songs that speak from our softer rocker side - Blink 182's "I Miss You" and Poison's "Every Rose Has A Thorn," to name a few.
If you have ever played any of the Singstar games, then you know what to expect when you put the game in. For those of you looking for a Karaoke game and have not checked out this series, here are some of the things to look forward to. Of course, there is a singleplayer option to sing some of your favorite songs. Regrettably, there is no career mode in the game. This would have been an exceptional option to include in the whole series. However, you have all of the songs at your disposal right from the beginning. If you have at least one friend who likes to sing as much as you, there is a duet option where the two of you can share in the joy of performing the same song. If your friend happens to think they can outperform you, then you can challenge one another with Battle. You both sing the same song at the same time instead of splitting it up as in Duets. Do you have more friends than that? Well, if you have up to seven others you can do a little game called Pass the Mic. This mode works by having two teams of four singing various songs trying to achieve a certain amount of points. One player starts and when the screen tells you to pass the mic around then the craziness really begins. Just be sure to size up your team against the other team correctly, and hope for a great musical showdown.
The graphics are simple. A white background with the video in the middle, with a readable small font that scrolls on top of the video is the consistent layout for each selection. Several of the videos are the original production, however, there are a couple Sony had to construct, and those do not look quite as good, but they do the job well. Some of the problems I had with Singstar Pop's sound have been adjusted to deliver a great product. For example, the actual vocals have always been too loud and you can rarely hear yourself. This time around, you can hear how horrid or spectacular you are doing. Nevertheless, the songs themselves are always in prime condition.
Sony really captured something when they first began this series. While it focused more on the hits across the sea originally, it is great to see them putting a stronger emphasis on a broader audience. Making genre specific titles also helps a lot. Instead of having an album that blends too many music styles together, you get the choice of the album that best suits you. While Singstar may not be the game to do all by your lonesome, it is a great addition to your party game library. If nothing else, SingStar Amped will get some of you ready to be the lead singer in the forth-coming title Rock Band. Personally, a few of us will need the practice before auditions start. I know I do.
CCC Freelance Writer