Singing Along with the Party Classics!
Karaoke games are certainly popular, and Lips is no exception. It has been almost two years since the first Lips was released, and since then, fans have lauded the new approach Lips has taken to this genre. The first title did a great job of establishing the franchise, and the second title, Number One Hits, worked well as an expansion pack of sorts. Although the second title didn’t change the formula much or add any new features, it wasn’t too big of a deal. After all, we were certain to get some new features by the time the third title rolled around… right? Well, unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case.
The only real addition to the Lips franchise in Party Classics is the added ability to use a USB microphone instead of just the Lips Microphone (or in addition to it if you are going two-player.) This is an important feature, as you can now buy this title as a standalone disc and use your Rock Band (or any other USB microphone) to sing along. Although the mini-game functionality will be disabled when you use a USB microphone (as well as the dance function in-game), if you just want to sing, you will not have any problems with the USB microphone.
Aside from the new microphone functionality, Lips: Party Classics is the exact same Lips game we have been playing for the past two years. Should you be disappointed with this? Maybe. The first game showed a lot of promise with its three mini-games, and when I first reviewed it I was hopeful that they would include more in subsequent releases. However, with the same three mini-games shoehorned into each subsequent release, the charm is gone.
However, despite the complete lack of innovation for this title, at least the tracklist is good. The name “Party Classics” is quite fitting here, as the tracks included have plenty of high-energy songs from different eras. Highlights include Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab,” The Village People’s “YMCA,” and “I’m Too Sexy” from one-hit wonder Right Said Fred. There are also some slower tracks including “You’re Beautiful” by James Blunt and Don McLean’s classic “American Pie”.
The tracklist is really an improvement over the Number One Hits expansion pack, which was a little too varied and didn’t include a lot of wide-appeal songs. However, if you do want to play a song from number One Hits or from the original Lips, you will need to use the game’s disc-swapping feature. Although this type of technique has been used in the past with franchises like SingStar, I wish they would include an import feature like what has been done with Rock Band and Guitar Hero, so you wouldn’t have to pause mid-game every time you wanted to play songs from a different game. The good news is that purchases made through the Lips store will carry over no matter what version of the game you have. This also applies to songs you have downloaded from an external device (like an iPod or Zune) to the hard drive for use in the Freestyle mode.
So what does Lips: Party Classics offer for seasoned players? Well, if you are a Lips aficionado, you will be able to unlock some new Achievements (totaling 250 points for your Gamerscore) as well as some new unlockable avatar trophies. However, the interface is exactly the same, even down to the background animations in freestyle mode and the menu music. The game is exactly the same as previous iterations, and if you are okay with that, then you’ll enjoy it.
I think my biggest disappointment with Lips: Party Classics comes from the continued omission of an online battle mode. Online functionality is something fans of the Lips series (as well as rival franchise SingStar) have been clamoring for since the beginning of this console generation that either has yet to receive. Lips made a good first effort by introducing the challenge mode on the first game (where you can send online challenges to your Friends who also have Lips), but we have yet to see that functionality fully fleshed out in either of the two subsequent releases. I don’t understand why it is taking so long to get karaoke battle mode up and running, considering both Guitar Hero and Rock Band give vocalists the power to duel online. I guess we’ll just have to wait (and hope) for this mode on the next “full” Lips release.
If you are looking for a new track pack for Lips, Party Classics certainly fits the bill. Paying $40 for 40 new songs certainly isn’t a bad deal. However, the fact that you could also purchase 40 songs of your own choosing for the original Lips and get the exact same experience (without the disc swapping) makes this package seem a little less appealing. The only real reason to invest in Party Classics is if you care about the Achievements/Avatar awards, want the USB microphone functionality, or if you like all 40 songs on the disc. If not, then you are better off purchasing songs you want from the Lips store and keeping your old Lips disc. Hopefully we will be treated to a proper Lips sequel sometime soon.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 3.5 Graphics
Background music videos look great, and Avatar animations are nice and smooth. 3.9 Control
Microphone motion controls work as they always have if you use the Lips microphone, but they aren’t exactly missed if you use the USB microphone option. 3.0 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
There’s a nice selection of 20 tracks that includes everything from Percy Sledge’s “When a Man Loves a Woman” to the Spice Girl’s “Wannabe”. Party Classics definitely has something for everyone. 2.9 Play Value
If you’ve played another Lips game, then you know exactly what you are getting here: a regular singing mode, the freestyle mode, and the MyLips social tool. There’s nothing new in this title, which is disheartening considering this is the third iteration of the franchise. 3.0 Overall Rating – Fair
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.