Singstar is definitely the premier franchise when it comes to karaoke-style games. With more than 30 individual titles under its belt, and almost a thousand songs to choose from in the SingStore, there is plenty of content for both aspiring vocalists and partygoers to test their skills on. Pair this with one of the most popular classic rock bands of all time, and you’ve got Singstar: Queen.
Perhaps one of the most anticipated karaoke titles of the year, Singstar: Queen is definitely a title many have been on the lookout for. It is the second Singstar title to feature a single artist, and although Singstar: ABBA was popular in its own right, Singstar: Queen is expected to have a much broader appeal. I was pretty hyped for this game, as Queen definitely makes my list of top musicians, and just getting the chance to run around my living room with mic stand outstretched just like the late, great Freddie Mercury was enough to elevate Singstar: Queen to “must buy” status. However, if we look closer at the game itself, there are a few things that may dissuade the non-fanatical Queen fans from this title.
As far as modes go, this game sticks very strictly to the Singstar formula. The game has a single-player mode where you can sing solo and work on your accuracy, a duet mode where you can combine your score with a friend, a battle mode which compares your overall score with an opponent, or the party-friendly pass-the-mic mode. The pass-the-mic mode is generally the most popular of the modes, as it features marathon-style challenges where up to eight people can compete. All of these modes feel very familiar, and if you don’t mind the same old Singstar grind, then you’ll be happy with what is presented here.
However, one thing that is definitely different here is the vocal difficulty. Freddie Mercury’s vocal styling is definitely complex, and there are frequent jumps in key as well as steep note slides. Add this with plenty of syncopation and varying rhythms and you’ve got yourself an amazingly challenging game. For the first time ever, I had to turn the difficulty down on a song (“Somebody to Love”) in order to get a decent score, and I found myself pleasantly challenged by all of the game’s songs.
And speaking of songs, the tracklist in Singstar: Queen is awesome. If you are a Queen fan, then you’ll definitely be pleased with the game’s 20 tracks that include standards like “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “We Will Rock You”, and “We Are the Champions”. There are also some lesser known tracks on the disc, including “Play the Game” and “Save Me”.
However, if there is one thing that does disappoint me about this collection, it is the lack of variation. The band-centric versions of series like Guitar Hero have done a great job of implementing artists that inspired the game’s focal act. Unfortunately, since Singstar: Queen is 100% Queen, it’s hard to play for long stretches at a time, and it really feels like a disc-based track pack more than a complete game. What would have been really interesting would be if some of the notable Queen covers of the past decade were included, particularly the Paul Rodgers covers or those contained on the Queen Greatest Hits album.
Still, despite my qualms with the lack of varied content, there was one completely new feature that debuted in Singstar: Queen: vocal menu selections. This feature allows you to select songs by simply just speaking into the microphone. This feature also allows you to filter songs by genre and artist, which is great if you have content purchased through the SingStore. Though this might not initially sound like too much of a big deal, it keeps you from having to juggle the mic and the PlayStation controller. This was especially useful for songs like “We are the Champions”, where the lyrics start immediately and its easy to miss if you are still fumbling with the controller.
When it comes to aesthetics, Singstar: Queen keeps things in line with its predecessors. Menu layout is beautiful, and the PS3 version includes some pretty sweet hi-def wallpapers. Of particular interest was the video quality of some of the older Queen videos. It’s hard to believe, but songs like “Bohemian Rhapsody” are almost 35 years old, so the cleaned up video makes a huge difference, although you can still see some occasional noise.
Singstar: Queen is definitely a niche title. If you love singing, and you love Queen, then you have to purchase this disc. Not only does it contain some of the band’s greatest hits, but it also is quite challenging, even for hardcore Singstar enthusiasts. However, if you’re looking for something besides the same old Singstar game, then this entry has nothing to offer other than the menu upgrades, so you might as well wait for the next inevitable Singstar release to come along.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 3.8 Graphics
The menus look great and the video quality, especially on some of the game’s more archaic footage, is great. 4.2 Control
Voice menu allows you to abandon the controller and just use your mic to select songs and then sing. 3.9 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
If you are a fan of Queen’s greatest hits, then there’s plenty to love. However, some of the less popular tracks or some famous covers might have been nice for some variation. 3.0 Play Value
If you like Queen and Singstar, then this is definitely one to get. Though I can’t imagine playing it for more than a few hours, it should be a hit at parties 3.5 Overall Rating – Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.