Sing like a Star!
The SingStar series has enjoyed much success in the realm of karaoke gaming. Even though there have been many imitators (Karaoke Revolution and Boogie, just to name a few), but everyone can agree that there is only one SingStar. The SingStar series has been around for quite some time and has enjoyed a great run on the PlayStation 2. But now the franchise has finally made the jump to the PlayStation 3, and it is looking better than ever.
One thing that definitely hasn’t changed in SingStar is the singing. Instead of beginning the game by creating a profile, however, the game uses your PSN ID to create one for you. You can then jump headlong into the very familiar SingStar gameplay. You still have the well-known clear note bar that shows what the song’s musical notes are. Of course, what you are actually singing is represented by on-screen blue notes. If you’re any good (or have the difficulty set on easy), the notes and the bar will match up and you may even get an on-screen sparkle effect. But if your vocals are a little rough, then your note bar will remain clear while the blue notes (just like your voice) waver around the screen. The good news is unlike some other musical titles, there is no way to “fail” a song and you can keep singing no matter how terrible, off-key, or “pitchy” you might be. In addition to the standard note bar, there is also a rap meter which keeps pace with how rhythmically you can speak certain parts of a song. This is pretty fun and gives those with a natural metrical inclination a chance to show off their skills.
Multiplayer options in SingStar are as robust as they have ever been and feature three different ways to play with friends. The first (and most friendly), is the Duet mode. This mode assigns different portions of a song to you and a friend and measures the group’s overall score. This is a great mode if you are confident in your friends’ abilities to sing, but what if you are not so confident? Well, then there’s Battle mode which allows you to measure both players’ scores independently to see who can rock the mic best. The final multiplayer mode is the Ultimate Party mode, pass the mic. This mode allows you to play with several people and pass the two mics around the room. This is great for large families or parties, and this mode has the potential to rule your next karaoke get-together.
There are 30 tracks that come with SingStar. There’s a pretty good assortment of tunes, and even though there will probably be at least one song you absolutely abhor (for me it was Lovefool by The Cardigans), there will probably be several that you love. The disk features a variety of pop acts like Britney Spears and Pussycat Dolls, some rock groups like R.E.M. and Radiohead, and even some R&B/Hip Hop selections from artists like Outkast and Ne-Yo.
The real draw to this brand-new SingStar for me has to be the SingStore. The SingStore features downloadable songs for about $2. The great thing about the SingStore is the organization and ease of use. You can search by artist, genre, song, and even browse for songs using different categories. The SingStore is also pretty expansive and, as of launch, has a list of over 200 songs (complete with video) which is only growing.
Another great new feature in SingStar for the PS3 is the opportunity to record and play back your own SingStar media. Whether its your best friends vocal track on Beck’s “Loser” or your social nemesis’ video of herself singing The Smashing Pumpkins’ “Today”, you’ll definitely find some interesting things to do with this feature. If you’re feeling especially confident (or vindictive depending on the situation), you can upload your media to the SingStar channel for the entire world to see. This is a pretty nifty feature. I know if I had more confidence in my own singing ability (and an eye toy) I would definitely be a video posting fool!
Visuals in this game are pretty standard as far as SingStar graphics are concerned. It is worth noting that the music videos playing in the background are all presented in HD, but I’m not sure how many people will be paying attention to this detail. But overall, the menu design, note bars, and even the different wallpapers all look great and give this title a very sharp feel.
In conclusion, SingStar for the PS3 is the most complete entry in the series thus far. The singing mechanics that you have always known and loved are still the same, but SingStar makes leaps and bounds in the areas of downloadable and user-generated content. What makes this title so great is that it really focuses on tailoring the experience to the user: you decide what songs you want, what media to save, and are even able to upload it. There are many ways to customize your experience and that is what makes SingStar for the PS3 so remarkable. So if you’re into karaoke, or planning a party sometime soon, SingStar for the PS3 is a must!
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 4.5 Graphics
Everything here looks very sharp and all the videos are presented in HD. 4.0 Control
You pick up the mic and sing…pure and simple. 4.2 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The pre-loaded music offers great variety and if you still can’t find something you like, there’s always the vast SingStore! 4.3 Play Value
You can sing the pre-loaded songs all you want and, when you get bored, there’s always the SingStore to fall back on. SingStar is amazing fun for large groups and can’t be missed for karaoke fans. 4.4 Overall Rating – Great
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.