* Awarded Extreme Gamer's Best Party/Music Game of '08
Since 2004 Karaoke fans have embraced Sony’s flashy Karaoke game Singstar. The series has released over ten expansion games and has eventually found its way to the HD format of the Playstation 3. Mildly upgraded, Playstation 3 owners have one more reason to rock out with their friends, and practice their chops with the always entertaining Singstar.
If you are not familiar with the Singstar franchise, it’s basically a Karaoke game where you sing along with video tracks from a wide range of artists. In Singstar for the Playstation 3, the series stays on the same road as before while branching out with updated HD graphics and a robust online service that will surely become a staple in the franchise over the upcoming years. Music games have hit an all-time high with the success of online downloads and its not surprising that Sony wants to tap into the cash printing market of downloadable songs.
If you already own the dual red and blue microphones and USB attachment you won’t have to repurchase your mics to work with the new PS3 version of Singstar. The PS2 microphones work just as good as the new microphones which is a relief. This saves Singstar devotees some cash that they can now reinvest at the Singstar online store, simply labeled the "Singstore". Thankfully, Sony has set the price reasonably at just over a buck a song that it makes it easy to cough up some extra dollars.
Initially Singstar comes with 36 songs that include everything from Weezer - "Buddy Holly" and The Killers - "Mr. Brightside" to Amy Winehouse - "Back to Black" and Radiohead - "No Surprises". The selection is pretty good, luckily I am into most of the music played, however fans of other genres like country or jazz will have nothing to go with here. Also, Singstar really lacks variety in woman songs with only 8 out of the 36 being female songs. For the ladies, you only have Nina Persson from the Cardigans, Ana Lynch from the Scissor Sisters, Macy Gray, Corinne Bailey Rae, Amy Winehouse, Brittney Spears, The Pussycat Dolls and Gwen Stefani. While the tracks are mainly new ones, one should think they could have included more tracks considering they have nine versions of Singstar.
For those intrested here is the rundown on a the other tracks included on the disc; Blink 182 - “All the Small Things”, R.E.M. - “Losing My Religion”, Wolfmother - “Love Train”, U2 - “Beautiful Day”, Beck - "Loser", Blind Melon - "No Rain", Dave Matthews Band - "Crash Into Me", David Bowie - "Let's Dance", Faith No More - "Epic", Franz Ferdinand - "Do You Want Me", Jane's Addiction - "Been Caught Stealing", New Found Glory - "My Friends Over You", Ne-Yo - “So Sick”, OutKast - “Hey Ya!”, Pixies - "Here Comes Your Man", Ramones - "I Wanna be Sedated", Coldplay - “Clocks", The Automatic Automatic - "Monster", The Rolling Stones - "Sympathy for the Devil", The Smashing Pumpkins - "Today" and Warrant - "Cherry Pie."
Besides the music tracks, Singstar has made some mild improvements, mainly the Singstore. The Singstore is like Sony’s answer to YouTube for Singstar gamers. To put your submission up on the Singstore all you need to do is hook up the Playstation Eye or another compatible USB camera and the game will record random pictures while your perform a song. You can imagine how this could be a lot of fun with friends. Even more fun is going online and checking out other peoples videos or pictures to see who is the true stars, diva’s, freaks and geeks singing along to the same list of songs. Offline on your PS3 drive you can store a whole load of clips for those who love to chronicle their adventures in karokee. In total you can pile up over 60 playback clips and 100 pictures.
The only hiccup to this system is viewing videos online. While online you will most likely run by some slight delays in the service while it buffers the videos in the beginning and during playback. Aside from a few momentary pauses, Singstar is surprising just as much fun to play as to browse other singers out in the world. You can also judge the talent online from the good to the bad, to the weird; Singstar has a five star rating you can attach to all the online media. The service also showcases the top singstars and makes it possible to look at each profile and even add personal comments.
From the proflies online you can also add people to your friends list that applies not only in Singstar, but back when your in your main menu. Intergrating the network from game and system is what Sony needs to do if they want to match up with some of the great online features of the Xbox 360. In Singstar's case, Sony is on the right path taking the unified image of gaming and started to merge it together into one, and what better game to start all this up then a personalized styled game like Singstar.
If you can drag yourself from watching others become virtual superstars, you can dive into the multiple game modes and become a star yourself. Singstar PS3 includes five different modes that includes a rudimentary practice and sing solo modes along with a few fun multiplayer modes. The multiplayer modes are battle, duet and pass the mic which supports up to eight people. Each mode can adjusted from easy, medium and hard depending on your skills. For starters easy is a good place to be since your pitch isn’t judged so harshly and you can miss some of the words without being overly penalized. Stepping up the difficulty will cause the pitch recognition to slim down making it hard to get away with a timed Ashley Simpson.
Unfortunately, Singstar is runs only in stereo and doesn’t take advantage of DTS or 5.1 surround sound. It’s basically the basics, but that doesn’t mean the game sounds bad. The audio is crystal clear like you would expect and sounds fine in stereo, no matter the system it’s pumped through. Rounding out the audio is a sleek graphical presentation that looks very contemporary. The video playback can very from great HD clarity to some of the older videos that are starting to show their age. This is true from any old medium that is being pushed into the HD world. For the most part you won’t have too many complaints.
Aside from complaining about what songs did and didn’t make the cut, Singstar is a solid and fun game to experience. If you enjoy singing along with music on the radio or simply Karaoke, Singstar is worth the purchase. After a few days of practicing by yourself, I’m sure you’ll be hosting your own parties, downloading new tracks and having a lot of great moments with Singstar. The only reason not to buy this game is if you don’t enjoy Karaoke, or don’t own a PS3, aside from those two categories everyone who wanted to sing along with their favourite stars should become a star with the PS3 debut edition of Singstar.
Reviewed by Downtown Jimmy | 06.01.08
A true interactive singing experience, where everyone is a star as they sing along with their favorite artists to the authentic videos of chart-topping tracks.
With the SingStore feature, download and purchase hundreds of songs and videos from across multiple genres to build your ideal SingStar playlist. You pick the songs and create your own personalized SingStar party collection!
Exclusively on PS3, experience My SingStar Online, where you canshare your personal SingStar performances and experiences by uploading your own photos and videos created from within the game. Meet friends, view and rate videos created by others within the SingStar online community.
PLAYSTATION Eye camera compatible, allowing players to capture their performances for playback and sharing with others on My SingStar Online.
Utilizing the Blu-ray disc and PS3’s high-definition support, view select videos in full HD.
Perform solo-style or challenge friends and family to a sing-off with multiplayer gameplay.
Multiple difficulty levels and selectable song lengths provide customized gameplay for all-ages and musical abilities.
Available as both a standalone disc and packaged with two custom, high-quality microphones and the SingStarUSB converter.