SCE London Studios has been busy and that usually means another edition of SingStar is in the works or is being released. In this case, it's both. Not content with shipping its latest instalment, SingStar Vol 2 across North America recently, the company is also busy coding away on a third instalment in its ubiquitous karaoke franchise. Although the core gameplay elements remain consistently identical throughout the series, it’s worth checking out my review of the original title to get an idea of the basic formula.
As expected, the premise remains exactly the same. You plug in your standard issued SingStar microphones and prepare to look like a fool either on your own or with a bunch of friends. Gamers can still compete in the generic game modes including: Duets, Battle and Solo. While singing, users attempt to match their pitch with the indicative bars on screen, before being awarded a score based on your performance once you’re done belting out the latest tunes.
The ability to upload video footage and photos is still available; though it’s inclusion in the game pretty much a foregone conclusion with each instalment. Unfortunately, this is far from satisfactory. Though the song selection, in my opinion, is much more varied and to my liking in Vol. 2, SingStar costs $40 for a set of 30 songs that not everyone is going to enjoy. To further add onto this debacle, the songs are not available on the SingStore, so you won't be able to just pick and choose your self-humiliation poison. While on the PlayStation 2 it was more than acceptable due to the lack of a download option, it's no longer going to cut it on the PlayStation 3 when gamers are given the ability to download individual songs that they know they’ll enjoy.
Here is a list of the 30 tracks you receive when purchasing Vol. 2:
Aerosmith - "Dude (Looks Like A Lady)"
The Offspring - "Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)"
Bad English - "When I See You Smile"
Panic! At The Disco - "Nine In The Afternoon"
Bobby Brown - "My Prerogative"
Paramore - "CrushCrushCrush"
Boys Like Girls - "Hero/Heroine"
Phantom Planet - "California"
The Bravery - "Believe"
P!nk - "Just Like A Pill"
The Cure - "Pictures of You"
The Police - "Don't Stand So Close To Me"
Elton John & Kiki Dee - "Don't Go breaking My Heart"
The Proclaimers - "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)"
Eminem - "Without Me"
Radiohead - "Street Spirit"
Gavin DeGraw - "In Love With A Girl"
Rise Against - "Prayer Of The Refugee"
Gnarls Barkley - "Run (I'm A Natural Disaster)"
Sara Bareilles - "Love Song"
Gold Frapp - "Happiness"
The Shins - "New Slang"
The Killers - "When You Were Young"
Tone Loc - "Funky Cold Medina"
Lit - "Miserable" Weezer - "Beverly Hills"
The Mamas & The Papas - "California Dreamin'"
Yael Naim - "New Soul"
Natasha Bedingfield - "Unwritten"
Young M.C. - "Bust A Move"
In conclusion, gamers who have a penchant for throwing away their cash or have yet to pick up the original SingStar will more than likely pick up this latest outing. For the rest of you, those who already own the first game would do best to stick to downloadable content rather than fork out for Vol 2.
SCE London had the chance to bring Karaoke gaming into the next generation via the downloadable atmosphere, though ultimately this endeavour has failed immensely. No doubt you can expect the same treatment with the impending release of Vol. 3 down the road.
-The Final Word-
SingStar Vol. 2 offers up more of the same, but at $40 isn't worth the purchase price when you may only tolerate half the tracks available, if that.