Singstar Party - Review
You only need to look around any Australian city to see how popular Karaoke has become in recent years. It was little surprise then that Sony would release such a game on Playstation 2. What was a surprise was how big a hit SingStar became upon release earlier this year. Indeed, until a couple of weeks ago the game was still in the Top 5 Playstation 2 games sold in Australia. Singstar Party isn't really a sequel, it's more an add-on. 30 new music tracks as well as more emphasis on playing the game with a bunch of friends. So is this game worth the money, and your vocal chords?
For those of you who are unaware SingStar is Sony's very impressive spin on your typical karaoke. Rather then having to go to some smoke filled bar this game allows you to play in the comfort of your own lounge room, and even provides two USB microphones to use with the game. Unlike normal karaoke where you only get the lyrics on screen this game also shows you via bars on the screen what pitch you should be singing at, and with a small marker, what pitch you are currently singing at. It works remarkably well and at the end of your song you receive a score so there is no debate with your friends who is the best singer!
|A great duo karaoke song.|
One thing I was really impressed with when I received the review copy of this game was the quality of the microphones included (which are identical to the ones in stores). Initially I thought that they, being bundled with a $99 game would be very cheap quality. How wrong I was. These are very impressive microphones - even surpassing those at my local Karaoke bar! They're not quite industry standard mind you, but certainly good enough for this game. Each microphone is coloured with red or blue so when playing you know which person should have which microphone.
Also new is the inclusion of support for the Eye Toy. Yes, it's possible to video yourself singing for later playback. Speaking of playback the developers once again give you the chance to listen to your performance. This is absolutely hilarious, and there are even a couple of options to alter the echo and pitch of your voice.
|Player One's turn to sing.|
SingStar Party builds upon the concept of the first game (which, by the way will be reviewed soon), adding a wide variety of multiplayer game modes for between two and eight players. The first is the battle mode for 2-players. In this mode both of you sing the same song and the person with the highest score is deemed the winner. A 2-player Duet Mode enables two players to each sing one vocal part of a duet, competing for the highest scores.
The Party Mode for 2-8 players is where most of the time will be spend as you go through 7 rounds of challenges. After selecting the players you then enter the different challenges. These include normal battles, single playing, team duets, passing the mic to the opposing team and so on. It's tremendous fun and certainly livens up the party.
Now you would think that with Sony creating the game they could get into Sony Music's massive song library and pick out many classic songs. Indeed there is a wide range of music here from the 1960's to present music, but you know what, I'm disappointed. Very disappointed in fact. Tracks in SingStar Party include:
Alicia Keys - Falliní
Ashford & Simpson - Solid
Bill Withers - Ainít No Sunshine
Blu Cantrell - Hit íEm Up Style (Oops!)
Bob Marley - No Woman No Cry
Buggles - Video Killed The Radio Star
Busted - Year 3000
Cyndi Lauper - Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
Destinyís Child - Survivor
Dido - White Flag
Duran Duran - Hungry Like The Wolf
Elton John & Kiki Dee - Donít Go Breaking My Heart
Elvis - Way Down
Franz Ferdinand - Take Me Out
George Michael - Faith
|Jamiroquai - Cosmic Girl|
Javine - Real Things
Kylie Minogue - I Should Be So Lucky
Little Richard - Tutti Frutti
Maroon5 - This Love
Natasha Bedingfield - Single
Pink - Just Like A Pill
Scissor Sisters - Take Your Mamma
Sonny & Cher - I Got You Babe
Spandau Ballet - Gold
Spice Girls - Who Do You Think You Are
The Beautiful South - A Little Time
The Foundations - Build Me Up Buttercup
The Police - Every Breath You Take
Tiffany - I Think Weíre Alone Now
The tracks really are quite disappointing, the original SingStar has a better lineup, although there are more songs here aimed at duet singing such as Elton John & Kiki Dee - Donít Go Breaking My Heart, Sonny & Cher - I Got You Babe and Spice Girls - Who Do You Think You Are. The problem is that there are too many songs that either we've never really heard of, or that aren't exactly the artists biggest hits. Case in point: Elvis - Way Down. How many of you know that song? Fortunately it is possible to import the songs from the original SingStar to effectively double your track listing to sixty songs. It's well worth the extra investment.
|The legendary Bob Marley.|
One of the biggest issues we had with this game is that while you sing to get a great score you can also simply hum at the correct pitch, or scream, or make a buzzing noise. The game has no speech recognition, only pitch. It's a shame, it only takes one moronic friend to spoil the fun, like one of mine last night who sang the words "I'm a Survivor" to every lyric in every song, but still managed to win some games!
Graphically this game is clean and functional as you would expect. There aren't millions of polygons being pushed around, but there doesn't need to be. The majority of the game features the video clips in the background with the lyrics, pitch bars and scores overlaid on top. The video clips, while not DVD quality, are generally pretty good.
We've already spoken about the track list, but how does the sound fare? Overall it's pretty good. The songs are clear and the microphones effective. The only minor niggle which a couple of people mentioned while playing the game here was that you couldn't mute the original singers.
While owners of the original SingStar will be able to buy this game for $49.95 without the microphones this is still great value for $99.95. My only recommendation is that you also purchase the original SingStar to double your track list. Just shop around for which combo of game and mics, and just game work out the cheapest. A essential addition to any karaoke fans PS2 library. Now Sony - let's see some better/classic tracks next time.
Review By: Dave Warner
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|GRAPHICS||The video quality is average, but it's easy to see menus and lyrics.||74%|
|SOUND||Good quality, but the music selection could have been much better.||78%|
|GAMEPLAY||Simply tremendous fun - as long as everyone playing sings.||82%|
|VALUE||The ability to import songs from the original SingStar adds value.||69%|
|OVERALL||As a party game this is tremendous fun. The track listing on Singstar Party should have been much better, but at least you can import from the original. Still, this is an essential purchase for Karaoke fans.||78%|