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December 9, 2007
SingStar - PS3 Review
Release Distributor Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
6/12/2007SonySonySCEE1-4None
Media HDD Space Resolution Sound Format Tilt Controls OFLC Rating
Disc5345KB1080pDD5.1NoPG

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Online plays a major part in PS3 SingStar.
If you have been a long time reader of Futuregamez.net then you will know that I am a pretty big fan of SingStar. When the PS3 version was first announced we were also pretty chuffed - certainly a next-gen version of the game would offer new opportunities, better video quality, online integration, 4 player support, lyric recognition, a new interface. We're please to report that while some of our 'dream' items didn't eventuate, there is still plenty to enjoy about this game.

Many of you will recall that the game was originally announced to have all-new Wireless mics, then it was announced that they would be out in late 2007 when the game release set for early in the year. Well the game is out in December 2007 as you would be aware, and the wireless mics have been delayed. Expect them to be released in 2008 - with a price still to be set. So what do you get with this game then? Well SingStar on PS3 actually ships with the same USB microphones found on the PS2 versions of SingStar - so if you have the mics already, just buy the disc version of SingStar on PS3 and save your money.

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Note the slight layout changes (eg the scores).
In the slim chance that you are unaware SingStar is Sony Europe's karaoke game. Using the original songs (not dodgy remakes), and the original video clips, the game scores you according to the pitch of your voice. Game modes from the PS2 versions of the game remain intact. The single player modes allow you to select a song and sing either a long or short version to see how many points you can rack up. If you want to practice without scoring you can enter the Freestyle Mode.

As with all iterations of the game the most fun is had when you hit the multi-player modes. This is split up into three sections; Pass the Mic, Battle and Duet. Pass the Mic is a party styled game for up to 8-players and sees gamers having to pass the mic from one player to another in a series of challenge - certainly fantastic entertainment if everyone is keen to play, but just watch that your mics don't start flying around the room! The battle mode allows two players to sing the same song at the same time, the person with the highest score is declared the victor. Finally we have the Duet for 2-players which sees each player singing a different part of the song. Less competitive, but just as entertaining.

Typically at this point I would tell you that the track listing is vital to the quality of the disc, but that is somewhat diluted with this release due to the ability to download as many tracks as you wish from the SingStore (for a small fee - more on that soon). Anyway here's the 30 tracks that you get on this disc which has enough variety to please most fans:
The Automatic - Monster
Blink-182 - All The Small Things
Blur - Coffee & TV
Britney Spears - Toxic
The Cardigans - Lovefool
Coldplay - Fix You
The Fratellis - Chelsea Dagger
Gorillaz - Feel Good, Inc.
Gwen Stefani - Cool
Junior Senior - Move Your Feet
The Killers - Mr. Brightside
Macy Gray - I Try
Musical Youth - Pass The Dutchie
Ne-Yo - So Sick
Orson - No Tomorrow
OutKast - Hey Ya!
Primal Scream - Movin' On Up
The Pussycat Dolls - Beep
Radiohead - No Surprises
Razorlight - America
R.E.M. - Losing My Religion
Robbie Williams & Nicole Kidman - Something Stupid
Scissor Sisters - I Don't Feel Like Dancin'
The Stone Roses - She Bangs The Drums
Supergrass - Alright
Twisted Sister - We're Not Gonna Take It
U2 - Beautiful Day
Weezer - Buddy Holly
Wolfmother - Love Train
The Zutons - Valerie

Certainly the biggest change from the PS2 version of this game is the online connectivity. The first big selling point is the ability to download new tracks and incorporate them into the actual game. Launch day saw 41 tracks available in the store for $AU2.45 each - quite the bargain in our book. The only problem is that at the moment many of these clips are available in PS2 titles, and they are only available in Standard Definition. We expect that in future High Definition clips will also be available.

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Customising the background themes.
The online component isn't just about downloading the music though as Sony have built an entire community to get involved with. You can set up a profile about yourself, and the game will record your high score. You can view everyone else's profile online, and also look at their media. Speaking of which it is possible to, though the Playstation's camera, take a photo of yourself (or your group of friends) or even record your performances to put online. New items can also be purchased including themes for the game (it is possible to change the look of the game with new background images and theme music which is a nice touch and while the game provides around a dozen on the disc, others can be purchased for a couple of dollars). The only thing missing from the online connectivity is the ability to compete online. Perhaps Sony will look at that in future - although lag could be an issue.

So let's talk about the issues we have with SingStar on the PS3, and there are a couple. Sony have obviously had a bit of an issue with this game in terms of licensing. Indeed the American version has been delayed until 2008 so Sony can get the correct rights to release the game. Another issue is that Sony promised 300+ songs would be available for download on the SingStar Store from day 1, however on launch day only 41 songs were available. We expect this number to increase rapidly and, theoretically, this game could see updates for several years to come. We suspect the problem was that Sony had the rights to the songs for the PS2 but not PS3, nor for downloads.

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Downloading now plays a major part.
Another disappointment is that despite the massive boost in processing power PS3 SingStar still does not recognise actual lyrics being sung - you can still hum at the right pitch to rack up the scores. Finally in terms of online content I was very disappointed to see that users can only upload 30 second clips from PSEye recordings while singing. I could live with that if you could select the 30 seconds of your performance to post online, but you're stuck with a PS3 selection.

Graphically the first thing that hits you about SingStar is simply that the presentation is so slick. The interface and menus have been totally reworked, and on a HDTV look simply stunning. As I mentioned it is possible to change themes which is a nice touch - one of them has more then a resemblance to a Paramount Sci-Fi TV show which we loved. The font is clear and easy to read while the online video clips from other SingStar players are also pretty good quality.

Having said that the video clips on the Blu-Ray disc are a little more of a disappointment. Yes, they are certainly much, much better quality then those in the PS2 version of the game, but these certainly aren't great 'Blu-Ray' quality and lack some of the finer details, even on the newest of clips. Downloadable clips are also quite variable in quality - at this stage we can only download clips in Standard Definition - each of which is between approximately 60 and 80Mb in size.

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Selecting tracks by genre.
As expected the audio in this title is largely limited by the source material, and yet again the clips are in Stereo Sound. Quality - as expected - is quite dependent on the source material. Besides that the menu music is nice enough.

What we have here with the first SingStar on the Playstation 3 is the groundwork for what will certainly become a key franchise on the system. On some counts I'm a little disappointed that the developers didn't push the envelope a little more, but on the other hand the series has become so refined over the years that any radical changes could have hurt it. Scoring this game is also extremely tough as the disc component is only a part of the potential for this game. Let's hope Sony makes the online experience - which, for us, has been tremendous so far - the key to this title.

Review By: Dave Warner

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GRAPHICSThank goodness for HD, this looks ultra slick, although the clips could be higher quality.
82%
SOUNDIt's Singstar. Clean music, nice menu music.
87%
GAMEPLAYStill no lyric recognition, and some other disappointments, but this is SingStar through and through.
90%
VALUEAt $AU49.95 for 30 songs it's great value, downloadable songs from $2.45. Could have been more on the disc, but we're happy with the selection.
83%
OVERALLSingStar on the PS3 is, as a standalone product worth 85%. If Sony provide regular, good quality, updates online for minimal charges then the overall score should be even higher!
85%

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