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December 13, 2009
SingStar Motown - PS3 Review
Release Distributor Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
17/9/2009SonySonySCEE1-8None
Media HDD Space Resolution Sound Format Tilt Controls OFLC Rating
Disc5MB1080pDD5.1NoG
Note: As much of this release (such as the SingStore and certain game modes) is identical to that of the original some sections of this review have been recycled.

According to Dictionary.com Motown is defined as "an upbeat, often pop-influenced style of rhythm and blues associated with the city of Detroit and with numerous black vocalists and vocal groups since the 1950s and characterized by compact, danceable arrangements." Primarily this style of music is associated with music up until the late 1970's so it's probably a release your parents will love, but we can guarantee that you'll know the majority of these classic songs too.

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 where available, the game scores your performance according to the pitch of your voice compared to the original tracks. The PS3 versions of SingStar remain quite similar to the PS2 titles in many regards. Single player modes sees you selecting a song and singing either a long or short version with the goal being to obtain the highest score. If you want to practice these songs without scoring you can enter a Freestyle Mode.

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Lionel Richie with 'My Destiny' in SingStar Motown.
As with all iterations of SingStar the most fun is had when you hit the multi-player modes. These modes include Pass the Mic, Battle, Duet and Harmony 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. The third mode here is the Duet for 2-players which sees each player singing a different part of the song. The Harmony Duet mode allows players to sing different lines to a song at the same time. All of these modes are very entertaining.

As with any SingStar release your love, or hate of this package will come down to the tracks included on the disc, however that pain is somewhat diluted with the PS3 releases due to the ability to download as many tracks as you wish from the SingStore (for a small fee - more on that soon). Anyway let's have a look at the thirty songs included on the SingStar Motown disc...

David Ruffin - Put A Little Love In Your Heart
Diana Ross & The Supremes - Reflections
Jimmy Ruffin - What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted
Lionel Richie - My Destiny
Martha Reeves & The Vandellas - Jimmy Mack
Martha Reeves & The Vandellas - Nowhere To Run
Marvin Gaye - Let's Get It On
Marvin Gaye - What's Going On?
Marvin Gaye & Kim Weston - It Takes Two
Mary Wells - My Guy
Rick James - Super Freak
Smokey Robinson - Being With You
Smokey Robinson And The Miracles - The Tracks Of My Tears
Stevie Wonder - For Once in My Life
The Commodores - Brick House
The Commodores - Easy
The Contours - Do You Love Me
The Four Tops - Reach Out I'll Be There
The Isley Brothers - This Old Heart Of Mine (Is Weak For You)
The Jackson 5 - ABC
The Miracles - Love Machine
The Supremes - You Can't Hurry Love
The Temptations - Get Ready
The Temptations - Papa Was A Rollin' Stone
The Velvelettes - Needle In A Haystack
The Four Tops - I Can't Help Myself (Sugarpie Honeybunch) *
The Jackson 5 - I Want You Back *
Martha Reeves & The Vandellas - Dancing In The Street *
Marvin Gaye - I Heard It Through The Grapevine *
The Supremes - Stop In The Name Of Love *

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We do love singing Marvin Gaye.
Having played the game for a while now we have to honestly say that despite loving so many of these songs, they don't make the best karaoke songs for the most part. Still we must say we loved singing to Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, and The Temptations, but we found that The Jackson 5, which we initially thought would be a favourite, is frustratingly hard actually. Again, if you've bought songs from the SingStore in other releases they will appear in the track listing in this release and if this is your first purchase in the franchise you do have full access to the SingStore to expand your library. The SingStore is now crammed with hundreds of downloadable songs for $2.45 each.

SingStar Motown's 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 such as photos, audio and video. 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). Sadly there still isn't any online gameplay.

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SingStar Motown looks fairly decent.
As you would be aware one of our biggest complaints with previous games in the series on PS3 was the lack of wireless microphones, something which Sony remedied some time ago now, and they work a treat. Another ongoing disappointment is that despite the massive boost in processing power PS3 over the PS2 SingStar Motown still does not recognise actual lyrics being sung - you can still hum at the right pitch to rack up the scores.

If you've seen any of the SingStar titles on PS3 then you should know what to expect from this game in terms of visuals with some very slick looking menus and interface, with easy navigation, album covers on the songs, and video clips playing while you're singing. Given that the vast majority of the video clips were made well over a decade ago their visual quality is somewhat variable. Perhaps more disappointing is that the video clips - which we assume were mostly framed in 4:3 back in the day - have been cropped with some of the image being lost on the top and bottom. Oh yar, we're still waiting for those HD video clips too - either on the disc, or downloadable.

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Mary Wells singing the classic 'My Guy'.
As with all SingStar releases the audio is presented in Stereo sound, there really is no point remixing older tracks to give them more zing, you'll likely cause more harm then good. Other audio such as menu effects are slick.

I have to be pretty brutally honest here and say that while we hoped SingStar Motown would be one of the best SingStar releases, and on paper it looks very good, it actually doesn't quite come off too well as many of the songs are quite hard to sing, and we're not as familiar with many tracks as we thought. Still if you love Motown music and Sony's karaoke franchise this is still another solid release.

Review By: Dave Warner

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GRAPHICSNaturally there are super slick menus, but the video clip quality is variable (which is understandable given their age though).
80%
SOUNDThe music is fairly clear given the age, menus are slick as always.
82%
GAMEPLAYThe gameplay, game modes, impressive and disappointing elements are carried over from previous titles. In terms of actual songs some are not as "karaoke-friendly" as we expected.
74%
VALUEThere's 30 tracks on this disc, and you can bump up your library through the Singstore for a few dollars a song.
80%
OVERALLSingStar Motown is basically another track pack for Sony's SingStar franchise but with somewhat questionable quality. Still, this offers the same features as other releases and is still a solid product.
78%

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