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July 19, 2008
SingStar Volume 2 - PS3 Review
Release Distributor Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
Media HDD Space Resolution Sound Format Tilt Controls OFLC Rating
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.

SingStar. During the life of the PS2, which continues to this day we might add, the one franchise we played more then any others was Sony Europe karaoke game. SingStar is the perfect late night entertainment, the drunker you are, the more fun it can be, but serious singers can have a great time too. When the PS3 was announced there was little surprise to see that SingStar was to feature prominently in the line-up. The first game, simply called SingStar, had many enhancements over the PS2 games, not least of which was online connectivity, and this second release amps it up even further - although there's still no wireless mics to be seen!

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Paul McCartney & the Frog Chorus.
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. The PS3 versions of SingStar remain quite similar to the PS2 titles in nearly every regard. Single player modes see you selecting a song and sing in either a long or short version with the goal being to score the highest number of points. If you want to practice these songs without scoring you can enter a Freestyle Mode.

As with all iterations of the game the most fun is had when you hit the multi-player modes. In previous games 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. The third mode here is the Duet for 2-players which sees each player singing a different part of the song. Less competitive, but just as entertaining.

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Can you believe it? Eminem in SingStar!
We did say that there were three sections in previous games because SingStar Volume 2 adds an all-new fourth mode to the mix; the Harmony Duet mode. This allows players to sing different lines to a song at the same time. In order to get the best out of this mode the game has several tracks which perfect represent this including Kool and the Gang: Celebration, Paul McCartney & the Frog Chorus: We all Stand Together and The Mamas & The Papas: California Dreamin'.

As with any game of this nature your love, or hate of this package will often come down to the tracks included on the disc, however 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:

Aerosmith - Dude Looks Like a Lady
Blur - Country House
Bobby Brown - My Prerogative
Eminem - Without Me
George Michael - Freedom '90
Gorillaz - Dare
Gossip - Standing in the Way of Control
Hot Chocolate - You Sexy Thing
Kaiser Chiefs - Ruby
Kool and the Gang - Celebration
The Lovin' Spoonful - Summer in the City
Maximo Park - Our Velocity
Morrisey - Suedehead
Nirvanna - Lithium
Panic! At The Disco - But It's Better If You Do
Pulp - Common People
Paul McCartney & the Frog Chorus - We All Stand Together
Radiohead - Street Spirit (Fade Out)
Shakespears Sister - Stay
Spandau Ballet - TRUE
The Cure - Pictures of You
The Killers - When You Were Young
The Libertines - Can't Stand Me Now
The Mamas and The Papas - California Dreamin'
The Offspring - Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)
The Police - Don't Stand So Close To Me
The Proclaimers - I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)
Tom Jones with Mousse T - Sexbomb
Tone Loc - Funky Cold Medina
Young MC - Bust A Move

As with the first PS3 release the track selection here is very impressive with a great range of songs covering almost all genres and eras of music. We have to admit that we loved belting out Funky Cold Medina, California Dreamin', Dude Looks Like a Lady and Without Me. Impressively, if you've bought songs for the first release from the SingStore you will see them appear in this game, and of course you can still buy any of the hundreds of tracks available in the SingStore bring the track listing up to, well, whatever your budget will allow.

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Visually the game matches the original PS3 title.
SingStar'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 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. Sadly while we hoped this would be added in future, this isn't the case for Volume 2.

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The Gorillaz clip is pretty cool.
Sadly the biggest problem, or perhaps more accurately - disappointment, we have with SingStar Vol. 2 is that we still don't have any wireless microphones which were promised well before the first game was released. 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. Fortunately the SingStore is now crammed with hundreds of downloadable songs for $2.45 each and this is well up on the 41 songs available at launch for the original PS3 SingStar.

Another ongoing 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 connectivity users can still only upload 30 second clips from PSEye recordings while singing, and there's still no option to select the clip to be uploaded.

If you've seen the first SingStar on the PS3 then you'll know exactly what to expect from this game graphically. If you've only played the PS2 titles then prepare for something very special. The HD menus and interface are absolutely gorgeous and on a HDTV this game looks second to none in terms of interface. Certainly the integration between the offline and online games are seamless visually.

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Kool and the Gang with their hit Celebration.
The one disappointment with the visuals is, despite all the shouting about High Definition, the video clips themselves are only presented in Standard Definition. That's a little jarring, but somewhat understandable for older clips. For newer clips though it is very disappointing. It must also be pointed out that downloadable clips are also only in Standard Definition, with no HD option available, even for a higher price.

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.

This second release on the PS3 is well worth adding to your collection even if you own the first title. SingStar Volume 2 takes the series to new levels with great online integration including the SingStore. Superb.

Review By: Dave Warner

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GRAPHICSVideo clips aren't in HD, the overall graphical presentation is superb.
SOUNDIt's Singstar. Clean music, nice menu music, nice effects.
GAMEPLAYStill no lyric recognition, a impressive new Harmony mode, and great SingStar gameplay.
VALUEA bump up to $AU59.95 for 30 songs ($10 dearer then the original) still makes this great value. SingStore increases value considerably.
OVERALLSingStar Vol. 2 adds in a new game mode, and 30 new songs. Now that the online components are up and running this is a brilliant addition to any PS3 library.

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