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December 10, 2008
SingStar Volume 3 - PS3 Review
Release Distributor Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
20/11/2008SonySonySCEE1-8None
Media HDD Space Resolution Sound Format Tilt Controls OFLC Rating
Disc1053KB1080pDD5.1NoPG
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.

Like clockwork we have a new SingStar title for the PS3 - just in time for Christmas. In fact we have two with the recently reviewed SingStar Abba also coming out on the same day as this game. While that title focuses on a single band (yes - you guess it - Abba) SingStar Vol. 3 is a compilation disc with thirty tracks available to test your vocal chords, with plenty available on the SingStore as well.

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 nearly every regard. 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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Barry Manilow with Copacabana on SingStar.
As with all iterations of SingStar the most fun is had when you hit the multi-player modes. There are four modes in total here; Pass the Mic, Battle, Duet and Harmony Duey which was introduced in SingStar Vol. 2. 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 this disc then...

Aerosmith - Cryin'
Amy McDonald - This is the Life
Barry Manilow - Copacabana
Coldplay - Viva la Vida
Communards - Never Can Say Goodbye
David Bowie - Space Oddity
Deep Blue Something - Breakfast At Tiffany's
Dizzee Rascal Feat. Calvin Harris & Chrome - Dance Wiv Me
Fallout Boy - This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race
Feargal Sharkey - A Good Heart
Fergie - Big Girls Don't Cry
Gwen Stefani Feat. Acon - The Sweet Escape
Happy Mondays - Kinky Affro
Heaven 17 - Temptation
k.d.lang - Constant Craving
Kate Bush - Babushka
Leo Sayer - You Make Me Feel Like Dancing
Lionel Ritchie - All Night Long (All Night)
Michael Jackson - Billie Jean
Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder - Ebony & Ivory
Queen - Killer Queen
Sarah Bareilles - Love Song
Smashing Pumpkins - 1979
Take That - Could it be Magic
Texas - Say What You Want
The Ting Tings - Shut Up & Let me Go
Timberland Feat. Keri Hilson - The Way I Are
Timberland Feat. OneRepublic - Apologise
Transvision Vamp - Baby I Don't Care
Vampire Weekend - Oxford Comma

With a wide range of music styles covered in this release we know everyone is going to have their favourites. We were quite pleased to see Transvision Vamp make an appearance, but the real enjoyment on this disc was Billie Jean from Michael Jackson, Space Oddity from David Bowie, Ebony & Ivory from Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder and Killer Queen from Queen. Overall this is an impressive package with most songs instantly recognisable, and few 'UK-centric' songs on the disc. Again, if you've bought songs from the SingStore in other releases they are available here and you can purchase any of the several hundred songs for use with this disc.

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Checking out online media...
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). 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. Sadly there still isn't any online gameplay.

Sadly the biggest problem, or perhaps more accurately - disappointment, we have with SingStar Vol. 3 (as has been since the first PS3 game) is that we still don't have any wireless microphones which were promised well before the first game was released. Now that the XBox 360 karaoke game Lips has wireless mics we expect Sony to pick up their game here soon. All SingStar titles on PS3 ship with the same USB microphones found on the PS2 versions of SingStar - so if you have the mics from one of the PS2 games already, just buy the disc version on PS3 and save your money.

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.

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Visually the game matches the original PS3 title.
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. 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.

Now a year after the first SingStar release on the PS3 we actually expected Sony to be making bigger strides with the franchise. Where are the wireless mics? Where are the HD video clips? Where is the online gameplay? Where are the new game modes? Admittedly the track list on this release is great, but if you're looking for something new and fresh over previous PS3 versions you're going to be disappointed. If you're upgrading from PS2 then this will be a revelation.

Review By: Dave Warner

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GRAPHICSVideo clips aren't in HD, the overall graphical presentation is superb.
84%
SOUNDIt's Singstar. Clean music, nice menu music, nice effects.
85%
GAMEPLAYBasically the same game, and same modes, we've known for ages. Still, it remains entertaining.
80%
VALUE30 tracks on disc, but the real value comes in the Singstore where you can chose your favourites for a couple of dollars each.
80%
OVERALLSingStar Vol. 3 doesn't add anything new which is disappointing, but the 30 tracks here really are, for the most part, quite entertaining.
82%

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