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Nov. 23 2014
SingStar: Ultimate Party - PS4 Review
Release Distributer Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
Version HDD Install Resolution Touchpad PS4 Exclusive OFLC Rating

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Singstar is out now on PS4.
When SingStar first released in 2007 Sony' karaoke game became an instant hit and Sony were soon releasing several versions every year focusing on different genres or artists (Motown, Queen, Wiggles, Pop to name a few) but then around 4 years ago it stopped. Sony forced SingStar onto each PS3 console, pissed off a lot of non-fans in the process, and pushed new songs through online purchases. The good was that it allowed gamers to pick and choose their songs and not be forced into bundles, but it also took away the franchises retail presence making it a "dead" franchise to many.

Now, with the PS4 in millions of homes, Sony are revising the disc based release with SingStar: Ultimate Hits - which is interesting as the main program has also been released on the PlayStation Store as a free App - albeit with no songs whereas with Ultimate Hits the disc includes 30 songs to get you started.

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Pharrell Williams' Happy is included with Singstar: Ultimate Party.
Playing this game is simple, select a track - either one of the 30 on the disc, or one purchase and downloaded through the Playstation Store, and then sing your heart out and try to hit all the right notes as shown on the screen. Sadly, and as with previous releases the game doesn't actually check your words, so you can still hum or buzz or squeal your way through the songs and obtain a reasonable score.

As we've said in every review of a SingStar title the releases' worth is determined by the track list which is a little less critical now that Sony have the SingStore where you can purchase your favourite additional tracks. Anyway this is what to expect on the Ultimate Party release...

5 Seconds of Summer – She Looks So Perfect
Avicii – Hey Brother
Bridgit Mendler – Ready Or Not
Carly Rae Jepsen – Call Me Maybe
Clean Bandit Feat. Jess Glynne – Rather Be
Coldplay - Magic
Demi Lovato – Let It Go
Disclosure Feat. AlunaGeorge – White Noise
Ed Sheeran – Lego House
Ellie Goulding – Burn
Icona Pop Feat. Charli XCX – I Love It
John Newman – Love Me Again
Kylie Minogue – Can’t Get You Out Of My Head
Lady Gaga – Born This Way
Lionel Richie – Hello
Lorde – Royals
Naughty Boy Feat. Sam Smith – La La La
Olly Murs – Dear Darlin’
One Direction – Best Song Ever
One Republic – Counting Stars
P!nk Feat. Nate Ruess – Just Give Me A Reason
Paramore – Still Into You
Pet Shop Boys & Dusty Springfield – What Have I Done To Deserve This?
Pharrell Williams – Happy
Plan B – She Said
Selena Gomez – Come And Get It
Swedish House Mafia Feat. John Martin – Don’t You Worry Child
The Lumineers – Ho Hey
TLC – No Scrubs
Train – Drive By

It's not a bad bunch of songs by any stretch of the imagination and it covers most genres, but remains fairly pop or dance based overall. We're sure younger females will love Let It Go which was in the film Frozen, while P!nk is sure to be a hit with Australian fans and older gamers will enjoy Lionel Richie.

Certainly the biggest change/addition to this game is the ability to download a SingStar app for your Smartphone - be it iOS or Android based - and use that as your microphone. In fact, we don't believe this release even has a bundle with microphones anywhere in the world, but the release does work with the old PS3 mics if you have then lying around anywhere.

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Transfer songs, although the selection is limited.
But that's about all the positives as we now hit the negatives, and there are a lot of them. First up revolves around the gameplay, or indeed the game modes. Gone is the Duet Mode, Pass the Mic is also missing as is Party Mode. Let's face it, karaoke is a fun group based event, but this release has seen the removal of al the best game modes from the PS3 releases. Given they have been in there for, ohh, probably 5 years now, it's in excusable. Also inexcusable is the fact that you can't actually hear the person singing into the mics (or Smartphone) through the speakers. The developers have set the volume so low it's inaudible, and unlike past games, there is no option to turn up the volume. Speaking of the Smartphone App too, it's pretty basic and has indeed lost connection a few times during our playtime - and before you ask we have a pretty rock-solid wireless setup.

The biggest misfire for this release is the song catalogue. In theory you should be able to re-download songs purchased online for the PS3, but there are a lot missing. Perhaps the will be added over time, but Sony have cited licensing issues for the lack of available tracks (the company licensed them for use on PS3, but they can't be used on PS4). Bizarrely too, when you do look at a song to purchase on PS4 there's a statement down the bottom of song info that it is intended for use with a PS3 system - ermm, so should we buy it or not?

Even worse then that, those that paid for all those PS3 SingStar disc- based releases - and by our count that's at least a dozen releases with around 30 songs each - have no way to import the songs into the PS4, or even insert the PS3 disc to run the songs off them. What a doozey - 300+ songs and you can't play a single one of them!

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People in the background are seemingly having fun, but you won't!
From a visual standpoint SingStar: Ultimate Party looks pretty slick with a gorgeous 1080p resolution on the PlayStation 4 - which isn't unexpected given the majority of the game, besides the music video clips, resides within the menus. The music video clips themselves are pretty good, but some of the older clips naturally aren't as sharp as the newer clips. The overlays showing the notes you have to hit, and your current pitch, are as slick as expected.

Sonically the game is dominated by the track list which is detailed above, but of course this library can be expanded to suit your own musical tastes. Unfortunately for a karaoke game, to not really allow you to hear your own voice, is a pretty big mistake that needs to be addressed.

As a longtime fan of Singstar this release is nothing short of disappointing and probably a good reason why Sony remained very muted about its release. The only bright side we see here is that the release is available for only $35, but with a lack of game modes, lack of ability to import or purchase tracks, and no microphone volume there is little reason to move on from the PS3 versions. Bitterly disappointing.

Review By: Dave Warner

GRAPHICSSlick presentation, with nice videos, but somewhat confusing menu structure with random people all over it.
SOUNDIt's Singstar, it has songs and your own terrible singing. Strangely though the microphone volume is so low you can't actually hear the person singing. What the hell Sony?
GAMEPLAYOf course song selection is a personal preference, but in terms of gameplay and modes, there's less here then previous (read: PS3) releases. In fact, it's completely devoid of the best modes from the last-gen games!
VALUEIt's cheap, but without the ability to import PS3 discs, or re-download many purchased tracks, and with game modes missing it's a release that feels very underdone.
OVERALLDespite my love for this franchise, Singstar: Ultimate Party was disappointing - underdeveloped, lacking functionality and tiring. If you've never owned a PS3 and want to get in on the karaoke experience, just wait for Sony to develop a game on par with the PS3 titles.

Talk about Singstar: Ultimate Party in this forum topic now.