Games for Lunch: SingStar Vol. 2
Developer: SCE London Studios
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Release Date: May 20, 2008
ESRB Rating: T
Official Web site
0:00 Some days you just feel like singing, and this is one of those days for me. I doubt it'll be much different than the first PS3 SingStar volume I reviewed, but at least the songs will be fresher.
0:09 These first minutes were spent digging through my closet, looking for my SingStar microphones and EyeToy PS3 camera. I know this isn't the game's fault, but it's true, so I'll include it in the count.
0:10 A 55 MB update to "version 4.10" is available, apparently. The only listed upgrade is "Polish is now a language option," but on the off chance there's something else important, let's download it.
0:15 During the initial loading, the game zooms in on specific buttons on a 3-D model of the controller, describing what each one does in about 50 bazillion languages. Then a Latina and what looks like her grandmother sing along to Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now". The sing-along video cuts to young sisters in red polka dots, a blonde girl in pigtails, a teen with her grandfather, and two "rapper" types, all singing along badly but seemingly having a great time. The video eventually goes slow-mo, showing their hair flying everywhere as they gyrate. At the end, the video gets four stars from an unseen rater, and zooms out to reveal a video mosaic making the SingStar logo. Captures the feeling of the game pretty well.
0:19 Scanning the song list. There's a few decent ones, but mostly I'm surprised by the sheer number of songs I don' recognize. I guess I'm getting old ... ooh, "California Dreamin'"! Done!
0:20 I love how the two vocal parts for the song are labeled "Papa" and "Mama." I choose Mama because I'm told I have a beautiful falsetto. I'll play on Medium difficulty to warm up.
0:23 Wow, this is a fun song to sing solo. I quickly fall into a nice call-and-response groove with the voice on the TV, drowning out Mama Cass with my wailing. I like the timer at bottom that shows how much of the song is left, and the little "Harmony" indicator for when I'm expected to sing harmonized notes. In the end, I'm a "Hit Artist" with 6672 "notes" points, 100 "golden notes" and 1662 points of "line bonus."
0:24 Apparently those little camera icons that appeared in the corner weren't just taking pictures, but short two-second videos of "Golden Moments." They all capture long notes, which sound completely awful out of context. The 20-second clip, taken near the beginning, sounds better. But man, I'm just standing there. Why aren't I having as much fun as those people in the intro video? Oh, right ... there's no one else here.
0:30 The Shins' "New Slang" is the only other "must sing" song I can find. I don't know the words all that well, but I get by on my knowledge of the notes. Still, I don't like having to look to the bottom of the screen for the words while the note tubes are way up in the middle. Makes it hard to adjust my pitch on the fly. 7732 points gets me a "Lead Singer" rating.
0:31 Grrr... I accidentally skipped the video playback, and now it's lost forever. I did a nice microphone-swinging move in there, just for the EyeToy, too. *pout*
0:32 Sheesh ... the one Gnarls Barkley song on this list is one I don't know. And the only Weezer song is the awful "Beverly Hills." So close ... and yet so far.
0:37 Lit's "Completely Miserable" takes me back to the late '90s, with its video images of a scantily clad giant woman. At one point I get into it enough to look away from the screen and scream into the microphone with a rock-god pose. I don't even notice that the game has been recording me for 15 seconds. I hit almost every note in the song, except for the "yeah yeah" refrain. Apparently I've been singing it about a half-note too low all these years. Who knew?!
0:39 I have way too much fun playing with the "Pitch Shift" function when listening to the audio recording of my performance. It goes all the way from Alvin and the Chipmunks to Barry White. Hee.
0:40 Wow, this song selection is disappointing. There are some OK songs, sure, but nothing I really NEED to play. I decide to stretch and try Grnals Barkley's "Run," despite not knowing the tune at all.
0:44 The notes appear and disappear so quickly in this one that I barely have time to adjust my pitch. I hide my lack of singing ability with lots of hammy dance moves for the camera. They end up looking much less cool in the playback than they did in my head. I'm feeling a bit silly for playing this alone, now...
0:47 A lot of these songs I'm tired of from Rock Band already.
0:50 I try Yael Naim's "New Soul," which I only know from that MacBook Air commercial. Apparently that's enough, as I make it through the melody quite easily while reading along to some truly odd lyrics. "This is a happy end"? Is Yael a Ghosts 'n Goblins fan?
0:51 My voice gave out a bit on that last song, so let's check out the Online section and see videos of other people embarrassing themselves.
0:53 Never mind ... "a system update is necessary," and it would surely take the rest of the hour. Let's go back to the '90s again and try Eminem's "Without Me" instead.
0:59 So I think I'm doing a pretty decent job of matching Em's pitch and rhythm as he raps. The game thinks otherwise, though, giving me "Okay" and "Awful" ratings seemingly at random. That's OK, though ... this is an increibly fun song to spit out to an empty room.
Would I play this game for more than an hour? No.
Why? One, my voice is already totally shot. Two, Rock Band has more, better songs and the option to play with other instruments.
This column is based on a retail copy of the game provided by the publisher eons ago..
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