The first time I actually played this game (as opposed to putting it in the machine and going ahhh at the high-def interface and ridiculously good-looking scene kids), I lasted all of ten minutes. I then announced it was boring and we were going to play Singstar Legends instead, and spent the rest of the night belting out ‘You’re The Voice’ until someone patted me kindly on the shoulder and told me everyone else had gone home.
Singstar PS3 has been a long time coming for us ‘lifestyle gamers’, and we wanted it to announce its arrival with a bang. However, if you slip the disc in for the first time, you’ll see it really is more of the same. You sing into the microphones and follow the little blips and watch the music video of Britney Spears before everything went horribly wrong. You’ll play the battle mode in the same way, the duet mode in the same way, and pass the mic in the same way. The interface is different, but only superficially – pressing the start button takes you to a new and simplified menu, the songs are now alphabetized at the side of the screen, and mini-music videos have taken the place of cover art. But really, don’t expect a hell of a lot of change to the ‘Singstar Experience’. You’ll sing. You’ll be drunk.
What IS different, and what makes the game worth its purchase price, is the addition of the Singstore. Hook your machine up online and all of a sudden you’re not stuck with the usual 30 tracks; you’ve got the option of downloading your own tracks from a much larger library. Choosing your own songs and having them stored on your hard drive makes Singstar PS3 a much more personalized experience – no longer will you be stuck with an uneasy mix of duds and winners. Hell, your entire tracklist could comprise of only 90s grunge or gay ballads (call my PS3 for a good time, baby.)
This makes the Singstore comparable to iTunes, albeit with a smaller pool of songs to choose from. There were disappointingly only 40(ish) songs to download upon the game’s release, although Sony has promised more to be added on a regular basis. Let’s hope they do, because at this stage purchasing the game is rather more of a sensible investment for the future than a fun new toy. Folks are also bound to complain about the $2.90 asking price per song, racking up around $90 for 30 tracks. I dispute this, considering the songs you download you know you’ll actually play, as opposed to buying a full disc for a lesser price but being stuck with such tragedies as ‘Paid In Full’ by Eric B and Rakim (Very good point! – Ed). Just try not to get the credit card out after a few beers.
The other brand spankin’ new online feature is ‘My Singstar’, a social network that is going to introduce a whole new level of the phenomenon known as ‘Karaoke Regret’. My Singstar enables you to build an online profile where you can post your high scores, rate other performers and, oh God, share your ‘best performances’, both in audio and visual (if you own the Playstation Eye) format. Currently My Singstar has a noticeable lack of members, but again, its potential is huge. Hopefully some of the recording problems will be sorted out as it gains more momentum – right now you can only download 30 seconds of random performance, as opposed to the whole thing or a particular hilarious highlight.
Of course, you could ignore all this online stuff and concentrate on the offline tracks you get with the disc. There’s not a hell of a lot of point to this as the tracklist is nothing particularly special. All the songs have been released within the last couple of decades (so there’s nothing for Grandpops to really get excited about come Christmas day), and it’s a bit of a confused mishmash of mega anthems, upbeat pop hits and The Pussycat Dolls. Nonetheless, there are still a few delights; Musical Youth’s ‘Pass The Dutchie’ is bound to please, as will Twisted Sister’s ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’. And of course there’ll always be some soulful killjoy who’ll get a kick out of Radiohead’s bleak ‘No Surprises’ and ‘Fix You’ By Coldplay. On the whole it’s probably another case of trying to please everybody while not really pleasing anybody, but you’re really not going to buy this game for these thirty songs. You’re going to buy it because Sony has given us Karaoke, mixed it with iTunes and Myspace, and has a hunch we’re going to take all this and add a healthy lug of frivolity and alcohol. If we’re willing to invest in this recipe for a good time (and social suicide), then Singstar’s future has never looked brighter.
BLINK 182 – All The Small Things
BLUR – Coffee And TV
BRITNEY SPEARS – Toxic
COLDPLAY – Fix You
GORILLAZ – Feel Good Inc.
GWEN STEFANI – Cool
JUNIOR SENIOR – Move Your Feet
MACY GRAY – I Try
MUSICAL YOUTH – Pass The Dutchie
NE-YO – So Sick
ORSON – No Tomorrow
OUTKAST – Hey Ya!
PRIMAL SCREAM – Movin’ On Up
PUSSYCAT DOLLS – Beep
RADIOHEAD – No Surprises
RAZORLIGHT – America
REM – Losing My Religion
ROBBIE WILLIAMS AND NICOLE KIDMAN – Something Stupid
SCISSOR SISTERS – I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’
SUPERGRASS – Alright
THE AUTOMATIC – Monster
THE CARDIGANS – Love Fool
THE FRATELLIS – Chelsea Dagger
THE KILLERS – Mr Brightside
THE STONE ROSES – She Bangs The Drums
THE ZUTONS – Valerie
TWISTED SISTER – We’re Not Gonna Take It
U2 – Beautiful Day
WEEZER – Buddy Holly
WOLFMOTHER – Love Train