Sept 18, 2007
Despite what Britney Spears' disastrous MTV Awards performance would have you believe, karaoke is both fun and easy, making it a near-perfect form of entertainment. Sony's SingStar games and their Konami-published cousins, the Karaoke Revolution series, stand as super-fun proof of this. Having said that, the more different PS2 Singstars Sony belts out, the more we can't wait for the PlayStation 3 version. These PS2 versions are always great, but technologically, we're dying for the franchise to take the next logical step.
The basics are, as always, nearly perfect, like pink jelly shoes with a matching headband. One or two players grab a microphone, a song starts playing, usually with the accompanying official music video, and you sing along in the proper pitch and rhythm to either acclaim or shame, depending upon your skill level. It's a gameplay paradigm Sony and Konami have been exploring and refining for years, and they've pretty much nailed it.
Granted, it doesn't always realize you've completely blanked on the words and started singing your shopping list instead, but if the pitch and cadence are right, you'll make it through. You'll be a doofus, because the words are right there onscreen, but the game will forgive you.
This collection is the first to focus solely on '80s music, and as such, it almost completely corrects the biggest flaw of previous games in the series: song lists so varied that no one could possibly really want to sing more than half of the tunes on a given disc. There are still only 30 or so tracks - not a lot compared to Karaoke Revolution's 40-50+ tunes (though they're both equally varied and re-recordings instead of originals), but the tighter emphasis on one particular era - the '80s - gives it a much more uniform personality. Aside from a few rockers from the likes of hair bands Twisted Sister and Europe, this is almost entirely focused upon pop and synth-pop. Overall, if you listened to Top 40 radio in the '80s, you'll know and love at least 80% of these.
That said, many readers will note that this newfound precision creates a new flaw: if you don't dig the '80s tunes, there is nothing - repeat: nothing - for you here. We can't dock the game's score for that, because it would be like complaining that a racing game lacks shooting sections, but potential buyers should be aware.
This is also the bit where we remind you that this will all be fixed in the PS3 version, which we're told will enable players to download songs one at a time, choosing exactly the tracks you want. All '80s? No problem. All rock, regardless of era? A little of everything? It can do that too.
Similarly, it's cool that you can hook up an EyeToy and record yourself; if only the PS2 had a supported hard-drive and higher resolution EyeToy camera - like the PS3 will have. And wouldn't it be cool if you could edit, save and upload your videos to the internet, complete with visual effects and filters? Yeah - that's almost positively going to be in the PS3 version. Until then, the '80s will live on - even if you have to ask your parents what some of the songs are.