Sept 18, 2007
The more different variations of its excellent SingStar karaoke series Sony slams 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, as solid as rock, be it musical, igneous, or sedimentary. 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 (with its Karaoke Revolution games) 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, that's more than Britney Spears can manage these days, isn't it? You're all right by us.
The problem then becomes what you don't get, rather than what you do. The biggest example of this is the song selection, which tries to please everyone and ends up being perfect for no one. Do Blink 182 fans like Talking Heads? Would fans of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs be caught dead singing Poison or Quiet Riot? If someone loves Blue Oyster Cult, what makes you think they give a crap about Fall Out Boy? 30 tracks isn't a lot compared to Karaoke Revolution's 40-50+ tunes (though they're similarly spastic and re-recordings instead of originals), but when so many are guaranteed not to be your style, it seems like even fewer.
Granted, it's a noble flaw (and a recurring one; previous SingStars have had the same problem), achieved in an attempt to appeal to a broad range of players, but it's a flaw nonetheless. But 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.
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, this will get you by, especially if you're throwing a party.