Really - is there anything wrong with the tried and true method of using a hair brush and mirror? Well apparently in today’s modern age people demand more ways to get across their lack of singing ability. Luckily many take the SingStar path rather than trying out for Australian Idol.
SingStar has a successful, albeit not overly varied past. Originally released in 2004 the franchise has been a series of themed sequels with only the occasional jump in gameplay and platform to spice up the obvious attraction of the set list to potential karaokers around the world.
The latest iterations continue the trend with the quick-fire release of SingStar Pop and SingStar Queen.
SingStar Pop as per its PS2 forebear and namesake adds a selection of loosely defined "pop" songs to the SingStar mix.
But Pop is a broad category covering a range of era’s that this release attempts to straddle. The result is a limitation on what individuals may find in the way of enjoyable song selection. Whilst a typical gen-X SingStar party might be happy to warble away to Chris De Burgh’s "Lady in Red
" or "Livin’ On A Prayer
" by Bon Jovi, kids will want to belt out "So What!
" by Pink or "Black and Gold
" by Sam Sparro.
Better party results occur when everybody is on the same page, with a broad selection. Enter SingStar Queen - the best SingStar yet! Like SingStar ABBA released last year, Queen provides a homogenous list of content to keep fans happy for longer videogame party sessions.
Not only is there an element of extrovert strut required in emulating Queen front man Freddy Mercury, there is also the excellent Queen video clips to relive.
Whilst the PS2 version contains 20 Queen anthems, the PS3 version steps it up to 25 - though missing from the mix is "Flash
", which with its minimal vocal requirements, would have suited my singing skill level.
The rest of you divas - both male and female
- can let loose on the likes of "We Are The Champions
", "Bohemian Rhapsody
", "Radio Ga Ga
" and duet with Bowie on "Under Pressure
Both Pop and Queen on the PS3 feature enhanced online features and access to the PlayStation store to download more songs (1000 or more), or for the truly extrovert amongst you, upload a PlayStation Eye recording of your performance for others to wince at. Sony have also run talent contests via SingStar Online, so if a trip to the Australian Idol try outs goes awry, budding superstars have another outlet for their flair.
SingStar Pop Edition also includes a voice activation system to allow the selection of songs, searching through the carousel or SingStar Online shopping by simply speaking into the microphone. We found this wasn’t as responsive to Australian accents as we would have liked, but if you can get it to work, it saves picking up the controller.
Finally, the extra big news with the release of SingStar Pop Edition is the addition of new Wireless Microphones for the fans.
No longer will budding break-out performers be tethered to their PlayStations - this is fantastic in a game such as SingStar, where unlike Guitar Hero, keeping a bead on the screen action is not necessary. If you know the words to a song, why not as part of your performance, do some dance moves or cart-wheels?
The mics have a good weight to them, yet are a little too plasticy in feel compared to the original metal feel SingStar microphones. They are also a little slippery to hold, resulting in some damaging post cart-wheel accidents.
They do look great though, and though not improving my score in anyway, seemed responsive enough to record the accurate tones needed to score points in the game.
Individual scores: Pop 7 - Queen 8.3 - Wireless Microphones 8