SingStar has been the definitive video game karaoke experience for quite some time. The series has sold millions of copies around the world, while leaving all of its imitators in the dust. Though Steff and I are no strangers to video game karaoke, we’ve never actually played SingStar until recently, when she picked up SingStar Vol. 2 for the PlayStation 3. Was the game the perfect center-stage for our duets, or were we a few years too late to the party?
I get the impression that Sony has the SingStar formula down to a science. Everything about the game felt extremely polished. Navigating the user interface was smooth, even when using the nifty voice controls. Steff loved having the ability to navigate through all the songs without having to touch the controller. The set list feels purposely compiled to ensure that everyone can find something they want to sing. Steff’s favourite moments of the evening were when we sang Elton John and Kiki Dee’s “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” and when I spat hot fire to Young MC’s “Bust a Move”.
If you want to build onto your set list, you can do so by purchasing songs through the in-game SingStore or by purchasing other SingStar discs. We browsed through the store and were impressed to find over 1,000 available tracks, which can go a long way to building a music catalogue with all of your favourites. As for the discs, the game doesn’t support song exporting like Rock Band or Guitar Hero, but it does have a system in place to make disc-swapping easier.
Once you’re actually singing songs, everything felt top-notch. It’s awesome to have the actual music videos in there, which goes a long way in making the presentation of SingStar very professional. The in-game interface also made it easy to follow the lyrics and the pitch you should be singing in. I noticed that the game has a different way of tracking rap parts, but I didn’t play enough rap songs to understand how that system works. In any case, Steff and I had a great time singing duets to songs we knew (and didn’t know) without thinking about anything else.
The one other feature worth noting is the community aspect of SingStar. Within the game’s interface, you can view images and videos of others playing SingStar, as well as upload your own. From there, you can rate and review anything. We spent a good 45 minutes or so just browsing through the Hall of Fame content. It was neat to see all of the different things people do with that game and those video editing tools. Our favourite videos were the ones that featured little kids going nuts.
After a few hours of playing it, Steff gave SingStar Vol. 2 her seal of approval. She’s now looking to expand her set list through the other discs in the series and maybe download some SingStore tracks too. As a karaoke experience, SingStar is about as solid as it gets. If you’re tastes lie only with rock or rap, you may be better served by Rock Band or Def Jam: Rapstar, but SingStar seems to be the go-to choice for everything else.