SingStar Pop ReviewCain Dornan
Karaoke has long made a home in parties and even at the local bar. Those of us who are outgoing have long spent humorous hours upon hours making complete fools of ourselves in front of a microphone, attempting to become the next Michael Jackson or Britney Spears. Naturally, it was only time before this addictive past time were to make a successful debut onto home consoles, and Sony has managed to successfully do it. Launching with their original karaoke game titled SingStar, Sony quickly attracted a new assortment of people who never, or very rarely, played games. Naturally, Sony soon brought a second title to the stage, titled SingStar: Party, which also experienced success, in particular throughout Australia and Europe. Just over a year since the original title hit our shelves, and Sony has released the third title in the series, aptly titled SingStar: Pop. If youre a fan of pop music, its likely that youll find plenty to like with SCEE London Studios developed title, which offers a serving of 30 old and new pop titles.
While more of a mere expansion pack than an actual fully-fledged title, SingStar: Pop offers exactly as the title suggests; a collection of songs that fall under the pop genre, ranging anywhere from a 2005 hit through to classics first released some 20 years ago. Apart from the lineup of songs, SingStar: Pop is essentially the same as its predecessors, making it only worthwhile to those who enjoyed the previous titles.
For those who are unaware of how SingStar works, heres the low down: each version of SingStar comes in two different packages, one containing two well-built, sturdy microphones that plug into a connector which, in turn, plugs into one the PS2s USB slots. SingStar works by capturing the tone of your voice and comparing it to a system that determines what tone of voice should be used during that particular part of the song. As such, it is possible to cheat simply by making noises in the right pitch, which can be used to cheat through battles. You receive points based on your singing skill, resulting in the central aim of the game being to achieve the highest score possible. Upon the completion of each song, you are ranked according to your performance, with comments ranging from tone deaf through to wannabe and even superstar commenting on your overall performance. Three difficult levels, ranging from easy through to hard, determines how accurately the game will grade you, with hard requiring you to be quite a good singer or skilled at making noises at the correct pitch.
Whilst the single player aspect of SingStar: Pop is enjoyable, the numerous multiplayer abilities are where the true attraction for SingStar is. Sing Solo is the central single player mode, allowing you to have your singing ranked in a single player environment.
Party, on the other hand, is the main multiplayer mode, offering a rather pleasing range of modes within. Pass the Mic allows for up to 8 players on two separate teams, participating in a range of singing activities. These activities range from the basic battle, which involves competing against each other for a higher point count, through to duet that involves singing different sections of the song together, and finally through to the more unique and humorous modes. The Party mode also offers the stock Battle and Duet modes, allowing you to play with either modes specifically.
The Freestyle mode is also available for those who do not wish to be scored on their singing talent, which is capable of being used in both a single player and multiplayer environment.
Finally, you are free to view the current rankings in the Charts section, which records all of your best performances on each individual song.
For each of the 30 songs included, the official music video is shown during battle, unless you choose to plug in your PS2s EyeToy USB camera. Its certainly pleasing to see connectivity between both of the PS2s most famed peripherals, as it provides for a humorous and humiliating experience as you attempt to sing whilst watching yourself on the television screen. The EyeToy is capable of creating various special effects as you sing, resulting in a range of effects that are often seen in music videos. The EyeToy can also record interesting moments during the song, known as EyeToy Golden Moments, which are accessible upon the completion of the song. This mode records short recordings that the EyeToy determines to be interesting actions, allowing for the playback of humorous moments.
The 30 tracks included in Singstar: Pop are as follows:
Savage Garden To the Moon and Back
The Spazzys My Boyfriends Back
The Dandy Warhols Bohemium Like You
The Clash Should I Go
Steppenwolf Born to Be Wild
Sister Sledge We are Family
Shannon Noll What About Me
Ronan Keating Featuring Yusut Father and Son
Robbie Williams and Kylie Minogue Kids
Robbie Williams Let Me Entertain You
Natasha Bedingfield These Words
Missy Higgins Scar
Manfred Mann Do Wah Diddy Diddy
Kylie Minogue In Your Eyes
INXS New Sensation
Hoobastank The Reason
Good Charlotte I Just Wanna Live
Fountains of Wayne Stacys Mom
Evermore Its too Late
Ashley Simpson Pieces of Me
Avril Lavigne Skater Boi
Beyounce Crazy in Love
Black Eye Peas Shut Up
Blink-182 Whats My Age Again
Bic Runga Sway
Delta Goodrem Born to Try
Erik B. And Rakin Paid in Full
Tom Jones Its Not Unusual
In addition to being able to select each song individually, the game also offers the ability to choose songs in a range of medleys. These medleys assort the songs in numerous ways, including party-like songs, tracks sung by males or females, songs featuring guitar riffs and tracks from Down Under. For those of us who like a surprise and challenge, a random feature is also on offer, allowing for the completely random selection of a song.
SingStar: Pop is an enjoyable and addictive game if played in a multiplayer atmosphere. While the songs arent to everyones liking, gathering a group of friends or family will ensure hours of humorous addictive fun. While there are no immediate advancements over the previous titles, SingStar: Pop is a worthwhile karaoke title, especially for any fan of the previous titles in the series.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.