Some say karaoke jams are only fun if you're falling-down drunk; others consider it a legitimate pastime, especially if they're hardcore music fans. We love our "American Idol" and we idolize our stars of the stage, so it would stand to reason that a singing-based video game should also be popular. SingStar is a huge seller in Europe and even though it doesn't fare quite as well here in the U.S., it remains a great option for casual gaming fans who would rather embarrass themselves in the comfort of their own home. After several installments on the PS2, SingStar PS3 is on the way, and we're taking a closer look at what you can expect come November. It's all about testing your vocal skills; learning just how difficult it can be to emulate the current industry icons.
One of the biggest additions to the series for the PS3 version will be the inclusion of personalized playlists. Quite simply, you can download whatever songs you wish, which means you can sing along to whatever you like, at any time. This is exactly the kind of option that fits perfectly in this new generation; a generation highly dependent on more player involvement and personal customization. What makes it all possible? The key is the SingStore, which is an online shop directly accessible from inside the game and offers a large inventory of songs. Furthermore, the game's developers will likely add more tracks on a continual basis, so owners can keep checking back to peruse any new additions and choose their favorites. It's a fantastic system, and one that's borderline essential for a game like this. It doesn't end there, either: you'll even be able to upload your best performances to an online database so others can view your star power. This will be accomplished by use of the PlayStation Eye camera, and you can even transport the videos to your PSP!
Of course, you won't have to wait for the SingStore to become stocked before diving in and experiencing the gameplay. SingStar PS3 will ship with 30 total songs, and 15 of them were only recently unveiled a few days ago. The list is as follows:
- Britney Spears -- Toxic
- David Bowie -- Let's Dance
- Franz Ferdinand -- Do You Want To
- The Killers -- Mr. Brightside
- Ne-Yo -- So Sick
- OutKast -- Hey Ya!
- Pixies -- Here Comes Your Man
- Queens of the Stone Age -- Go With the Flow
- Radiohead -- No Surprises
- R.E.M. -- Losing My Religion
- Scissor Sisters -- I Don't Feel Like Dancing
- U2 -- Beautiful Day
- Weezer -- Buddy Holly
- Wolfmother -- Love Train
The PlayStation Eye is going to be a major deal, here, and consumers should also remember that the original EyeToy will also be supported by this game. Not only can you simply record videos, but you can even create screen-captures and upload them as thumbnail images. Once you've taken as many as you like, you can update your own profile at "My SingStar Online," which is kinda similar to PlayStation Home, only on a microscopic scale. While visiting, you can update your own profile and also view other profiles as well, which means the service should be both engaging and all-encompassing. We're not entirely sure what other options will be available at "My SingStar Online," but anything that complements the SingStore is certainly a good thing. And besides, it lends this title - which tends to be a more sociable game - a great community feature that most will probably utilize and enjoy.
Once you're up and going, you can really dive into the entire package. As a member of the SingStar PS3 universe, you'll be able to check up on friends and share your favorite clips, while also passing along your own comments. According to GameSpot, there is one other feature which may or may not be included- the ability to rate another member's performance online, and the best-rated videos will be frequently linked on the SingStar website. On top of that, Sony will likely want your input regarding new songs for the SingStore, so you'll probably see some online polls designed to pin down community favorites. Once they've established a few clear winners, those are the songs that will get added to the SingStore's ever-expanding catalogue of titles. The creators have already started picking songs from the pop, rap, indie/alternative, and soundtrack categories, and that repertoire could certainly grow with time, depending on poll results. Again, it's an example of personal involvement on a large scale, which should ultimately serve to deliver a more fully-realized online experience.
As far as we can tell, it doesn't get much more complete than this. The developers are taking full advantage of the Network, and the constant updating (from both server and player) should add a great deal of longevity to SingStar PS3. With such a huge emphasis on the online aspects, it almost seems similar to something like Warhawk, even though the latter doesn't have an offline mode. Last but not least, provided they have the capability, gamers will be able to view SingStar in full high definition glory. Some may call a lot of non-gameplay extras "fanservice," but let's be realistic: all of these additional online features truly make this game a must-own for singing aficionados. The only question we have is how much those extra downloadable tracks will cost, but rumor has it they'll be reasonably priced, and perhaps even cheaper than expected. Either way, we'll be sure to let you know when they announce the estimated cost of SingStore tracks.
Come November 13, you no longer have to limit your singing to the shower and your car. You can finally grab one of those spiffy silver microphones and sing your fool head off to your favorite songs, and when you're done, you can hop online and see others doing the exact same thing. Doesn't it sound like an absolute blast?
8/6/2007 Ben Dutka