I can’t sing. Not well, anyway. But I feel that puts me in the norm rather than outside of it. With that in mind, I sat down last week with a couple of friends who can sing, to enjoy a little SingStar: Queen.
As a huge Queen fan, I felt I had the advantage going in to this impromptu karaoke competition, at least when it came to knowing the lyrics and general dynamic of the songs. What I didn’t count on (and should have) is that my two fellow competitors were karaoke superstars. For convenience’s sake, let’s call them Brodie and his girlfriend, Chris.
Now, we set out to get a taste of everything this game had to offer. Having already sung a song on my own before they arrived, I had an idea of the format of the game. The lyrics appear onscreen along with a display that shows the notes you have to hit, and how long to hold them. If you hit the note and hold it for the duration, the bar representing that note fills green. If you don’t hit it, or only hit part of it, the bar doesn’t fill and an area outside of the bar fills red (above the bar for a sharp note, below for a flat note), indicating that you suck. Let’s just say that I was mostly seeing red that night.
After going through a few solo songs, passing the mic between Brodie, Chris and myself; we decided to do a few duets. Those went pretty well, and I found that the display for the duets was just as intuitive as the solo version. After a few battles between two of us at a time (wherein both players sing the song simultaneously, higher score wins) we decided to take on the Pass the Mic feature, which divides players into teams and puts them through various types of challenges. From Solos, to Battles, to Medleys (arguably the hardest kind of challenge, since you have to pick up the song for a couple of bars and then switch it up) we were laughing our way through the night with this game, from song to song.
But in every case, we ran into the same problem. We encountered huge delay on the mic track. We checked out the options screen, under mic settings, to no avail. We played through the pain, and later I found out that the calibration settings for making sure your mic track, the display and the Queen track are all in sync were under the Display settings. Not misleading at all.
That is the major problem with Singstar: Queen, and now that it’s out of the way, let’s look at some of the more positive aspects of this game that is, at the end of the day, pretty enjoyable. The songs are definitely more difficult than previous incarnations of the SingStar brand, due in no small part to Freddie Mercury’s unstoppable vocals, along with the rest of the band frequently providing backup in chorus. But the fun and flavour of Queen is all over this game. As you sing, the background video is overlaid with Queen music videos and concert footage, which really adds to the energy of the game – but if you are confident not only in your singing but also your stage presence, as it were, you can opt to record yourself on video through PlayStation Eye to get your own personal MTV style.
I suppose the fun is what matters most, but what put a downer on the evening was the awkwardness of getting the
sound profile for the game to jive correctly. The playbacks were horrible, but laughably so – which means it was still fun. All in all, I feel that this game is for karaoke addicts only, and even then it’s definitely on a party-game basis.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, I got my ass handed to me by my fellow gamers… BRODIE!!
Graphics – 5 / 5 (For the Queen video playing while you sing)
Audio – 4 / 5 (Awesome song selection, but it’s definitely hard to sing over Mercury)
Controls – 2 / 5 (Controlling menus with the mic is easy, but the menus don’t lend themselves well to calibrating the mic)
Gameplay – 3 /5 (Party games, replay value is weak at best)