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Singstar.


PopeSmokesDope
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I'm a sucker when it comes to silly party games with peripherals - the potential with friends and family is awesome. I've done the dance mat thing, the EyeToy thing and I've just brought back a copy of Taiko no Tatsujin + drums from Japan. The problem is, most of my friends are miserable bastards and wouldn't be seen dead playing any of these games. And whilst they're a fun distraction for a few minutes on your own, they're not really single-player games, are they?

My family might try them out once in a while, but only to humour me.

Unbelievably, I'm tempted by Singstar, but I think I'll give it a miss this time, despite knowing full well I could potentially get tons of fun out of it. :rolleyes:

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The future of gaming for me!

I have had more fun in the last two days, with Eye Toy Groove and Singstar, than I have had for ages.

I am actually getting excited about games again...after becoming bored with the endless stream of unimaginative dross.

The PS2 is rapidly overtaking the Cube as my favourite console this generation B)

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And "I'm too cool for this game" Phelan.

I p0wn all at "Word Of Our Own" Truefax

Damn you are right!!

I am too cool for this game.

Actually I'm not I just don't agree with certain musical choices and as such won't be buying it.

Maybe it's just me but I refuse to purchase anything that will give them and the money men behind them more cash.

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OK, so here's my thoughts so far (no multiplayer experience as yet):

Getting it out of the box: you'll need a Stanley knife. The two microphones are sturdy. They, and the USB adapter, are colour coded red and blue. The mics are "singstar" branded on the coloured ring. I can't really say too much about the mics, as I'm not really an expert. Before when I've been singing, someone's just plonked an SM58 in front of me and left me to concentrate on guitar stuff.

Upon booting the software up, you're treated to an intro in keeping with the "Games For Everyone" vibe that Sony use on their EyeToy games. This is something I approve of highly. It's not snobby, it's not esoteric, it's about fun. It's also a great way of turning "games consoles" into "home entertainment devices" in the public consciousness. The style of the intro is also strangely reminiscent of Fantavision.

So, into a quick song. I tried the Darkness track first, which, as it turns out, is one of the harder ones. I did OK but it really hammered home the point that you will need to warm your voice up before you try any really screamy ones. I had to give it a rest for half an hour before trying any more. I tried this song on "Medium" level and got a "hopeful" rating, which I guess was about right!

The pitch recognition is very good. Its sensitivity is varied by the difficulty level - straying by a semitone on "Hard" is likely to send your voice indicator halfway across the graph, while on Easy the difference would barely be registered.

Sight-reading the graph is pretty easy if you know the tune, but there's not much chance you'll manage it if you don't. On songs I didn't know, I found it easier to use the graph for the timing, and to copy what the singer was singing for the tune. You can configure the playback so that the main vocals are absent, faded, or at full volume when you're singing. The default is faded and it works well.

Usually you're shown the video of the single while you're singing (I have no EyeToy so can't give any thoughts on that). This is great (although you barely notice the video, it's probably nice for the spectators), and leads me to another point - you get the whole song in each case. Too many karaoke versions of songs miss out instrumentals or change the ending. Here you get the exact recorded version. There is also a short version of each song if you're short of time.

Right then, let's have a look at the single player game. This is based around working your way up from an unknown to a superstar, solely by singing other people's songs -- so, an accurate representation of today's chart process, then. You start off in your flat, and you'll receive messages on your phone. These tell you if any new venues have opened, and of any progress in your career.

Each venue has a choice of around 6 songs, and various "challenges". Usually the challenges are along the lines of "choose 1 song and score over 5000" or "choose 2 songs and score over 10000 in total" etc. Of course, these all evenutally translate to "sing the song the best you can." Luckily, this is fun, so no problem there. You can sing the same song more than once, but if you do it too many times you'll get less of a reward, and in the end the song will be withdrawn from the choices.

You are aiming to build up "buzz" (which can only go up as far as I can work out) - and when your buzz reaches certain levels you will go up a ranking. Going up a ranking usually triggers an event, such as a new club opening, or some progress with your recording career. As of last night I had recorded a demo, the record company had liked it and bought me a new flat, and my new single (Eternal Flame - demos and recordings are chosen for you by the record company based on your past performances) was making its way up the charts. All very exciting. The only problem here is that I still only have a choice of about 18 songs to sing, and for each group of 6 there are usually 1 or 2 I'd rather not sing. Still, I haven't had any songs removed from my choices yet, and it can't be long before another venue opens.

The presentation in the single player game is very nice indeed. Certainly a unique style, unless you know better. It's extremely polished, relaxing and nice to look at. There are some nice flyovers of the virtual city, and the 2d interiors are lovely too. The visual style and ambient sound effects bring a feeling of "holiday-ness" to the game.

All in all, the success of SingStar will probably hang on its multiplayer, which I haven't tried yet. But many people will miss that there's actually a very enjoyable single-player experience in there too, if you don't mind singing to yourself in your lounge.

I look forward to the expansion discs!

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Damn you are right!!

I am too cool for this game.

Actually I'm not I just don't agree with certain musical choices and as such won't be buying it.

Maybe it's just me but I refuse to purchase anything that will give them and the money men behind them more cash.

Woah there! Make sure you don't have too much fun!!!

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Just been down tot he virgin megastore on oxford street and they have a massive screen about 15 foot on the diagonal and singstar setup with mics ready for play... So anyone not sure about this game based in london should go and check it out...

Cheers

Quexex

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Just been down tot he virgin megastore on oxford street and they have a massive screen about 15 foot on the diagonal and singstar setup with mics ready for play...  So anyone not sure about this game based in london should go and check it out...

Cheers

Quexex

They very smugly refused to sell me a copy last night. So they lost the sale to GAME.

SMUG THAT, LOSERS.

(actually the black twins in GAME on Oxford Street are so unbelievably helpful it's untrue - they deserve the business, they really do).

edit: That last bit sounds sarcastic. It isn't, I mean it.

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They very smugly refused to sell me a copy last night. So they lost the sale to GAME.

SMUG THAT, LOSERS.

(actually the black twins in GAME on Oxford Street are so unbelievably helpful it's untrue - they deserve the business, they really do).

edit: That last bit sounds sarcastic. It isn't, I mean it.

I rang every Game and Gamestation in Manchester last night, not one would sell it to me early.

I was really sad so I wanted it to cheer me up.

Gits.

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Just to add a few points to Jumble's review.

The opening demo video is indeed excellent. It quickly shows you how to plug the mics in, how the game works, people having fun with it. Very accessible, well done.

Eyetoy. If you activate your EyeToy in the options, instead of the pop video playing in the background, you get the EyeToy image instead, complete with various pop video EyeToy effects which vary throughout the song.

As you sing, occasionnally an icon will tell you that you have reached a point in the song with a "golden note" (usually the particularly high, embarassing bits). When you reach the end of the song you get to view a collection of these golden notes: short eyetoy videoclips about 5 seconds long of you dancing and singing, with no musical backing. Very amusing.

Multiplayer. In 2 player, you have the option to duet (co-op scoring, one stave on the screen) or battle (versus scoring, a stave each).

In the party modes you have 2 teams of up to 3? 4? players. There are several rounds with different modes. Songs are chosen randomly, and people from either team are chosen randomly in turn, either to solo, sing a verse each, challenge the other team to beat a given score, keep your score meter high for as long as possible lest you be "booed off" etc. etc. Main bugbear is that with randomly chosen songs people might be asked to sing something they don't know.

All beautifully presented too.

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Despite pleading, the friendly chap in my local GAME (they are very good, I have to say) wouldn't break the release date, but he suggested I try Dixons. I just innocently asked for a copy of that game, there, behind the counter. Result.

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I rang every Game and Gamestation in Manchester last night, not one would sell it to me early.

I was really sad so I wanted it to cheer me up.

Gits.

:rolleyes:

Here, have this to cheer you up: :mwah:

I just innocently asked for it too. But those guys are really great, they are all about the customer.

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It's unbelievable that there's anyone criticising this game.

A product that dares to be fun? Me and my girlfriend started out squirming in embarassment, and then an hour later were like drunk 12 year olds, singing songs we don't even like.

That's right, Juria, singing songs WE DONT EVEN LIKE in the name of FUN.

Fucking cracking game.

R.

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This is simply magnificent.

Playing it alone this morning, I don't think I've ever laughed so much with no company. I'm fucking useless at it though, I've managed to get "Wannabe" on Easy. Thats my best. Seriously. Impossible not to dance to, I felt like I was drunk even though I wasn't.

And then -With a mate and an Eyetoy - fucking hilarious. Trying to get a pose in only makes you look more silly.

Its excellence. Expansion packs please!

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Booo.... I've not been paid, so I can't get a copy until Monday. That's rubbish, man. And even after I'd seen it in the Dixons in MK last night too. Phhhhht.

Get yourself a chequebook. Say goodbye to the "I want to buy something but I don't get paid for upto 5 days" blues.

Probably a slippery slope though to credit cards, re-mortgages and eventually prostitution.

So my advice is wait till Monday.

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It's unbelievable that there's anyone criticising this game.

A product that dares to be fun? Me and my girlfriend started out squirming in embarassment, and then an hour later were like drunk 12 year olds, singing songs we don't even like.

That's right, Juria, singing songs WE DONT EVEN LIKE in the name of FUN.

Fucking cracking game.

R.

I can't WAIT for CV3.

In the meantime. Get down to London for some SingStar action, you scallies.

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When you say you have recorded your first demo...

it would be nice if the game saved your actual effort as the demo?

does it do this?

I believe it can actually do this. But can't confirm it until tonight.

I was the eternallest flamiest singer ever though. Rest assured.

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Just been chatting to a mate about this and we're curious as to if there are any duet songs on there? Proper duets though like Elton John and Kiki Dee etc.

Unfortunately not... hopefully sony will do something about this in the next version or the addon disks... whatever they have planned I'd be surprised if they don't release something!

Cheers

Quexex

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You fucker. I wish I was there.

I can only guarantee that about 3 or 4 of them will be up for it - funnily enough the women. I predict that their blokes will sit on the sofa grumpily and refuse to play.

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.::: I'm still in doubt. With EyeToy I got it as soon as it was in the shops. But somehow singing as a loon sounds much more embarassing than moving about like a loon. ;)

Decisions, decisions...

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