SingStar Queen ReviewBy Sterling McGarvey - Posted Jul 31, 2009
Although band-based multiplayer is still all the rage, no one has pure karaoke gaming nailed quite like SingStar. Stateside, the franchise has only been around for three years, but in Europe, it made the PlayStation 2 a hit with casual gamers way before Nintendo duct-taped two GameCubes together.
- Offers an eclectic selection of greatest hits that have appeal for hardcore fans and casual Queen listeners.
- Big gameplay feature is now available as DLC if you have another SingStar PS3 game.
- Why is this a standalone release, rather than a downloadable pack?
Although band-based multiplayer is still all the rage, no one has pure karaoke gaming nailed quite like SingStar. Stateside, the franchise has only been around for three years, but in Europe, it made the PlayStation 2 a hit with casual gamers way before Nintendo duct-taped two GameCubes together. Sony’s last band-centric effort, SingStar ABBA, crossed demographics and provided the world with hundreds of blackmail videos to enjoy. As bands go, Queen is an excellent follow-up, and these games always make for a fun review. SingStar Queen offers up plenty of opportunities to watch your friends mangle Freddie Mercury’s high notes. That said, like nearly every SingStar release since the 2008 debut, one has to wonder why this is a disc-based release when an epic track pack would’ve sufficed.
Make the Rockin’ World Go Round
The SingStar formula is a simple one, and after five years of karaoke gaming, Sony has it down to a science. The core game features karaoke vocals alongside a music video. The menus are very easy to navigate (which helps both non-gamers and very inebriated gamers alike). Plus, with a tap of the select button in the song select menu, you can swap out discs to keep the party going. The PS3 games deliver full compatibility with downloadable content and the ability to save and upload your best performances to the SingStar community. The new game sticks to the formula as well.
SingStar Queen touts some new on-disc features that haven’t been seen in other SingStar releases, such as voice-activated menu navigation. It’s not the most optimal way to navigate the game menus, especially if your DLC catalog is rather robust, but it’s valuable when you’re in the throes of a house party or your controller could use a charge. On the other hand, if you already own a SingStar game, then you can download a free update that provides the feature.
Why Don’t You Play The Gaaaaaame...
It’s no easy task to pick from Queen’s finest songs, but the Sony London team has selected 25 huge hits from the band’s broad catalog to display. For casual fans, songs like “We Are the Champions,” “We Will Rock You” and “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” are at your disposal. Band hits include “Radio Ga Ga,” “Who Wants to Live Forever,” and “You’re My Best Friend.” Sci-fi geeks will lament the lack of “Princes of the Universe,” but generally, for a song pack, this one’s definitely a good balance between tracks that’ll appeal to big Queen fans and dabblers.
That said, the big caveat emptor here lies with the main attraction. It’s no small feat to sing along with Freddie Mercury, and his famous high notes will test and strain your vocal chords. If you can hit screeching high notes and emulate his amazing vocal range, you’ll feel right at home. If you can’t handle the mustachioed magic, you might be better suited to picking up another edition of SingStar and belting out some more familiar tunes.
And Another One Gone, And Another One Gone...
Although the SingStar formula is tight, I’m still stumped by Sony’s refusal to release these 25 songs as downloadable content. I understand that some of the audience isn’t online-savvy, but for those who are, it’d be ideal to offer both a game disc and a downloadable pack as an option. Also, consider that the biggest gameplay feature in SingStar Queen -- the aforementioned voice navigation -- is a free download for anyone who owns one of the other SingStar PS3 discs, it’s tough to justify picking up the disc for any reason other than a fiery ardor for Queen. On the other hand, if you’ve never picked up one of the games in the series, and you really, really love singing “Bohemian Rhapsody,” SingStar Queen is a fine entry into karaoke fun.