Even though I’m truly awful at it, I like to sing. In the car, in the shower, while washing dishes or even just to annoy the neighbours – there’s no bad time to belt out a power ballad in a screeching, cracking voice. When a copy of SingStar Ultimate Party arrived in the GameCloud mailbox, I jumped at the chance to review it. If nothing else, the game is great at boosting your confidence since it can’t tell the difference between singing and sharting into the microphone. You can try to eat the microphone throughout the whole song and still have the game tell you you’re Pavarotti incarnate, so long as you do it with a bit of rhythm. With the notion that a good time was about to be had, I placed the disc into my PS4 – this is going to be a short one.
I’ve rarely encountered faces as punchable as those from the SingStar advertising.
There’s no narrative to speak of in the game, except for that of the bright, young, rising star, which I role-played exclusively in my imagination (and my songs). You wouldn’t expect one in a game of this kind anyway, and I wouldn’t even mention it if it weren’t for the fact that you can gain levels through playing. I’m not sure why they’re there since they don’t encourage the player to try different things, or do anything else besides tie into the achievements (a term I use loosely in this context.) They’re not exactly hard to reach, either; there’s no diminishing returns in singing the same genre, or even the same song, over and over. The “difficulty” comes from the fact that each level just takes a little longer to obtain than the one before it. I could sing TLC’s No Scrubs all day, for three days straight, and the game could declare me to be the greatest singer the world has known.
This isn’t the first time I’ve seen a mechanic like this in this type of game, nor would it be all that unusual to fans of the Guitar Hero or Rockstar series. This is the first time, however, I’ve ever seen a game like this try to boldly introduce the mechanic without a point. Sure, you can get achievements and there’s some form of online ranking system, but this is essentially a karaoke sim. Any praise obtained from these are just soulless, electronic kudos that are replacing actual human interaction – something which becomes painstakingly clear when playing the game alone. I would imagine. Since the levels don’t actually change the gameplay, and all of the content is available from the start, the game only stays interesting for as long as you feel like playing karaoke.
Pictured: Karaoke supplements and performance “enhancers.”
The game itself doesn’t have any real technical issues while playing, and does an okay job of measuring pitch; the SingStar Mic app for phones is even free and, surprisingly, not terrible. As I said earlier, however, it’s not hard to fool the game into thinking you’re an incredible singer, and in that regard, it hasn’t improved since I first played the series back in ’04. The game itself hasn’t changed in the slightest, in regards to how it’s played or how it presents its content (except for visual changes, of course), which has me wondering why Singstar Ultimate Party was necessary at all. If it was to improve the game experience itself, it failed pretty hard.
It looks visually appealing, the menus are pretty slick,and loading times were low; giving a smooth transition between everything. The song recordings themselves sound perfect; it’s a minor point, however, since people are going to be warbling over the top of it anyway. That’s about the extent of what the game achieves, however, with “status quo,” being the overarching theme. This is an odd choice given that SingStar is available for free on both the PS3 store and the PS4 store. No visual innovation, and no major gameplay or design changes, means there’s no incentive to pay for this game separately.
Editor Note: GameCloud Australia would like to clarify that there absolutely are bad times for this.
This game perplexes me, it truly does, and I can’t even begin to offer an explanation for it’s existence. It’s definitely not extra value for your money, that’s for sure. The disc costs $34 from one of my local retailers, however, the disc itself only has about 19 songs on it. If you were to purchase all of the songs separately, you’d be paying $38.95 AUD (all songs cost $2.05, because, of course they do.) Ignoring the fact that this is a blu-ray disc with only 19 songs on it, which is asking a lot, I know, this is the weirdest case I’ve ever seen of Australian physical media being cheaper than it’s online counterpart. It’s not even a particularly fantastic, or even cohesive, arrangement of songs. Normally I wouldn’t even consider pricing during a review, but this is a paid for version of a free app with a slightly cheaper song list and nothing else. Let that sink in for a moment.
Please Note: This review was based on the PS4 version of the game, and was provided to the writer by the publisher for the purpose of review.