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SingStar Volume 3

The SingStar franchise seems irrepressible. Not content with numerous PS2 titles, instalments covering everything from the ’80s to Bollywood, tie-ins with the likes of Disney and ABBA and a downloadable online store, Sony are in the midst of their SingStar assault on PS3 which is already in its second proper sequel in little more than a year since the first game.

If you’ve played any of the previous entries in the series, you’ll know what to expect here. Everything is stylish and understated, as all SingStar games tend to be. Videos are clearer and sharper than their PS2 counterparts, and generally the whole experience is as refined and slick as we have come to expect from the series. There are no great leaps and bounds being taken over its predecessors, but when you’re talking about something as uncomplicated as a karaoke game it raises the question does there really need to be?

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The track list is, as ever, a mixed bag. There are the usual doses of cheese (Barry Manilow – Copacabana, Lionel Ritchie – All Night Long), silly fun (Queen – Killer Queen, Vampire Weekend – Oxford Comma) and pure quality (Michael Jackson – Billie Jean, Happy Mondays – Kinky Afro). Obviously not everyone is going to be satisfied with the track list, but on the whole Sony have done a remarkable job of covering a breadth of genres with just these thirty songs, from very recent releases to tracks that were available three decades ago, and much in between.

Much as before, singing is done with one or two wired mics which caters for up to two people singing together or eight people participating in Pass The Mic. You are scored on how in tune you are with the original recording, although the scoring can be turned off if you wish. As ever, you can cheat if you don’t know the lyrics and just hum loudly into the mic, but then it’s a question of whether you look more stupid mumbling lyrics you don’t really know or screeching at your TV like a wounded badger. Videos of your performance can be recorded via the PlayStation Eye, and even if you don’t have this peripheral, there’s nothing to stop you going online and having a laugh at some of the wonderfully bizarre and just plain awful videos there.

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One area where the series isn’t progressing as fast as it should be is with the online downloadable service, SingStore. Despite having been live for over a year now, there is still less than 500 songs available. While this is hardly a poor effort, comparatively speaking when compared to other downloadable music services this figure pales into insignificance against even the smaller sites. What is particularly puzzling is that Sony has potentially got access to thousands of albums through its music publishing sister company Sony BMG, but apparently the two have decided not to colloborate as yet.

It’s tough to dislike the SingStar series. Throwaway as they are, as nonexistant as their progression seems to be, at the end of the day each and every instalment is still fun; all the moreso with friends and alcohol involved. While the series’ leap to PS3 a year ago hasn’t really brought around the sort of progressions that would have been expected of a current-gen title, SingStar as a whole remains as accessible and enjoyable a party game that is available.

7 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is a Senior Staff Writer at Thunderbolt, having joined in April 2007.

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