Reviewed: December 19, 2008
Released: December 2, 2008
For those who may not know about the SingStar series yet, Sony has offered up the most complete in-home karaoke experience to date. Song selections spanning every genre and almost every decade in recent music history, give the series a strong backbone of support.
The idea is quite simple, buy a game with a couple microphones and sing until you can’t sing anymore! SingStar originally released with a Pop version on the PS2 and since has grown by leaps and bounds. Sony has released SingStar Rocks, Amped, 80’s, 90’s, and now are bringing 3 new additions to the PS2 family. SingStar Country, Pop Vol. 2, and Legends.
The SingStar series can be played with one to eight players. One player sessions are basically a high score solo run through the songs to set a mark for you and your friends to beat in the future. Once you add a friend to the mix there are several other options for gameplay. Battle mode pits you versus your friend in a head to head matchup of vocal ability. Duet allows for a less competitive approach. Pass the mic allows several players to take turns, and gives the complete “party” aspect to SingStar.
Scoring is based off of pitch. If you are singing Britney Spears, you don’t have to match her high notes exactly as long as you come up in range and can match the pitch change from your normal tone. This means that men can easily sing along with a woman’s song and women the same with a man’s. The great thing about the series is that it doesn’t take an accomplished vocalist to make the game fun. Anyone of any level of singing ability can play with success.
As the words scroll across the bottom of the screen pitch bars will show you the fluctuations across the middle. Your singing output with either match up or show up below or above the given marks. If your marks are below, then you must sing higher. Above means you need to sing lower. For anyone who may have played EA’s Rock Band or Activision’s Guitar Hero World Tour, this should be fairly similar to the way vocals work in those games.
Due to SingStar’s large variety spread across several discs, Sony has included a “swap discs” option that allows you to easily switch between genres without having to restart the system. Simply select the option to swap discs, open your disc tray and insert the new disc to begin singing the new songs. Unfortunately PS3 owners don’t have the same ability when playing the PS2 versions.
Another convenient feature of the series is the “medley” selections. These selections will automatically flip through several songs of a similar genre and keep players on their toes. Once you feel that you have a good grasp of each song on the disc you can add some extra difficulty by selecting a medley. The sudden song changes can make things pretty interesting.
SingStar ABBA rides the coat tails of the DVD release of the musical Mama Mia, in which ABBA delivers the soundtrack. ABBA is one of only a few bands to now be “immortalized” in video game lore by having their own game produced. Following Guitar Hero Aerosmith and Rock Band’s AC/DC Live releases, SingStar pays tribute to the Swedish pop icons.
SingStar ABBA contains a 20-song playlist. The set list is as follows:
The real draw to SingStar is the sound, as with any music game. If you enjoy the songs that you are singing, then not much else will frustrate you. The sound quality is magnificent, but be sure to respect your neighbors if your SingStar session takes you into the early morning hours!
To easily summarize the SingStar experience, you could probably lump it into the typical music party game genre, but in all honesty it gives you more than that. Hours upon hours of competitive or friendly SingStar play await with each installment of new songs. Even for those that already own one game, there are at least 30 reasons to buy the latest game.
Replay value is obviously based upon your liking of each individual playlist, and in this case your love of ABBA since every song is by the same band There's not a lot of variety. The PS2 version features only 20 songs as opposed to the 25 songs on the PS3. Most SingStar games come with 30 songs and cost $30, so it seems odd Sony is asking you to spend the same for less on ABBA. Plus, there is no bundle option available this time so you'll need to have a SingStar mic from a previous game.
I would highly recommend that anyone that enjoys singing try out the series and if you love ABBA then this latest addition to the series is worth a look. Pick up the game with the track list that best suits your liking and then expand from there. I’ve found that once you break through your initial fear of embarrassment, that anyone and everyone will enjoy playing the SingStar series. As the famous saying goes, “Dance like no one is watching and sing like no one is listening.” If you follow those words, there’s a whole world of fun waiting for you in the SingStar series.