SingStar Rocks Review
SingStar Rocks is Sony’s initial foray into the world of karaoke gaming. It comes with a couple of microphones and an adaptor that plugs into one of your PS2’s USB ports and gives you a selection of 30 tracks with which to test your vocal prowess. Is it enough to get rock stars to stop playing Guitar Hero long enough to pick up a mic and take on the lead singer role?
The first thing that you need to know before running out and buying SingStar Rocks is that it is a game and not a karaoke machine. This means that you are rewarded for how closely your performance matches the singing style of the original singers and not for how original or personal you make your performance. As each song is played you’ll see the lyrics at the bottom of the screen in typical karaoke fashion, but you’ll also see a set of horizontal bars across the screen as well. The bars height on the screen represent the relative pitch of the words that you are singing and their length represent how long each note should be held. As you sing the words of the song, the game will draw lines over these bars to represent the pitch and duration of your notes. Sing a little off key and the line will appear above or below the bar. Hold the right note and the onscreen bar will fill as long as you hold the note at the right pitch. Try to embellish the song with a little of your own original style and you’ll miss the bars. After each line of the song the game will sum up your performance with a word such as “poor” or “cool” and add your score for the line to your point total. Once you complete the song your overall point total will be used to give you your final rating and if you did well you may find yourself on the high score list for the song.
That’s about all there is to the single player gameplay. There’s no career mode, song progression, or training available – you simply pick a song from the list and try to get a new high score. There is also a free play mode in which you are not scored, but there’s no way to turn off the vocal track in the songs. Even though you’re supposedly free to sing the song in your own style, you’ll still be competing with the song’s original singer. The game’s replay value hinges entirely on your motivation to seek higher scores, but odds are that it won’t take you too long to grow tired of singing the same few songs over and over again. Even though the game comes with a 30 track song list, it suffers from its attempt to provide a little something for everyone. Most fans of The Killer and Fall Out Boy aren’t going to want to spend too much time perfecting their technique on tracks by Elton John and Lynyrd Skynyrd, and the converse is probably true as well. Even if your favorite band happens to be included, you may find the song selected to represent them to be a disappointing choice. How many The Cure fans would put “Friday I’m in Love” in their top ten favorite track list? It would have been a lot better if the game either had a much more extensive track list or it picked one particular genre and just stuck with it.
SingStar Rocks also comes with a few multiplayer games that give it a party game aspect. A duet mode lets two players sing at the same time and go for a good combined score. There’s also a mode that has two to four players competing with a single mic that is passed around between the players in rounds. The games in this mode are either a race to be the first to score a set number of points or to keep your performance meter in the good range the longest. The multiplayer games can be fun at a party, but to keep things interesting you’ll need to stick to the songs in the list that everyone at the party already knows. Not knowing the melody or lyrics for a song will put a player at a serious disadvantage during the competition. If you have an EyeToy camera it will make the party livelier as you’ll be able to replace the default music videos which play in the background during the songs with a video feed of the players with some cool video effects added in ala EyeToy Play.
In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 71%. SingStar Rocks can be fun for the casual karaoke fan, but the limited and unfocused track list and the game’s inability to remove the songs’ original vocal tracks limit its long-term play value.