SingStar Volume 2 runs at 24fps. It has no 3D graphics to speak of. Much of the content is 240p, with the only high definition stuff being the menus. It’s in stereo, and all of the new features are already available in a free patch for SingStar Volume 1 owners. It is, in essence, a £25 add-on pack to a 6 month delayed karaoke game. Yet in our humble opinion, it’s the best game on the PS3.
Back when the founders of this here blog were mere children, videogames were niche, players were mocked and parents shunned: if you had a ZX Spectrum it was for homework only and the Amiga was to help with your Graphic Design classes at college. It was only at the advent of the PlayStation, when WipEout made its debut amongst the music, lights and £10 pills in the superclubs that a new wave of acceptance finally fell upon our beloved pastime.
Videogames became cool, Sony’s shiny electronics products became sought after and everything was alright with the world. For years, the boundaries of what you could accomplish visually were pushed beyond all recognition, screenshots looked better than Toy Story, people would embrace waggling and pointing, and all-enveloping 7.1 sound would be the norm; but recently, lost in a sea of complicated button controls, weighty manuals and Trophies, gaming has done a 360 and is in real danger of disappearing back up its own arsehole.
But that’s fine. Let it. Parked on the hard shoulder of innovation and E3 bullet points is SingStar. We under-rated the first game, such is the trouble with rushed deadlines and lack of online action in early review code, but we’re not making that mistake again. A permanent staple of Friday and Saturday nights at TSA Towers, Sony’s post-pub masterpiece has seen more playtime than any flashy FPS, ultra-realistic driving game or genre-crossing platformer on the system, and for an unbreakable media, our Blu-ray of SingStar Volume One has more scratches than DJ Yoda.
Fuck everything else, this is what videogaming is. Sure, it’s casual to the point of absurdity, but it’s self-mocking, self-ironic and proud of it: it’s garish, lurid 80’s Glam Rock one track and it’s mid 90’s cash stricken Brit Pop the next, and we don’t care a bit. Draw the curtains, dial up the amp and let’s all sing to Pulp’s thundering Common People like it’s the last song we’ll ever sing. Yes, it’s a more fruitful experience when your brain is shrunken, but that’s why updates are at the weekend and that’s why Sony have made it so damned easy to navigate the menus; it’s why the controls are listed, with big bold zoomed-in pictures, each and every time you boot the game
Unashamably pop, this is the game memories are made of. When everyone has forgotten how Metal Gear Solid 4 ends, or how crisp the textures in Uncharted are, on a Sunday morning when you wake up on the rug staring at the ceiling, mic in hand, it’s the game’s built-in Media Viewer that’ll stir the emotions, it’s the constantly spooling online rack of user submitted videos that blush your cheeks, and it’s the see you next Friday from your mates that’ll keep the disk in the drive.
Perhaps we’re just getting old, graduating university in ’98 means that Cocker, Albarn and Wheeler are our heroes, not Snake, Drake and Shake. Sure, the Wii has some great party games, the 360 has some awesome shooters and the PS3’s depth of exclusive first party titles is to die for, but we don’t give a shit – as our minds become simpler with age, so do our needs, and SingStar Volume 2 is the absolute epitome of what we think videogaming should be about.
Note: For a list of songs on SingStar Volume 2, click here. SingStar Volume 2 is 100% compatible with your downloaded songs from the first game, and you can tap select in the carousel to change disks.