SCEE’s London Studio has released a new Singstar for us all to enjoy solo, with friends and even online (which I’ll come to later on). This iteration has been created with the new PlayLink integration in mind, however, it doesn’t really get as involved as you would hope. There are various ways you can interact and sing; A USB or wireless Microphone, the Mic on the PS4 camera or via the downloadable app for your smartphone. For a game with so many ways to play, it’s let down by the fact that, even with all of the devices in the world, only two people can sing at the same time.
The way Singstar has got around this restriction, within party mode, is that up-to-eight people can start Party mode but then they are then split into two teams and the game randomly picks a person from each team to face against each other via a random gameplay style. The most entertaining is ‘Pass the Mic’ and ‘Medley/Micro-Medly’ mode as these utilise all players and have you passing the mic to each player after a set amount has been sung. Other modes consist of singing an entire song solo against another player or singing until you hit one million points. The variety isn’t great, but it’s fun once you all get into it.
Previous versions allowed up to four players to sing together, which in my opinion was a much better option. This meant I could hide my voice and terrible singing from the others by cowering behind the better singers. That being said, the party mode does offer a decent selection with its unusual limitation – a limitation I wouldn’t have thought would have been present with the implementation of PlayLink and support for many other devices.
One of the things that stood out with the Party mode was the ability to have it continually play until you stop it. This reminded me of Guitar Hero and RockBand how they had included a similar mode where people could drop in and out at any time to keep the music on in the background yet allowing gameplay at any moment. The major downside though is the list of songs supplied – personally I’m not a fan of modern pop/rap songs so the list really didn’t appeal to me (I will include the full list below) but I had bought a few tracks previously when I had a bit of credit in the previous version of Singstar and these popped up in this game automatically. So, while I didn’t enjoy singing along to Meghan Trainor, I thoroughly enjoyed singing along to the Rasmus and Marilyn Manson.
This next part I wasn’t comfortable with, although I imagine a lot of you out there won’t care much. If you have a PlayStation camera connected then it will constantly record you as you sing any of the songs. At the end of your song, it will show you clips of you singing and will ask if you wish to upload the whole thing, clips or even still images to the Singstar community. I couldn’t find any way to disable this so I resorted to unplugging the camera. The game itself has a community section built in where you can watch everyone’s video or photos that have been uploaded – it’s a great idea and I enjoyed flicking through it and looking at all the really good, and funny, singers. I just would have liked the option to disable the auto-record if possible.
The app you can download doesn’t have much use tbh. You can use it as a wireless microphone, although I found that it didn’t 100% pick up my voice correctly and I had much better results using my headset and USB Microphone form Guitar Hero. You can also use it to select the next song in the setlist – so this aspect I can see as being useful as it means you don’t have to stop the current singers or go into a menu to set up your next song. It does, however, allow 4 people to pick the next song, even though only two can sing at a time.
Song list (included songs, not the 700+ DLC):
Adele – Hello
ABBA – Dancing Queen
Amy Winehouse – Rehab
Avicii – Wake Me Up
Blondie – One Way Or Another
Brandi Carlile – The Story
Britney Spears – Oops!… I Did It Again
Calvin Harris & Disciples – How Deep Is Your Love
Ella Henderson – Yours
Elle King – Ex’s and Oh’s
Fun. – Some Nights
Hilary Duff – All About You
Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX – Fancy
Jason Derulo – Want To Want Me
Kings Of Leon – Use Somebody
Lost Frequencies – Are You With Me
Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell – Ain’t No Mountain High Enough
Meghan Trainor – All About That Bass
Oasis – Wonderwall
OMI feat. Nicky Jam – Cheerleader
One Direction – What Makes You Beautiful
Roxette – It Must Have Been Love
Shawn Mendes – Stitches
Sia – Cheap Thrills
Tegan And Sara – Closer
The Chainsmokers feat. Halsey – Closer
U2 – I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
Wham! – I’m Your Man
Young Rising Sons – High
Zara Larsson – Lush Life
SingStar Celebration was more of an afterparty than a celebration for me. The variety and number of songs included aren’t great and the removal of the four-player mode seems like they have taken a step backwards. However, the social aspect and the community built into the game itself would be perfect for those who believe they are the next big star and want to show it off with fellow like-minded people. Also, if you have songs bought in previous versions of the game then these should all be accessible within this iteration as well, meaning you don’t have to rebuy old songs if you choose to upgrade.