Two years after it was first shown to the public, SingStar has finally been released in North America for the PlayStation 3. It's difficult to say that it was worth the wait. After all, it is just a karaoke game, and there are plenty of those already. However, it's a very good karaoke game that should please anyone who enjoys serenading friends and strangers with unsolicited performances of popular songs.
There are two versions of SingStar available: a $60 package that comes with two wired microphones and a $40 game-only version. You can save some cash by using the microphones from the PlayStation 2 versions of SingStar if you've got them handy, but those of you hoping to get some extra mileage out of Rock Band, Karaoke Revolution, or other USB mics are out of luck--they don't work. The game's tracklist is short but sweet, covering a wide variety of genres and decades. The 30 songs are performed by their original artists, including: Blind Melon, Weezer, Amy Winehouse, The Rolling Stones, Dave Matthews Band, Coldplay, U2, OutKast, Franz Ferdinand, Ne-Yo, R.E.M., The Pussycat Dolls, Warrant, The Cardigans, and more. Per article 7a from the agreement forged at the 2004 International Karaoke Summit, Britney Spears' "Toxic" is included.
Each song has a video that plays in the background.
Although the tracklist contains many popular karaoke staples, it's unquestionably light on quantity, given that you can breeze through every song in the game in about two hours. That's where the SingStore comes into play. For $1.50 you can purchase a song, along with its accompanying music video, and add it seamlessly to the game. At the time of this review there are about 170 songs available from artists such as: M.C. Hammer, Spice Girls, Arrested Development, KT Tunstall, Jamiroquai, Elvis, Natasha Bedingfield, Run DMC, The Hives, and many more, with additional content promised in the future.
You can't go head-to-head with anyone online, but SingStar does have a strong online component, at least from a community standpoint. You can create a profile to display your high scores, and upload audio clips of yourself crooning, along with 20-second video clips and photos if you have either the PS2 or PS3 EyeToy camera. You can even add effects and adjust your pitch before showcasing your "skills" with the world. These community features are interesting, and there do seem to be some people who are really into it, but the quality of the submissions is questionable. Even the content that users have voted as the best isn't very good and mostly features well-endowed females--though the clip of a guy in a full Chewbacca costume singing and dancing makes up for most of the terrible stuff.