|System: PS3, PS2||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: SCEE||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SCE Studios London||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Aug. 4, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-8||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: TEEN||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
Singstar is definitely the premier franchise when it comes to karaoke-style games. With more than 30 individual titles under its belt, and almost a thousand songs to choose from in the SingStore, there is plenty of content for both aspiring vocalists and partygoers to test their skills on. Pair this with one of the most popular classic rock bands of all time, and you've got Singstar: Queen.
Perhaps one of the most anticipated karaoke titles of the year, Singstar: Queen is definitely a title many have been on the lookout for. It is the second Singstar title to feature a single artist, and although Singstar: ABBA was popular in its own right, Singstar: Queen is expected to have a much broader appeal. I was pretty hyped for this game, as Queen definitely makes my list of top musicians, and just getting the chance to run around my living room with mic stand outstretched just like the late, great Freddie Mercury was enough to elevate Singstar: Queen to "must buy" status. However, if we look closer at the game itself, there are a few things that may dissuade the non-fanatical Queen fans from this title.
As far as modes go, this game sticks very strictly to the Singstar formula. The game has a single-player mode where you can sing solo and work on your accuracy, a duet mode where you can combine your score with a friend, a battle mode which compares your overall score with an opponent, or the party-friendly pass-the-mic mode. The pass-the-mic mode is generally the most popular of the modes, as it features marathon-style challenges where up to eight people can compete. All of these modes feel very familiar, and if you don't mind the same old Singstar grind, then you'll be happy with what is presented here.
However, one thing that is definitely different here is the vocal difficulty. Freddie Mercury's vocal styling is definitely complex, and there are frequent jumps in key as well as steep note slides. Add this with plenty of syncopation and varying rhythms and you've got yourself an amazingly challenging game. For the first time ever, I had to turn the difficulty down on a song ("Somebody to Love") in order to get a decent score, and I found myself pleasantly challenged by all of the game's songs.
And speaking of songs, the tracklist in Singstar: Queen is awesome. If you are a Queen fan, then you'll definitely be pleased with the game's 25 tracks that include standards like "Bohemian Rhapsody", "We Will Rock You", and "We Are the Champions". There are also some lesser known tracks on the disc, including "Play the Game", "Radio Ga-Ga", and "Save Me".
However, if there is one thing that does disappoint me about this collection, it is the lack of variation. The band-centric versions of series like Guitar Hero have done a great job of implementing artists that inspired the game's focal act. Unfortunately, since Singstar: Queen is 100% Queen, it's hard to play for long stretches at a time, and it really feels like a disc-based track pack more than a complete game. What would have been really interesting would be if some of the notable Queen covers of the past decade were included, particularly the Paul Rodgers covers or those contained on the Queen Greatest Hits album.