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SingStar: Queen
Score: 85%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment America
Developer: London Studio
Media: Blu-ray/1
Players: 1, 2 - 8
Genre: Rhythm/ Party/ Miscellaneous

Graphics & Sound:
While I'll admit that I am not a huge fan of the band Queen, I can certainly appreciate the band and what they did for rock music. SingStar: Queen compiles 25 of the band's songs for the ultimate Queen experience. Songs include such hits as "Another One Bites the Dust", "Bohemian Rhapsody", "Under Pressure", "We Will Rock You" and "You're My Best Friend," plus fan favorites like "Fat Bottomed Girls", "Killer Queen", "Radio Go Ga" and "We Are the Champions." I can certainly say that every Queen song I can think of is included in this compilation and most are a lot of fun to sing, while still being really challenging.

Just like every other SingStar release, SingStar: Queen plays the videos in the background. Considering the painful 70's time period, this can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you feel about the glam rock look, Freddie Mercury and the 70's. This is vintage Queen we are talking about here and sometimes the visuals can be a bit distracting. Overall, I think having the original videos adds to the experience.


Gameplay:
It's karaoke, Queen style! Ok, like I said, I'm not a huge Queen fan, but it's better than ABBA. My mom liked Queen a lot when I was growing up, so I had a lot of exposure to a number of the songs on this compilation. Some I hadn't heard in years and they brought back childhood memories, while others brought back other memories. I still can't hear "You're My Best Friend" without thinking of the ending scene of Shaun of the Dead.

Just as before, you can opt to Sing Solo, sing with two people in Duet (shared score) or Battle (head-to-head), brush up your skills on Practice or play Pass the Mic with between 2 and 8 players. In Pass the Mic, there are a bevy of mini-games to engage in like singing medleys, having no lyrics present, etc. The object of the game is to sing well to earn points and get a good score. By hitting the notes and pitch correctly and holding the notes for the correct length of time, you score points. At certain pivotal times in the song, you have an opportunity to get Golden Notes and earn a higher score, so try to hit these notes perfectly. Once your score is tallied, you are given a rank like Hopeful, Wannabe or Sing Star.


Difficulty:
I found the songs in SingStar: Queen to be surprisingly difficult. Even songs I felt I knew pretty well were just tough to sing, even on Easy and Medium. I guess I just have a little more respect for Freddie Mercury now. The note changes and the notes that had to be held for long periods of time just gave you that added bit of challenge. You can choose to play on Easy, Medium and Hard and the difference in challenge comes in how long you are expected to hold notes and whether you are required to hit the pitch exactly. Easy and Medium are more lenient, obviously. Of course, depending on the opponents you choose, your difficulty could vary greatly.

Game Mechanics:
Another SingStar release, same old thing, right? Wrong. They've actually thrown something new in the mix this time. Now, you can use Voice Control in the menu instead of using the controller. While it sounds like a great idea to not have to keep reaching for the controller and putting down the mic, I found it to be a little more trouble than it's worth. However, I did like the fact that they are trying new things and some people out there may prefer the Voice Control. It takes a bit of time to set it up, getting the system to recognize what you are saying and such. For me, I found that it had problems recognizing what I was asking for, but your experiences may vary. Also, I didn't like that you had to go through the motions each time you turned on the system to play SingStar: Queen, so I found it easier to just bypass that and jump in and play.

Aside from that difference, things look a lot like previous releases. Words flash across the screen in either red or blue, depending on which player, and you sing them at the allotted time. Hitting the notes means earning points and increasing your rank. Same old.

Once again, you can purchase new content in the SingStore and the content you previously purchased is also available when you pop SingStar: Queen into your PS3, so that's nice. Maybe you need to temper your Queen mode with a little Fountains of Wayne? You can do that.

One thing I need to note is a problem I have had with the SingStore and I wanted to warn readers. I bought a slew of songs back when SingStar made its first appearance on the PS3. Then, last Christmas, my PS3 died and I had it replaced. Well, I went to either repurchase or re-download the songs I had downloaded previously because some of them were just songs I really wanted. I found something amazing had happened, but not a good amazing. I couldn't buy the songs again, because I had already purchased them. The system told me to download them again, since they had already been purchased. When I went to Purchase History to do just that, it wouldn't let me download them because it told me the songs were associated with another PS3. What?!? Ok, so it's bad enough I can't download the songs again, but how stupid is it that I can NEVER get these songs again. Sure, I could load up a different profile, but then I don't have access to all my other songs. That's just messed up and something Sony really needs to fix since its just plain stupid. Ok, rant over. As before, you can upload your performances and snapshots to friends via SingStar Online.

This probably isn't going to be the game that gets you into SingStar if you aren't already a fan, but if you like Queen, it's definitely for you. There's a great collection of Queen tunes here for you to release your inner Freddie, so break out the leather pants and the gold chains and get with it.


-Psibabe, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ashley Perkins

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