Singstar: Ultimate Party review (PS3)

Singstar: Ultimate Party is by no means a great (or even good) game, but we still managed to have some fun with it. Here’s how.

The Singstar series is over 10 years old now, but we’d never played any of the games up until now. We waited until our Christmas office party to spring some karaoke action on everyone, and luckily the holiday spirit (or was that ‘spirits’?) overcame at least some of the game’s shortcomings.

The most haunting rendition of "Let it go" that you'll ever see

The most haunting rendition of “Let it go” that you’ll ever see

It’s not that we didn’t want to be in front of a TV blurting out the lyrics to Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” or Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” – an hour into any good office party and you’re ready to do just that. It’s also not that we didn’t want to be holding microphones for fear of looking too much like an American Idol wannabe – Singstar Ultimate Party’s ability to use your smartphone instead takes care of that. So what’s stopping this game from being the greatest party experience since, well, videogames starting becoming a part of such things?

Perhaps it’s the fact that the game was shipped in a fundamentally broken state… Sure, being able to connect your smartphone to your PS3/PS4 using Bluetooth technology sounds great on paper, but the end effect is far from stellar. Aside from some small but noticeable lag issues, the game doesn’t properly play back your own vocals through the TV. Mixing the instrumental track with your own vocals is a key ingredient for any karaoke experience – otherwise you’re just singing at your TV as it’s playing some popular music videos.

Singstar Ultimate Party

After trying to fix these issues ourselves, we gave up and decided to just make fools of ourselves for the better part of an hour instead. Accepting the game’s major flaws and just using it as a way to fuel some entertainment was key here. And then the Playstation Network suddenly alerted us to the fact that there was a title update available for the game. Though we had already moved on, the update promises to improve the mic functionality, adding the ability to hear yourself within the music track again.

Great news for fans of the genre and we’ll give it a go during our next get-together, but still no excuse to ship the game in the state in which it was. Still, kudos to Sony for their mistake – we’ve adjusted our score accordingly but the score could have been higher had the initial experience not left us with a bitter aftertaste.

Score: 5.5/10

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