SingStar Rock Ballads

SingStar: Past, Present and Future

Sony's karaoke revolution.

Sony is justifiably proud of SingStar. It's sold over 17 million units. Over 4 million songs have been bought and downloaded. It's also almost universally adored by critics. Everyone at Eurogamer plays SingStar, for example, often to the exclusion of Guitar Hero and Rock Band. SingStar's brilliant, and it's a success. So it's slightly bizarre that the highest score it's ever had on Metacritic, across 26 individual disc releases, is 82, with the majority languishing in the mid-70s, if not lower.

SingStar backwards compatibility arrives

SingStar PS3 to work with PS2 discs Tues.

Three Speech has just reported the news that all Singstar fans wanted to hear: full backwards compatibility for Singstar PS3 arrives tomorrow.

PS2 songs in PS3 SingStar clarified

Won't involve ripping to hard disk.

MTV Multiplayer has clarified that the SingStar disc-swapping feature announced by Sony Europe boss David Reeves last night won't allow you to rip songs to the hard disk.

When I was little, before girls and hair, me and my family used to march to a house full of old people and sing songs at them on Christmas Eve. Interesting creatures, full of stories and sticky toffee sweets, and if you played your cards right you might land your very first kiss. Funny smelling places though, like someone kept forgetting to flush the toilet, but then they are old so maybe it is forgiveable. Soap: another withered person smell. The moral is that old things are not useless and ready to be thrown away; my Grandma used to give me stacks of 20 pence pieces when I saw her. Back of the net.

SingStar Rock Ballads

SingStar Rock Ballads

Home perm kit not included.

That's the way you do it! Forgive my brief moment of Mr Punch madness, but with Rock Ballads the SingStar series has finally clicked back into its groove. As this marks the tenth outing for the franchise in just a few short years, a production rate which makes even the EA Sports roster look positively lethargic, it was perhaps inevitable that quality would eventually take a back seat to quantity. That's not to say there haven't been tunes worth warbling in the last few updates, but it did feel that SingStar was becoming little more than an interactive version of the interminable Now That's What I Call Music compilation series.

This offering, with a track listing that sounds more like one of those "not available in any shops" Drive Time compilations, finds SingStar joyfully rediscovering what made it work in the first place. And there are two main reasons for this.

Firstly, SingStar finally feels like a game again. While it's great to be able to use your PS2 as a communal karaoke machine, there are scores to be earned and recent editions seemed to be losing track of that element. Instead songs seemed to be chosen solely for their kitsch appeal or demographic visibility. OK, the inclusion of Sugababes in a Rock Ballads set raises an eyebrow but that's really the only track that doesn't fit in here. While noses will undoubtedly be turned up at the presence of Avril Lavigne and Anastacia, there's no denying that they represent the modern evolution of the oestrogen-soaked light rock fare once peddled by T'Pau, Roxette and Alannah Myles, all of who are also present here.

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