Developer: Sony Computer Entertainment
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment America
No. of Players: 1-8
Hard Disk Space Required: 8763KB
Supported HD Video Output: 720p, 1080i, 1080p
Online Broadband Required
Playstation Network Compatible
EyeToy USB Camera Compatible
I have been to many weddings and closed down many clubs over the years and the one song which seems to always be included in the DJ’s rotation is Abba’s “Dancing Queen”. Not my personal favourite but the women always seemed to love it and nine times out of ten it would get my wobbly butt on the dance floor. For those living under a rock, Abba was a huge Swedish pop band back in the 70’s and early 1980’s and their legacy continues strong today. Abba now has its own video game; well sort of. Abba represents Sony’s first band exclusive SingStar game. I am not sure why they were chosen as many of the under-30 crowd many not even recognize the band. That being said, I was very curious to see how SingStar Abba would play out and if this was a worthy addition to my SingStar library.
Overall, the visuals in the game are about what I expected. SingStar Abba follows the same look and feel of other SingStar games. The only difference is that it is all about Abba. Aside from the Abba videos and opening presentation, the game stays very true to the franchise. As a result, I don’t put much weight on the games visuals as SingStar games are not your typical video games given its’ karaoke lineage. Nevertheless, SingStar Abba looks just as good as the other SingStar games as nothing has been enhanced or improved visually with this game.
My primary concern with the game rests with the standard definition Abba videos. They just don’t look that great as they are displayed in their original standard definition format. They definitely look as though they were produced back in the days when Beta and VHS were just arriving on the scene. The grainy and blurred look was totally expected, nevertheless it still looks shabby. Yes, I know they are older videos; however I just expected them to be re-mastered or cleaned up a little. Heck, maybe if they look that bad why put them on the game at all? Again, it makes me question why Abba was chosen as Sony’s first band exclusive SingStar game. I am sorry but in this day of high definition gaming, I can’t bare looking at standard definition videos on a next generation console.
Aside from some of the dated looking music videos, the rest of SingStar Abba delivers. First off the presentation of the game is very good. SingStar's menus are easy to navigate and they do look fantastic. You can immediately tell you are playing a PS3 game when navigating in the menus as they maintain that signature PS3 look. The online interface is equally as pleasing. Once you move past the main menu and jump into the song selection area, you are once again greeted with a slick looking song selection area. The album covers and other Abba artwork are displayed as you flip through your selections and you get a preview to the video before you make your selection. All in all SingStar Abba scores decent marks visually but the standard definition videos really hold this game back.
In a karaoke or music/rhythm game the sound is arguably the most important aspect. Fortunately for fans of this Swedish band SingStar Abba delivers in this department. All the songs and music video's are master tracks which gives the game instant credibility and authenticity. SingStar Abba features the bands most recognizable tunes which made the band an international smash hit. The songs themselves all sound terrific in 5.1 surround sound and come through crystal clear. I am not a huge Abba fan but was wife sure enjoyed singing and listening to those solid gold Abba tunes. She had no complaints with the sound and neither do I.
Regardless how many SingStar reviews I do I am always left to explain what the franchise is about for those one or two people who haven’t played it. SingStar is essentially a karaoke game which features a scoring system that includes the artist's music video playing in the background. Similar to the vocals in game like Rock Band or Guitar Hero World Tour, SingStar Abba for the PS3 has you sing along with music in order to score points. Users interface with the PS3 via the SingStar USB microphones. If you do not have the microphones from a previous edition of the franchise you can get the game with the two microphones and the USB adapater. The SingStar franchise does not measure how well you know the lyrics but rather uses a system which gauges your pitch (again similar to Rock Band or Guitar Hero World Tour). The pitch you are required to sing is displayed on horizontal bars and these bars correspond with the lyrics of the song. Your pitch is compared to the pitch of the artist(s) singing the song. The better your singing abilities (e.g. the better your pitch and timing) the better you score.
SingStar Abba for the PS3 comes with 25 tracks out of the box which is about 5 less tracks than your typical SingStar game. For me this was more than enough Abba songs. Yet on the flip side, considering the $40.00 dollar price tag for SingStar Abba, 25 tracks seems a tad skimpy. Ideally I would like to see a cheaper game with the existing set list or more tracks with the existing price. For those of you wondering, the game arrives out of the box with the following track list:
"Does Your Mother Know"
"Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)"
"I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do"
"Knowing Me, Knowing You"
"Money, Money, Money"
"One of Us"
"Summer Night City"
"Take a Chance on Me"
"Thank You for the Music"
"The Name of the Game"
"The Winner Takes It All"
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