Tuesday, December 23, 2008
While karaoke games are huge across the pond, they're yet to catch on to the same extent here in the States. Sony's Singstar series has been the king of the hill for some time now, but Microsoft is deciding to throw their hat in the ring with Lips. While it doesn't feature the robust online community and social networking options that Singstar features, the wireless mics are a definite improvement.
One thing you'll notice immediately is that there is no need to unlock songs a la Rock Band or Guitar Hero. Everything is open from the beginning. Considering this game is marketed towards multiplayer, this is a smart move. If you've got a party coming up and you're planning on having karaoke, you don't want to have to spend hours unlocking all the songs before it's ready to go.
The downside to this is that it leaves very little incentive to play the game by yourself. Any sense of accomplishment is gone, plus you'd probably feel a little silly singing "Walk Like an Egyptian" alone in your apartment.
Rock Band claimed that it would feature an accurate voice-recognition scoring system that would identify consonants and syllables. Then the game came out and everyone realized you can just hum the basic pitch of the song and get a perfect score. Lips is no different. Considering the one focus of the game is singing into a microphone, you'd think some time could be put into recognizing more than pitch, but this unfortunately isn't the case.
You'll probably want to play this game with another person, but you'll find that options are limited. You can sing songs together or opt to go into a duet mode that features two players trading lines back and forth. While this may be briefly fun at a party, it's not something that you'd play daily. The Singstar series had a great idea with the SingStore, an online community that allowed you to upload your performances for all to see. Lips features nothing like this, instead offering a very basic online experience. Overall, this is the best option for karaoke fans that only own the 360, but those with a PS3 as well would do better with Singstar.
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