Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Review: Karaoke Revolution Presents American Idol Encore

Karaoke Revolution Presents: American Idol Encore (2008)
Developer: Blitz Games
Platform: PlayStation 2
Purchase Date: 03/30/2008

Loner Gamer likes singing Sweet Dreams...

I must start this off with the following confession: I used to be a big American Idol fan. I hardly watch the show nowadays because of the following reasons: 1) Ryan Seacrest is getting on my last nerves. I don't watch the show live and during my TiVo Idol session, I would skip all the parts that involve Seacrest opening his big and boisterous mouth. 2) My favorite singers never win the competition. Apparently, I am always in the minority when it comes to recognizing singers with amazing potentials and talents thus I stop caring to vote for contestants on the show. When Latoya London was booted off, my passion for Idol faded as well. Still, the American Idol brand slapped onto the game disc isn't the real allure for me here. I own all of the Karaoke Revolution games that have graced the PlayStation 2 console. Just like all the previous games on the series, this latest installment is just another "booster" pack that can be added to the ever growing song list I use for my Karaoke parties.

The best way to Karaoke is to Karaoke Revolution!

Like always, singing here is most fun when you are actually trying to rack up points and have the game analyze your pitch and rhythm while you're belting out a song. If you are not up to snuff, the music is stopped and your game is over. To make it even more thrilling, you can have the three American Idol judges -now with Paula Abdul- criticize your performance as well. Thank goodness they haven't gotten to a 3D Ryan Seacrest yet... The funny thing is, you get to hear Paula being utterly negative here when we know that if she is really there in person, she would never say such honest things. They still haven't gotten the American Idol Contest mode right: you still jump from song to song without anything exciting punctuating your progress to the top. The only difference between this and the arcade mode seen previously in the series is the judges' comments at the end of your performances. So those who want to know how it feels to win the competition will still need to go to the actual audition and work it out from there.

These three are ready to tell you how terrible your singing really is.

The game is amusing when played alone. There are numerous things to unlock and believe it or not, it does help improve your singing if you take the time to learn the songs and keep aiming for higher difficulty settings. There are a lot of ways to customize your avatar and you can still use a USB camera to have your face mapped to your character's head (still looks spooky though). The game is definitely best played with a group of friends and you will be surprised by the amount of people who would actually want to try out the game during your next get together even if it means that they may be utterly ridiculed by Simon Cowell. By the way, don't believe the claim on the back of the case stating that you can play this version online - your local friends will have to make do.

The back of the instruction manual. Run for your lives!

American Idol Encore may be the final addition to the series on the PlayStation 2. It is disappointing that word recognition is still missing from the game and you still cannot swap discs without rebooting the game. This latest entry also has some terrible list of songs - just like the real show - second only to Karaoke Revolution Country. If you are new to the series, I do recommend getting the PlayStation 3 or the X-Box 360 version of the game just for the ability to purchase and download additional songs into the game. These are songs that appeared on the series' previous PlayStation 2 discs.

RATING: 3 out of 5

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