I wouldn't exactly consider myself to be camera shy, but yet when it comes to singing in public; it's something I'd typically avoid like the plague. And yet, this is what SCEA's upcoming PS2 release, SingStar Rocks, is playing on. The fifth entry in Sony's Karaoke franchise, SingStar Rocks is another entry that looks to breakthrough in the ever growing music genre, and it could very well turn out to be one of the best party games in recent history.
The concept is simple, grab a microphone, pick a tune, and sing to your hearts content. Whether you're actually good or not has yet to be decided. SingStar Rocks measures the pitch, tone, and rhythm of your performance, and scores you based on how close this performance matches the real thing. As you sing, two blue bars indicate the pitch at which you are singing, and if you are too high or low in comparison to the original performance. You'll score points on how closely you match the tune, and the rhythm to which you perform. Picky tastes in music? The newest entry into the franchise will include thirty songs and videos across a variety of genres, everything from alternative rock to hip hop, attempting to reach a broader demographic then previous releases.
SingStar Rocks offers up several modes of play, none of which are really new to the series. The solo and duet modes are pretty straightforward, while freestyle allows you perform at your own pace without the pressure of a competition. In terms of multiplayer, "Pass the Mic" allows teams of up to four players to compete, while Battle mode pits two performers against each other.
From what we saw at Sony's recent holiday event for the PS2/PSP, SingStar Rocks garnered a lot of attention. While some of the performances were notable, others left something to be desired, and this is what gives the SingStar franchise so much potential. When you get behind the microphone, you can simply stop caring and let yourself loose, no matter how good or bad your performance, you'll likely have a good time. Then again, if you're not open to singing in public, then you can always do it from within the privacy of your own home.
SingStar Rocks ships with two microphones, and will integrate with the EyeToy USB camera allowing players to snap photos and see themselves in place of the artist's music video. Scheduled for release this November on the PS2 (with another SingStar release headed to the PS3 shortly thereafter), it's a title that should no doubt appease fans of the genre, and maybe convert a few nay-sayers in the process.