Be the next superstar !
Most of us have at least one karaoke experience on our guilty conscience, preferably drunk and in presence of total strangers. King amongst the karaoke genre, Karaoke Revolution has always given a stage to the shiest – and most sober – of the gang, bringing karaoke in the comfort of our living room. At its core, it’s very simple: you have to put your voice on the right notes while a chart showing those notes runs across the screen, to the sound of your chosen song. You then get a score according to how much good notes were sung. While it might not be the most action-packed video games of all times, all the Karaoke Revolutions (1 through 3, Karaoke Revolution Party and KR: American Idol) offer one unique thing: it will bring a party together for, usually, a very good laugh. It’s a must-have for people who hold parties regularly, along with the six-pack in the fridge!
What looks like an interesting premisce is in reality as shallow as the TV show can sometimes be.
Bearing that in mind it was natural to bring American Idol, one of the most watched TV shows today, to the Karaoke Revolution series, and the step is taken smoothly. The interface is roughly the same as in KR Party: you have the Quickgame which lets you choose one song and perform it in the venue of your choice, 2 mics party and Duets, which are really where you’re going to get the most fun as a group, providing you get your hands on two microphones. You can set up different sorts of challenges with teams or individuals involving full songs, medleys and different rules.
Where the new installment breaks from the tradition is by adding the American Idol feature, which is basically the same as the TV show: you get through the audition without being bashed by the judges, then, if you don’t get eliminated before, you rise to the top and become the next American Idol!
What looks like an interesting premisce is in reality as shallow as the TV show can sometimes be. While it’s fun to go through the process a few times, one will quickly grow tired of the streamlined method where you just have to sing good to go to the next round until the end. It would have been fun to add more of the elements that truly make people vote for a singer instead of another, such as the song choice, the clothing, etc… Honestly one will have more interest in singing the songs in Quickgame and trying to get perfect scores instead of going through the entire American Idol thing.
Speaking of which, while the judges are cast perfectly – Paula, Randy and Simon all do their own voice – , their comments usually amount to: absolutely nothing worth listening to. It’s fun to crash a song once or twice and hear them complain afterwards, but that’s about it: in an effort to sound realistic with comments such as “you really chose a song that’s right for you” or “it was a bit pitchy in the middle, but you picked it up”, they end up blabbering a lot of nonsense and being annoying – with Randy’s numerous “yos” and “check it out”. If you really want to hear them, watch the show!
On the audio side, the tracks are very well recorded – most of them sound very close or exactly like the originals and, with tracks like “Let’s Stay Together” or “Saving all My Love For You”, that’s a great feat. The song selection seems superior to the previous installments, without a doubt reflecting a bigger budget: the previous KR were notorious for their bad or unknown – generally both – songs. The audio bits in the American Idol though, are feeble. When the announcer speaks, it sounds like someone held a microphone to their TV speaker. Graphically speaking, the game isn’t astounding and the sets are ordinary, but one of its great successes is to perfectly emulate the lip movement of a singer for every song, and you character sings, dances and even blinks – a small detail that could get downright scary a la Hannibal Lecter in KR 1.
As you progress, you will also unlock a load of extra videos, including some of the best performances in the TV show, and also – to our greatest joy – some of the worst, like the notorious William Hung or “that Kosovo guy”.
Overall, KR: American Idol is not your typical game. You will not play this alone in your living room – at least, we hope. But it’s one of the best party games out there and has a really great replay value!
The Bad: Judges’ comments seem random, when they’re not plain annoying; Your score is, ultimately, the only thing that matters in American Idol mode