Last November, Karaoke Revolution
came out of nowhere and provided a solid party experience by introducing the skill of singing into a game. By using a USB headset/microphone to sing into, Konami's game was able to measure pitch and tell the tone deaf fools from the karaoke superstars. It was a simple idea with a solid execution and it worked so well that fans were eagerly awaiting the expansion pack that was hinted at in the original. With that in mind, Karaoke Revolution Vol. 2
is a standalone version and it has some new features, but what it really provides is a new selection of music and that's what matters.
If you haven't played the original, Vol. 2 measures singing ability by checking how close the gamer's pitch is to the original. The lyrics scroll right to left and are much easier to read than the typical lyrics on a screen that karaoke bars use.Each of the different difficulty levels gives different margins of error so the expert mode requires a faithful rendition. Each song is broken up into a number of sections for scoring. Get the tune down right in one section and points are awarded. Get successive segments done well and singers can build up combos. Stink up the stage and the song will end a little shorter.
In Vol. 2, this formula hasn't changed one bit and for good reason, because it worked perfectly the last time. Gamers can still "cheat" the system by singing other lyrics or even just humming along in tune, but since the fun is in really singing and doing it right there's no problem with this loophole. The look of the game has been enhanced, however, with some new characters, new outfits for the old characters, and new levels in addition to the old ones. The two main gameplay additions are the Quick Play mode and the Medley mode.
The Quick Play mode is pretty self-explanatory and it lets gamers jump right in to sing any song right away, The Medley mode is much more interesting. Singers can choose three to five songs to combine into one, kind of like that Grease Megamix they play on the radio. Between verses, the song switches and this helps to stretch one's vocal abilities. While we had fun choosing the absolute perfect line-up of songs and showing off, the real test came from letting someone else pick the tunes and then be surprised by what came up. It's not as easy as it sounds and introduces some quick changes that hadn't been in the original.
Just like the first game, Vol. 2 provides 35 songs to work one's magic on. You can check out the full list of them right here to see if this appeals to you. The most important thing to consider here is whether or not these songs are ones that you won't mind practicing over and over again to get them down just right. The collection mixes up some recent pop tunes like Britney Spears' "Toxic" right along with other songs like Madonna's "Papa Don't Preach" and on through to Elvis' "Heartbreak Hotel." It's pretty much guaranteed that most of the songs will at least be familiar.
While the list may not seem entirely appealing to everyone, the fun of the whole game helps to get even the disco-haters to try out Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" after a little experience with the other songs. It's not all about whether you love all of the songs, but whether you're willing to at least try them out. After getting a group of people together, it's pretty easy to convince them to keep on trying out other songs even after they've given their "only song they're going to sing, I mean it" a try.
While these songs aren't the original versions, they're awfully close and it's satisfying to hit the right notes along with songs that you've heard dozens of times before. Each of the songs has an included vocal track to sing along with in order to get a better feel for the song. Later on, this training wheel device can be removed in order to sing without any in-game vocal accompaniment. It would have been vastly appreciated if the number of songs had been increased over the original, but there's still enough to work with.
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