SingStar comes really close to transforming the PlayStation 3 into the ultimate karaoke machine. The new PS3 edition of the game is sold separately or bundled with a pair of microphones that plug right into the front of the console. If you have the PlayStation Eye camera, the game will automatically record video and take snapshots of your performance while you belt out "Sympathy For The Devil." The online SingStore features more than a hundred songs (at $1.49 a pop) to expand your playlist. You'll need it: With less than 40 songs on the game disc, the selection out of the box feels anemic.
Still, there's plenty of fun to be had for micro-payment cheapskates. Infectious pop hits like Britney Spears' "Toxic" and OutKast's "Hey Ya!" are enjoyable numbers, partially since they don't tax the pipes that much. When the vocals get hairier (during Amy Winehouse's "Back To Black," for example) the game's pitch measurement comes in really handy, helping warblers feel their way around the staff. This kind of guidance is nothing new to music games, but it gives just enough feedback to make SingStar feel like something more than a sing-along. The game's video-and-picture-sharing feature is pretty nifty, but it confines all your performances to a Sony-run online community. Easy output to YouTube would have made it much easier for SingStar players to embarrass themselves online. And those wired microphones? They feel decidedly last-gen now that all the other music games are going wireless.
Beyond the game: The tracks, mostly hits from the last two decades, are accompanied by their original music videos. Sadly, these classic clips are stretched or cropped to fit widescreen TVs. Won't somebody think of our music-video heritage?
Worth playing for: Even without the camera, SingStar can record entire vocal performances—a perfect feature for the blackmailing type who enjoys hosting drunken karaoke parties.
Frustration sets in when: The SingStore selection of downloadable songs isn't as deep as it could be. But any service that offers the outrageously cheesy "Vampires Are Alive" by DJ Bobo can't be all that bad.
Final judgment: Your neighborhood karaoke joint isn't in danger…yet.