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Luke Mitchell
24 Nov, 2007

High School Musical: Sing It! Review

PS2 Review | Sing it loud... sing it... not so proud.
High School Musical is one of those insanely popular franchises that are always going to be difficult for the older generation to grasp. Kids love it, teenagers love it because the boys and girls are abnormally good-looking, and the franchise has been an absolute gold mine for Disney, spawning DVDs, soundtracks and figurines just to name a few. It was of course only a matter of time before High School Musical became a video game, and one of the first to be released is High School Musical: Sing It! We probably don’t need to explain that the aim of the game is to sing… it. So how exactly does it stack up to other music and rhythm games on the market?

Well, this is coming from the perspective of a crew that isn’t a part of the High School Musical fan base. Nothing against the quality of the product, but we just didn’t get swept up in the craze since it’s been around. For those unaware, HSM is about a bunch of kids, who are somehow incredibly talented singers and dancers, deal with all the dramas of high school and growing up, including falling in love. It’s a bit of a cheese-fest, but it works, and the actors somehow manage to pull it off. The premise of Sing It! is to take the most popular songs from the movies and throw them into a karaoke game. The game will then judge your vocals, SingStar-style, and give you a grade based on how you perform.

Nice moves, we guess.

Nice moves, we guess.
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If you perform well, you can unlock other songs, characters and stages if you play in the quick mode. Party mode is where you and your friends can compete against each other, and there is also a story mode which is basically some narrated screen-shots from the movie to give players a basic plot to follow. Of course, it’s all about the singing in the end, so the storyline really is throw-away when it comes down to it (the photos aren’t all that interesting to begin with). If you’re unfamiliar with how these singing games work, here is the lowdown: lyrics come up on screen; bars come up on screen to match the melody of said lyrics, sing the words with the right melody to fill up the bars and score big points.

There isn’t anything else to the game than that, really, which means that the enjoyment of this game is entirely going to be based on how much you enjoy High School Musical. If you know the songs, you’ll probably have a blast, and the lyrics are all very friendly and simple, so it’s pretty easy for the kids to sing along as well. If you don’t know the songs, you’ll probably struggle to get a high score – but, to the games credit, the songs are all extremely catchy in an annoying kind of way. We have to admit that some songs did get stuck in our head, and one or two were enjoyable enough that we actually went back and tried them again to get a better score.

Stare deep... DEEP into my eyes. Creepy.

Stare deep... DEEP into my eyes. Creepy.
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There are some annoying issues with the gameplay though. There is a little basketball that follows your pitch through each line of lyrics, and is an indication of how far away you are from hitting the right note. However, we experienced some moments where we’d sing a long note that’s consistent in tone, and the basketball would move up and down and all over the place telling us that we were singing it wrong. It’s difficult to know if we’re singing too high or too low when the icon that’s supposed to help you is having a fit. There is also no ‘lead-up’ to each line of lyrics; they just light up when they start, which means often if you don’t know the tracks, you miss the starting point.

All the characters from the show are there, although they all look a little bit creepy. The graphics in the game are cell-shaded, which is fine, but on the close-ups of the main characters eyes, it’s a somewhat scary sight. We’re not sure if the kids in the movies look this weird, but it’s certainly a bit of a concern. The locations are also rather poor in terms of visual style, with the crowd being about as life-like as a bunch of cardboard cut-outs. It doesn’t exactly get you in the mood to sing when the people cheering you have literally no expression on their faces. Another problem is that in duets that feature a male and a female, if you’ve chosen to be two male characters, one of them will sing the female part – and will have the same voice as the girl on the track. It’s a bit awkward when Zac Efron is mouthing along to all the girly parts, to say the least.

The graphical style is ineffective.

The graphical style is ineffective.
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There’s a lot to unlock for fans of the movies. More characters, more locations, more songs, more outfits and a wealth of special features including cast interviews, dance rehearsals are available to find for those that bother, but that involves having to repeat the same songs over and over until you get the highest grade, so it’s a bit grating. For some reason they also included the option of pressing the shoulder buttons on the controller to make ‘percussion’ sounds, but they sound awful at best, so we’re puzzled as to why they would include this. It should also be noted that Sing It! comes conveniently packed with a microphone, but is also compatible with the SingStar microphones for those that are wondering about compatibility.

High School Musical: Sing It! isn’t an entirely terrible karaoke game. For fans of the movies, we can definitely see the appeal, as even us mature types ended up getting a little bit involved in a couple of the songs because they were so catchy. That being said, the game is incredibly lacking in options. The story mode is short and ineffective, and all that’s left after that is playing the songs repeatedly to unlock the goodies – and they’re only really interesting for lovers of the franchise. If you’re looking for a good singing game to bring out at parties, Sing It! probably won’t last long. If you want to entertain your kids for a few hours and they love the movies, this could be worthwhile – if only for a couple of rainy afternoons.
The Score
If you like the movies, then add a couple of points to the score and purchase away; if you haven't bought it already, that is. Unforunately, we didn't like the movies, so it's difficult to see past the dodgy presentation and lacking gameplay. Stick with SingStar. 6
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  15/11/2007 (Confirmed)
Standard Retail Price:
  $49.95 AU
Publisher:
  Disney Interactive Studios
Genre:
  Music
Year Made:
  2007

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