Adam Ghiggino
07 Apr, 2011

Yoostar 2: In the Movies Review

PS3 Review | There's no business like show business.
The simplest way to describe Yoostar 2: In the Movies would be 'movie karaoke'. The concept, and the original Yoostar itself, began on PC and Mac and essentially allowed users to insert themselves into famous movie scenes to re-enact and riff on them. A huge part of the experience is also the social aspect, as users can then upload their clips onto the Yoostar site for others to view, rate and comment upon. Yoostar 2 is the developer's attempt to bring this experience to home consoles, with a version for Xbox 360 using the Kinect, and one for PlayStation 3 using the PlayStation Eye (with optional Move functionality). We've taken a look at the PlayStation 3 version, so is it a blockbuster success, or a box-office bomb in the making?

Yoostar 2's 80 included scenes can be accessed instantly from the Quick Play menu. The game's library of scenes ranges from action films like The Terminator and 300, to comedies like Along Came Polly and Zoolander and Tropic Thunder and Ben Stiller Comedy 4. There are even a few TV shows thrown into the mix, including Star Trek: The Next Generation and CSI: Miami. While there is a decent spread of genres, and most of the scenes are memorable ones, some of the scenes are a little unexciting and perhaps only chosen due to the limitations of the insertion process.

You think in such three dimensional terms.

You think in such three dimensional terms.
After choosing a scene, and which part you'd like to play, the software then asks you to leave the gaze of the PlayStation Eye so it can capture a blank template of your room. You are then allowed to re-enter the scene, placing yourself within a chalk outline of the actor you are replacing and in so doing are composited into the scene, ready for primetime. At least, that's the idea. There are certain lighting conditions under which Yoostar 2 operates the best, but we'd be blasted if we could achieve them. Perhaps it's due to the resolution of the Eye itself, or the fact it doesn't fare incredibly well in low-light conditions, but no matter what we tried, our image was rarely without a static effect, sometimes taking up most of the shots we were in, ruining the effect completely. You also have to re-do this whole process every time you choose a new scene, even if you're on a playlist of several scenes, you'll have to leave the view of the camera, wait for it to take a template shot, move back in, line yourself up, and so on. It's not very conducive to a good flow of gameplay.

Whether it looks any good or not, once you're in the scene, the clip from the movie will play in a small window in the middle of the screen, while the script scrolls through at the top, highlighting when you need to say your lines, and at what pace. You're scored afterwards on how closely you followed the script and how energetic your performance was. Of course, you can play along and try to give your best performance since your role as a rock in high school drama, but the game doesn't really seem to be aware whether you're actually doing a good job or not, a bit like most karaoke games. We could remain motionless and spout gobblydegook in place of lines and still get a great score, so it's not as if you need to be amazingly accurate, and you even chalk up points for lines from the other actor in the scene you're not controlling.

The Challenge mode is the equivalent of the game's campaign mode, and gives you specific scenes and tasks to complete as work your way around Los Angeles. These can be simply completing a scene from a given film, or remembering and reciting the key lines from three scenes in a row. There are awards to win for particularly perfect performances, which in turn unlock more sections of Hollywoodland, and so forth. It is structured much like a music game, with various challenges to choose from at any given time, and reasons to go back and earn different awards to unlock more content, but it's not a lot of fun by yourself, and if you were with friends then you'd probably be more keen on sticking with the Quick Play mode. Incidentally, the Move in Yoostar 2 is used purely for menu navigation.

It's not a tumor.

It's not a tumor.
The social aspect of Yoostar is present and accounted for in Yoostar 2, meaning you can upload your own videos and watch others, granting them stars and awards for ones you find particularly amusing. Most of the videos we saw just had people laughing at the ridiculousness of it all, and the quality of the compositing in some of them did confirm we weren't the only one with issues setting up the camera. It takes a very long time to load any of the videos as well, despite the fact they're quite low resolution and take up only a small fraction of the screen. Finally, you can pay for and download further scenes from the Yoostar store, but unless there's a clip you really want to see yourself in, the novelty value will have worn off by then.

Yoostar 2: In the Movies is definitely an interesting concept - bringing the karaoke experience to movies is a novel idea, and if you can get the software to correctly composite you into the scenes, then you'll no doubt have a spot of fun giving orders on the bridge of the Enterprise-D or talking about the wolf pack of one with The Hangover boys. Beyond that, it's not really much of a game, as much of the point-giving seems arbitrary, and it's far too easy to make progress in the Challenge mode of the game. There's a good idea behind all of this, but while it may provide a night's entertainment amongst drunk friends, it doesn't have a lot of value beyond that.
The Score
Yoostar 2 is a fun idea and is certainly something that's best played with friends, but its technical limitations do spoil the rather short-lived experience. Best saved for a rental on a rainy day.
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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3 years ago
Certainly an interesting idea - shame it's not technically all there. This could have been a lot of fun for those parties with a few mates and a few drinks.
3 years ago
Visit Civic Video one Saturday night after the grog shop.
3 years ago
Adam wrote
the quality of the composting in some of them did confirm we weren't the only one with issues setting up the camera.
This game involves composting? Count me in! icon_wink.gif

Interesting review anyway, the game has certainly caught my attention whenever I've seen it in a store. Looks like it's a bit too average to bother with though.
3 years ago
just gota say, the kinect is nicer to use, no background cut outs ect... still pretty low pixels though... definitley fun though, even if thats just because its a bit diffrent to most games... (besides "your in the movies" but this is better)
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