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Review: Yoostar 2
by Tom Acres

Music karaoke games are something that we're all pretty familiar with; whether it's SingStar on the Playstation 3 or Lips on the Xbox 360, they can be enjoyed by people ranging from budding pop stars to those of us who can't hold a note. No doubt about it, the music karaoke genre is pretty entertaining and really quite popular. But how would you feel if I told you there was a thing called movie karaoke? The concept may seem incredibly strange, but Yoostar 2 manages to make it incredibly enticing. Being dropped into your favourite films is something everyone can get a kick out of. I have no doubt that anyone who much as rents it for a weekend will have many a laugh, but does it have the longevity to remain a party favourite, or will it be eclipsed by other music games? Will your relationship with Yoostar 2 be a one-night stand basis?

Truth is, it depends.

In concept, Yoostar 2 is both cool and simple. There are 80 famous film scenes on the disc and you can step into the role of one or two of the characters involved to either perfectly recapture the original performance or ad-lib your own craziness. Some of the scenes can be performed with two people at once, some involve no dialogue at all, and others are set up as action battlegrounds in which you direct yourself. You simply step in front of the PlayStation Eye or Kinect camera, line yourself up in the correct position and presto! - you're in a scene. It sounds simple because it is - there isn't really much complexity to Yoostar 2. not only do its rating systems seem a little off, but unless you get creative redoing scenes multiple times won't be as appealing as singing your favourite songs again and again via SingStar, Lips, Rock Band, or one of the other classics.

Whilst the process of playing the game itself is simple, getting everything to work correctly from a technical standpoint can be an exercise in frustration. For the camera technology to work as it should, you're going to need stand in front of a clear backdrop and ensure that lighting is completely even. Objects such as sofas, or minor lighting issues like furniture shadows will result in your surroundings bleeding into the scene. While it may be amusing to see a lampshade appear on top of Marlon Brando's head during a scene from The Godfather, it does kill the illusion.

I'm lucky enough to be in a position where it's relatively easy to set up the camera in a furniture-free, well-lit location, and everything works as it should, but these technical shenanigans are certainly something to consider if you only have access to a clustered living room. When the camera does work as intended, the effect is fantastic (especially in scenes where you are working with other real actors). The illusion is certainly there, so it's worth putting some effort in to ensure you get the best experience possible as there are laughs and fun to be had if you get it to work.

In terms of modes, Quick Play is the one to choose. It simply lets you pick any scene you want and act it out without any faffing around - it's quick and simple enough that most people will probably stick with it rather than head into the Challenge mode, which plays out like some sort of half-hearted attempt at a single player career mode. It's not particularly appealing, and will leave you trudging through a fair amount of scenes that you may not be remotely interested in.

Speaking of scenes you may not be interested in, that is what will ultimately make or break Yoostar 2 - the content it offers you. There are some great scenes on its list, but inevitably there are a few duff ones too (Angels and Demons, who chose that one?!). DLC has been promised, but as of now nothing is available, meaning that it's difficult to predict what kind of scenes will eventually be put on sale (or more importantly, how much they are going to cost). If there's good enough DLC support in store for us, then Yoostar 2's Quick Play mode will make it well worth returning to months down the line.

What's also impressive about Yoostar 2 is it's social networking element. You can save all your scenes locally and also upload them to the Yoostar Playground, an online hub where they can be viewed and rated by other users. From here they can easily be posted onto Facebook and Twitter, which is a nice touch. It's these sort of options which will keep people engaged with the game, and if a budding community can flourish and grow then Yoostar 2 may have a healthy future in store for it.

The length of playtime you'll get out of Yoostar 2 will depend on:

a) Your love for films
b) How creative you are
c) Whether or not it ever receives DLC worth buying

There are some pretty good scenes on the disc, and Quick Play mode can be an absolute barrel of laughs when enjoyed with friends, but beyond that there isn't anything else to do with Yoostar 2. The social networking element is an innovative and well realised step forward for party games of this style, but what will keep you coming back is the ad-lib option to mess around with famous scenes and the future DLC support. As it stands today, Yoostar 2 is an amusing party game with some neat technology behind it and one that will keep you entertained for a few Saturday nights at the very least.

7/10 [?]

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- Tom Acres

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