Whenever SingStar turns up for review it demands a fully fledged party. Thanks, Sony!
Since getting Anthems last month, along with a new set of microphones to replace the ones that my overenthusiastic wine-fuelled guests broke the night Singstar Rocks came out (someone actually managed to snap one of the wires clean in two during some synchronised jumping), my collection of Singstar discs has been inconveniently large.
Typically, an evening of wine and caterwauling will barely have begun before someone decides they want to sing Ace of Spades or Come As You Are or (Lord forbid) McFly, and I have to switch the discs around. When there were only two or three SingStar titles around this was at least manageable, as even the drunkest host would have little difficulty remembering which song belonged to which collection. Now, though, with five of the buggers sitting alongside Buzz! and various dance games on my party shelf, things have become rather more challenging.
SingStar Legends, then, was expected to make things yet more inconvenient. However, it has one key advantage over most of the other games in the series, and that is the variety of in its selection. Where most recent collections like Rocks and Popworld and Anthems all work along roughly the same theme, Legends' method of selecting tracks is mysterious as inspired; the songs appear to have nothing whatsoever in common other than that they're all extremely fun to sing.
Incorporating everything from Bowie to Tina Turner to Nirvana to Louis Armstrong and Marvin Gaye, there is something for everyone here. It is an excellent all-purpose collection: bring it to family gatherings and dads and aunties will be very happy singing Let's Call The Whole Thing Off; stick it on post-pub and friends will be delighted to scream Smells Like Teen Spirit at the top of their voices and wake up your neighbours.
Other personal highlights of the track selection are Rocket Man, Life On Mars, Don't Stop Me Now and Sweet Home Alabama, but pretty much every song on the disc was sung at least twice the night that SingStar Legends arrived for review (these games are great fun to review - they effectively necessitate a party). That's something that genuinely couldn't be said for the other SingStar collections; in front of a crowd with diverse musical tastes, no collection lasts very long before people start clamouring for a disc change. Here, though, anybody would be able to look at the back of the box and find enough tracks they like to warrant a purchase.
Of course, the actual framework of the game remains completely unchanged, and likely ever will. However, it's rather difficult to criticise the lack of evolution here when the basic concept works so well. Apart from its trouble with consonants, it works seamlessly, and as nobody generally cares about the score anyway after three glasses of wine it's hardly an issue. SingStar will almost certainly remain the same forever; indeed, the only thing that's looking particularly intriguing about the PlayStation3 version is the fact that downloads will save all this tiresome disc-swapping.
Of the current-generation Singstar collections, though, this is the best yet in terms of overall variety and quality. If your tastes are particularly specific then you may still be better off with Rocks or Popworld, but as an all-inclusive party game Legends is perfect. Just be sure to keep your guests' synchronised jumping in check, or it might end up costing you a little more than planned.