SingStar Motown review: SingStar Motown

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Typical Price: $49.95
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4 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good A good selection from a great era. Live performances in lieu of music videos.

The Bad No new gameplay elements. Maximum of two mics at once. A real test of singing ability.

The Bottom Line Despite the lack of gameplay innovation, SingStar Motown is a worthy tribute to a great era in modern music. It might even have you dancing in the streets.

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8.2 Overall
CNET Editors' Choice Nov '09

SingStar Motown, like most of the SingStar franchise before it, doesn't change nor tinker with the gameplay. So, it's still essentially a way of moving the karaoke bar into one's own lounge room, with singers scored on pitch and timing. A number of difficulty settings are available, so that even the most tone deaf amongst us, such as your humble reviewer, won't feel like a complete chump. This is doubly important given the difficulty of many of the songs included.

With two microphones connected — both wired and wireless SingStar mics work fine — two singers can sing duets with alternating verses, or battle it out line for line, word for word. Some songs also offer players the option of being either the lead or a backing singer. Bigger parties are catered for with multiplayer modes, like pass the mic, but it would be nice if some day the game supported more than two mics.

Given the stasis of its gameplay, a SingStar title lives or dies by its tracklist and in this regard the Motown version comes up trumps. A good majority of the tracklist comes from Motown's Detroit years, with the production team of Holland–Dozier–Holland, as well as the backing Funk Brothers, naturally popping up quite regularly.

Both PS2 and PS3 versions contain the 25 tracks below, but some classics, like the Jackson 5's I'll be there, the Marvelette's Please Mr Postman and the Supremes' Baby love, still managed to slip through the cracks. Ramping up the nostalgia value up to 11, most tracks have footage of live performances in lieu of music videos, although a few, like the Jackson 5's I want you back, make do with photo collages.

  • David Ruffin — Put a little love in your heart
  • Diana Ross and the Supremes — Reflections (1967)
  • Jimmy Ruffin — What becomes of the broken hearted (1966)
  • Lionel Richie — My destiny (1992)
  • Martha Reeves and the Vandellas — Jimmy Mack (1967)
  • Martha Reeves and the Vandellas — Nowhere to run (1965)
  • Marvin Gaye — Let's get it on (1973)
  • Marvin Gaye — What's going on? (1971)
  • Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston — It takes two (1966)
  • Mary Wells — My guy (1964)
  • Rick James — Super freak (1981)
  • Smokey Robinson — Being with you (1981)
  • Smokey Robinson and the Miracles — The tracks of my tears (1965)
  • Stevie Wonder — For once in my life (1968)
  • The Commodores — Brick house (1977)
  • The Commodores — Easy (1977)
  • The Contours — Do you love me (1962)
  • The Four Tops — Reach out I'll be there (1966)
  • The Isley Brothers — This old heart of mine (is weak for you) (1966)
  • The Jackson 5 — ABC (1970)
  • The Miracles — Love machine (1975)
  • The Supremes — You can't hurry love (1966)
  • The Temptations — Get ready (1966)
  • The Temptations — Papa was a rollin' stone (1971)
  • The Velvelettes — Needle in a haystack (1964)

Priced identically to the PlayStation 2 version, PS3 owners also get the following five tracks gratis:

  • The Four Tops — I can't help myself (sugar pie, honey bunch) (1965)
  • The Jackson 5 — I want you back (1969)
  • Martha Reeves and the Vandellas — Dancing in the street (1964)
  • Marvin Gaye — I heard it through the grapevine (1968)
  • The Supremes — Stop in the name of love (1965)

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