KR: AI Encore Review
Karaoke Revolution: American Idol Encore for the Xbox 360 is the first KR game to be released on the 360. I had been waiting a very long time for this game. The last time I had played a KR game was about four years ago on the original Xbox – KR Party.
In a spotlight which I wrote a few weeks ago,the description claims “Download new characters, outfits, and expand your karaoke library of music with downloadable songs.” However as of this writing I have yet to see any downloadable content yet. Is the game worthy of a purchase? Read on to find out.
It has been quite some time since Xbox gamers have seen a Karaoke Revolution game, as the last one to appear was KR Party, and that was in November 2005. After a few years of absence, and with the release of Rock Band, can Karaoke Revolution: American Idol Encore deliver?
You begin the game by choosing from a variety of characters, and then modifying them to your liking. You can select from a variety of clothes and hairstyles, and as well as even creating a name for them. Unfortunately you can not create a character from scratch, which is disappointing. Furthermore it would be nice to use the Vision Camera to take a picture of your face to use on a character. The games does make use of the camera though. On a few select stages, one can see themselves in the background.
When completing a song, the judges Simon, Paula, and Randy critique you based on your singing. Over time the novelty wears off, and thankfully one can skip the judging. Players can unlock a few songs, videos, and dancers when completing certain goals. Unfortunately most of the unlockable content is nothing amazing, and leaves much to be desired for. Another downfall is that only USB connected headsets and microphones will work with this game, so if you want to play with others, make sure you have extra – and yes, the Rock Band microphone is compatible with this game.
The American Idol branding is an excellent idea to make the KR games receive more attention, but what gamers really want is a decent song list along with great multiplayer options. Unfortunately, the song list is not very good. It is very aggravating seeing only 40 songs in this game, when previous iterations had more. Furthermore over 20 of them are not even worth singing to. Everyone has their own music taste, and for the most part everyone will agree the song list leaves much to be desired. Luckily there is downloadable content, which will have many songs to download, but as of right now there is none.
But what KR: AIE fails in song power, its strength lies in multiplayer. For the first time ever, KR is online. Up to eight people can play online together, and that is a wonderful addition. The best mode is Head to Head, in which two players can see who can sing the best, and if the other player can not do as well, then the song ends. This is also the only mode online in which you can see your character and the other singers. The other modes just show a data bar.
While KR: AI Encore may not have been all it could have been, it certainly will please casual singers and makes for a great party game, offline and online. Hopefully when the downloadable songs are released, it will breathe some more life into the game. For $70, its really only worth it if you are a hardcore Karaoke Revolution or American Idol fan – but for most gamers a rental will suffice.
Presentation: An American Idol themed interface, which is very well done and clean. The cartoonish look is now gone, and possesses a more realistic feel. The judges come to life in the game, and at times feels as if you are really auditioning for the show. The animations are a bit strange though, and there certainly could have been more content added to the game. [8.5]
Gameplay: You sing with a microphone, either progressing through tournaments or just a single stage, and unlocking things as you progress. There are a variety of difficulty levels to choose from if a player wants more of a challenge, which further adds to its longevity. The use of American Idol is a good gimmick, and adds life into the game. Making the game online was an excellent addition, and it rocks. However, it would have been nice for this game to have more features, such as a few mini-games of some sort. [8.0]
Graphics/Sound: The characters become realistic in this version, and everything looks fine. The special effects used in the game are pretty good, and really add to the American Idol experience. Unfortunately the game has only 40 songs to choose from – which is small compared to other games. There is one too many rock songs which belong more in Rock Band than it does in Karaoke Revolution. Your contempt with this game lies within your music tastes. With only a few pop songs, the game leaves much to be desired for – and hopefully downloadable content will resolve this issue. [7.0]
Value Factor: For $70, it does not exactly live up to its price. The amount and quality of the default songs is quite lackluster, but will hopefully improve with downloadable content. However for those who dream of becoming an American Idol, this game just may bring you as close as it gets. Your enjoyment is ultimately based on the songs and whether you like American Idol. [6.5]
Bottom Line: If you really crave some singing action, and want to sing from a variety of different genres, then this game is for you. The American Idol theme along with excellent online play makes this game more enjoyable. For the first KR game on 360, its not so bad, but it definitely could have been better. Definitely rent first before purchasing!
+ Karaoke Revolution is finally on Xbox 360!
American Idol theme adds to the experience
Online play with up to 8 people
– The default song list is small and not very good
The novelty of the judges wears off quickly
$70 price tag a bit too much
Needs more features