Developer: Le Cortex
Publisher: Nordic Games Publishing AB
Seeing as how singing isn't my forte, I approached We Sing Encore with trepidation and not much hope of receiving a rewarding gameplay experience. When it comes to music games I like to see a bit of variety not only from the set list, but also from the roles that you can take, whether that's standing up with a guitar controller strapped around your shoulders or sitting down hammering away at the rubber pads on a synthetic drum kit. However, there's none of that with We Sing Encore, it's purely vocals based so chances are you'll either be stood up tapping your foot to the music or slouched into your couch in a hypnotic stupor as the words flash across the screen and you fire them out like a zombified cat perched on top of a fence wailing into the night.
The list of songs that you have to choose from is a little bit on the low side especially when you compare it to some of its rivals or even a song book at a karaoke night, which is a real shame because after a couple of hours you'll have covered just about everything and probably won't have a great desire to rush back into it because nothing about it really stands out. I can see what the developers have tried to do with the songs, they've attempted to include a little bit of everything to cater for the wide range of music fans that are likely to check out the game. Unfortunately, this is its biggest downfall because it's more than likely that you'll scan through the set list to find that you're only really interested in going over one or two songs and couldn't care less about the rest, which was certainly the case with me and left me feeling that the set list was about as sparse as a spartan warrior's living quarters in terms of the songs that I actually wanted to have a go at.
Taking part in the game doesn't really feel like a simulation of the career of an up and coming pop star, it feels more like a simulation of a person who's too lazy to get up of their arse and phone a few mates to arrange a trip to the local pub for a bit of karaoke, which believe me would be a lot cheaper than buying a copy of the game complete with all of the microphone peripherals. As you're singing the words scroll across the screen and the background is quite simply just the music video for the track, which as you can imagine after one or two play throughs starts to feel a bit too familiar.
There are a number of different modes for you to take part in, including jukebox mode, real karaoke mode, and the multiplayer modes, but to be honest there's hardly a difference between them and you're still essentially just going to be shouting into the mic hoping for an appraisal from the game at the end that won't completely destroy your confidence and leave you a gibbering wreck, like a casually discarded X-Factor hopefully who's been told they're decidedly substandard. I loved the summing up of my performance at the end of the songs I attempted because if nothing else it's honest with you and doesn't sugar coat things.
There are a couple of aspects that I really liked about the game. The first is the counter in the top right hand corner of the screen that shows you how long you've got left before the end of the song and allows you to adjust your effort accordingly, whilst not having to panic about how much time you've got left to reach a certain score. The second is the singing lessons that are included and which I was told are capable of not only improving your performance within the game but will also improve your abilities in the real world, although I'm still not convinced how effective they actually are.
Whilst We Sing Encore will appeal to karaoke fans, and you've probably worked out by now that I'm not included in that group, I can't help but feel that with a set list of 40 songs, nowhere online to purchase additional DLC, and only on-disc track packs to boost your choice of songs, even the most hardcore karaoke enthusiast is eventually going to get bored with this title in a relatively short space of time. In small doses though even the most staunchly anti-karaoke people, such as myself, can have a great time with this title and it's a wonderful ice breaker if you find yourself in a situation where you have to entertain a group of people that you've never met before.
- Fun in small doses
- Singing lessons are a nice touch
- The countdown timer
- Far too repetitive
- Song list is incredibly short
- Nothing about the game really draws you in
The Short Version: Quick sessions on this game can be great fun and there are some interesting features like the singing lessons, but the short set list means that you'll cover all of the songs in just a couple of hours and it's hard to find a reason to really get back into it once you've finished your initial play throughs.