When Sony’s SingStar juggernaut made the transition to PS3 – and a most successful one at that, it was only a matter of time before a sequel appeared on the scene.

SingStar Vol. 2 employs the same format and technology as previous titles, with players required to sing along to a track, matching both pitch and timing, while a music video plays onscreen. A number of single and multiplayer options enable you to sing co-operatively or competitively, either alone or with friends.

Whilst it is essentially just an edgier, glammed-up version of the PS2 titles, the PS3 SingStar experience does offer social gaming fans more features and flexibility than its previous incarnation – plus the option to personalise your playlist with downloadable tracks from the online SingStore. SingStar Vol. 2 even boasts a brand new duet feature!

Harmony Duet is only available on certain tracks, and requires two players to sing together – not merely taking turns at the song’s melody line, but in harmony. Trained singers can harmonise beautifully at the drop of a hat. However, for Joe average or the musically challenged (i.e. most of us), this is quite difficult to execute successfully, and often results in some hilariously bad caterwauling. Either way, it’s entertaining to watch and to listen to.

Introduced with the original PS3 SingStar title, the My SingStar online community enables players to upload photos and videos of themselves singing (if they dare); however a PlayStation Eye or EyeToy camera is required to capture their performance. Having viewed a number of these videos, we were both impressed with some of the talent out there – young and old, and relieved to discover our attempts at singing were actually not the worst on show. The handy voice reduction option also returns. When enabled, the original artist’s vocals are reduced/removed while you sing… which is not necessarily a good thing; some of us need all the help we can get!

As usual there were a few tracks on the disc which had us scratching our noggins as to why they were included. Supposedly the aim is to appeal to as wide an audience as possible, offering potential players at least one song with which they are familiar and would be prepared to sing along to. This eclectic approach to the tracklist means that, for most of us with our clearly defined genre preferences and dislikes, there will really only ever be a handful of tracks we would sing on a regular basis. Some we will try maybe once or twice – possibly under duress and perhaps the influence of alcohol, and some we wouldn’t touch with a barge pole.

SingStar for PS3 goes a long way towards addressing this issue by offering additional tracks available for purchase from its online SingStore. These include songs from the SingStar PS2 back catalogue as well as newer material, and the ever-expanding collection can be viewed by genre or type (such as duet), which greatly simplifies the selection process. At just under NZ$3 a pop these are reasonably priced and will, we believe, improve the game’s replay value no end. You’ll be far more likely to whip out the mics for songs you have paid good money for, rather than a handful of random tracks you’d might be familiar with - but wouldn't necessarily have chosen, on the original disc.

Interestingly, SingStar Vol. 2’s tracklisting does not include the game’s intro song (and ultimate ‘feel good’ driving anthem): Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now”, but this can be purchased from SingStore. If you happen to own a PSP, you can also access the SingStore via a wireless internet connection.

One feature from the PS2 version which makes a welcome return is the ability to swap out the discs, to play earlier SingStar titles with all the functionality of the latest one. We’re all for backwards compatibility… or anything that will enable you to squeeze a few more hours’ playing time from your previous purchases.

All in all it’s another good line-up for SingStar on the PS3. The tracklisting is diverse enough to ensure every punter will know at least one song, there’s a neat new feature to try out, and best of all, the number of available songs to download is increasing all the time (even if you do have to fork out for them). We’re still waiting on those wireless mics, though...

Track list:

[*]Aerosmith - Dude Looks Like a Lady [/*]
[*]Blur - Country House [/*]
[*]Bobby Brown - My Prerogative [/*]
[*]Eminem - Without Me [/*]
[*]George Michael - Freedom ‘90 [/*]
[*]Gorillaz - Dare [/*]
[*]Gossip - Standing in the Way of Control [/*]
[*]Hot Chocolate - You Sexy Thing [/*]
[*]Kaiser Chiefs - Ruby [/*]
[*]Kool and the Gang - Celebration [/*]
[*]The Lovin’ Spoonful - Summer in the City [/*]
[*]Maximo Park - Our Velocity [/*]
[*]Morrisey - Suedehead [/*]
[*]Nirvana - Lithium [/*]
[*]Panic! At The Disco - But It’s Better If You Do [/*]
[*]Paul McCartney & the Frog Chorus - We All Stand Together [/*]

[*]Pulp - Common People [/*]
[*]Radiohead - Street Spirit (Fade Out) [/*]
[*]Shakespeare’s Sister - Stay [/*]
[*]Spandau Ballet - TRUE [/*]
[*]The Cure - Pictures of You [/*]
[*]The Killers - When You Were Young [/*]
[*]The Libertines - Can’t Stand Me Now [/*]
[*]The Mamas and The Papas - California Dreamin’ [/*]
[*]The Offspring - Pretty Fly (For A White Guy) [/*]
[*]The Police - Don’t Stand So Close To Me [/*]
[*]The Proclaimers - I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) [/*]
[*]Tom Jones with Mousse T - Sexbomb [/*]
[*]Tone Loc - Funky Cold Medina [/*]
[*]Young MC - Bust A Move[/*]