With its cast of twenty-somethings masquerading as musically gifted high school misfits, the Glee phenomenon shows no signs of losing its momentum - or its prime time slot on TV. Now into its third season, the episodes keep a-coming... and so does the merchandise. As you can probably tell by its title, Glee Karaoke Revolution: Volume 3 is the third in a series of Karaoke Revolution titles dedicated to the show.
Like its predecessors, the general aim is to sing along - in time and in tune - to songs from the show, either alone or with others. For the average punter, the thought of making a spectacle of yourself might deter you from picking up the mic; however any pre-performance nerves can be settled with a dose of festive cheer. The more you drink, the better you'll sound... honest!
The game employs USB mics and the Wii remote, with the latter being used primarily for menu navigation and song selection, and trying to decipher some horribly garbled in-game 'phone' messages. Menus are simple enough to negotiate, although some of the instructions aren't as clear as they could be. First things first, though; you'll need to run the calibration test, to compensate for any audio/video delay. Singing out of sync is detrimental to scoring opportunities and increases the embarrassment factor.
There are several modes on offer to spice things up a bit. As well as pursuing a solo career, you can opt to sing with - or against - others in one of the multiplayer games, or jump straight into Quick Play. The rather naff Shooting Star game is back; it involves shooting and singing at the same time.
There's also a yearbook to fill. In Yearbook mode, accurate singing charges up a virtual digital camera, enabling you to take snapshots of your favourite Glee stars, so you can look back on those good times, hangin' with the crew of WMHS.
Graphics consist of non-HD video clips from the actual show, with the lyrics and melody line (music staff) taking up the bottom third of the screen in solo career mode. In duet mode, the top third is also used, leaving just a tiny strip of video in the centre. It's a very busy screen, which doesn't add value to the duet mode experience.
In addition to the scrolling lyrics, there's a pitch line (note tube) to guide your caterwauling, and lots of spangly, glitzy, neon-lighty fluff that Glee's target audience seems to enjoy. Well executed phrases are rewarded with backing dancers and a light show, and plenty of positive reinforcement in the form of distracting pop-ups. Awesome.
A pitch and rhythm detector tracks your vocal gymnastics, and at the end of each performance your efforts are rewarded with a graded 'report card', which displays your prowess (or lack thereof), for all to see. If you really want to test yourself you can ramp up the difficulty, but be warned: unless you're blessed with some genuine talent, you'll be setting yourself up for an epic 'F'.
While the target audience consists primarily of teenage girls and closet show tunes fans, a sizable track list and varied selection of genres ensures there's enough musical shenanigans to go around for the kids, parents - and even grandparents. There's a huge difference, however, between knowing a song and successfully singing it - a task made even more difficult by the Glee-tastic arrangements of well known hits. Gluttons for punishment that we are, we tried out most of the songs on the track list below... yes, even Friday, with its Bieber-esque melody and mind numbing lyrics. Fun-fun-fun-fun...
• Back To Black
• Blame It
• Don't Go Breaking My Heart
• Fat Bottomed Girls
• Go Your Own Way
• I Don't Want To Know
• I Follow Rivers
• I Know What Boys Like
• I Look To You
• I've Gotta Be Me
• (I've Had) The Time Of My Life
• I Want To Hold Your Hand
• Just The Way You Are (Amazing)
• Last Christmas
• Loser Like Me
• Losing My Religion
• Marry You
• Never Going Back Again
• One Of Us
• Only The Good Die Young
• P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)
• River Deep, Mountain High
• Somebody To Love
• Stop! In The Name Of Love/Free Your Mind (mash up)
• The Time Warp
• Born This Way (unlockable)
• Firework (unlockable)
• Toxic (unlockable)
While there's nothing in the way of innovative new features, Glee Karaoke Revolution: Volume 3 would make a pretty decent stocking filler* for any Gleeks in your household. Plus it will provide a few hours of family entertainment after the Christmas Day feast.
* It definitely pays to shop around; at the time of writing there were several competitively priced pre-Christmas specials being advertised for the game - some bundled with mics.
Karaoke Revolution Glee: Volume 3
On Wii Publisher: Konami
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