A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents should know that this game is rated "Everyone 10+" (recommended for children age 10 and older) for some potentially offensive words including "hell," "damn" and "bloody hell." That said, the game's lyrics are tamer than most other music games including the Rock Band and the Guitar Hero series. This game serves as a marketing tool for the American Idol TV show.
What's it about?
Music games are all the rage this season, whether it's the complete band experience (with titles like Guitar Hero: World Tour, Rock Band 2 or Rock Revolution), singing games (including SingStar, Lips, Disney Sing It! and Boogie Superstar) or other musical titles, such as Wii Music and assorted High School Musical 3 interactive spinoffs. As you'd expect, Konami's KARAOKE REVOLUTION PRESENTS: AMERICAN IDOL ENCORE 2 is all about being judged on your singing skills -- the game ships with or without a microphone (should you already own one) – and as with its predecessors, you get to work your way up in the spotlight of the mega-popular American Idol TV show, in front of Simon, Paula, and Randy. For reasons we'll soon get to, the game doesn't fare as well as other singing games, but it can still provide a few hours of entertainment for wannabe pop stars.
Up to eight players can partake in the karaoke-style game-play, where your pitch and rhythm is measured as you sing to 40 popular songs from the past 40 years including Elton John's "Rocket Man" (1970s), Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger" (1980s), R.E.M.'s "Losing My Religion" (1990s) and The Killers' "Mr. Brightside" (today).
Is it any good?
The song selection is decent, plus you can download additional tunes (Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 version only), which show up as a different color, plus this sequel is the first in the series that lets you play in a new co-op head-to-head mode (Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 version only). In the Xbox 360 version you can also connect you Xbox Vision Camera to import your face into the game.
But these online options raise the first issue in this game: a headset microphone is required to chat with people you're playing with over the Internet even though you're holding a microphone in your hand. Does that make sense? Another beef is despite some new songs and a few new venues (including the finals stage from the 2008 season of American Idol), all the menus screens, graphical presentation, and the stiffly animated characters (which you can customize to look like you) are virtually the same as the previous game, which will likely disappoint those who purchased previous games. This disc isn't horrible – singing with or against friends to familiar songs and being critiqued by the American Idol judges can be quite fun – but this game offers little improvement over the past titles, making this sequel feel rushed and half-baked. Note: the Wii version is missing some of the more interesting features found in other versions that contribute to its replayability.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether or not this product makes you feel like you're singing on the American Idol television show. Did the game makers do a good job to deliver this suspension of disbelief? On one hand there are the familiar judges, theme song, and venues, but on the flipside the graphics aren't as good as most other music games, there's no Ryan Seacrest, and there isn't much drama after you perform well.
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.