It may be a franchise that is only two games old, but already the We Sing series stands apart as one of the very best of its kind. Because the Nintendo Wii isn’t the most powerful home console on the market, the developers who create the games for it have to work doubly hard to make sure that their titles stand out from the pack. Singing and karaoke games that come out on the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 machines may have prettier graphics, but none of them can hold a candle to the quality on offer in We Sing, and especially the latest addition to the family, We Sing Encore.
Once again, the game allows for four people to take part all at once, and playing the game in this way is easily the best way to experience it. Four people playing at once turns it into the perfect karaoke experience, and if you dislike the competitive element of the gameplay, you can just select the dedicated ‘Karaoke Mode’ and play without having to worry about who’s ramping up the biggest high scores. The four player mode obviously requires four microphones, but if you buy the official ones, a very simple USB adaptor is included which makes setting up a 4-player game quick and very easy.
Actually, almost everything about the game is quick and easy to set up. For example, if an extra player decides to join in with your game after you’ve already started playing, all they need to do is simply shake their microphone and they’re immediately placed straight into it. If you do enjoy the competitive element there are also high score tables, the results of which are saved on to the Nintendo Wii’s internal system memory, so fierce contests can be continued at another time and with a minimum of fuss, if need be.
We Sing Encore also offers some excellent new additions to the previous game. There are now a large set of ‘Awards’ that can be won during each round – for things like scoring a certain number of points on a particular song, or tackling one of them on ‘Hard’ mode – and collecting them all is ridiculously addictive. Almost all of the songs are accompanied by their official music videos (we are pretty sure that we only counted one video that was missing) and all of those are available to watch on their own too. Each loading screen also now features a bit of appropriate music trivia, and creating your own specific playlist has been made as straightforward as possible.
But perhaps best of all are the new singing lessons. These are not just some gimmicky way of adding the illusion of value to the package, but a very carefully designed set of tutorials that feel like they have been created by people who know exactly what they’re talking about. Aside from teaching you how to hold a note, they also teach you how to manipulate your breathing (and where it’s best to tuck your chin) to get the best tone out of your voice, and also point out techniques that should be avoided in case you end up damaging your throat. These lessons are very serious and very encouraging, and are a truly excellent tool for brushing up your skills.
As before, the list of tracks that are on the disc have been chosen really carefully and there is a brilliantly diverse selection of music here – and truly something for everyone. Some much-loved karaoke classics are present – including ‘Gold’ by Spandau Ballet and ‘Tainted Love’ by Soft Cell – but there is also a whole host of extremely catchy modern pop, from the likes of Lily Allen, Black Eyed Peas and Lady GaGa. And as with the first We Sing game, there is also a handful of swaggering rock – represented here by the likes of ‘Fire’ by Kasabian and ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ by Lynyrd Skynyrd – that’ll even get people who aren’t keen on the idea of singing in public hooked right on in. And if that doesn’t work, there’s always ‘Three Lions’ by Baddiel & Skinner & The Lightning Seeds.
So even if you already own and continue to enjoy the original We Sing, then We Sing Encore is pretty much a must-buy. Aside from giving you yet another great selection of songs, every other aspect of it has been polished and pretty much perfected, and if you do have a bit of a competitive streak in you, then those singing lesson tutorials are sure to work absolute wonders. We Sing Encore is a really terrific all-round package, and anyone who’s even slightly interested in it is definitely encouraged to get involved.