Yoostar on MTV is the second “second generation”Â Kinect game that I’ve played and reviewed recently. It has been interesting to see what developers have done once they’ve managed to figure out the Kinect and what it can do. With Dance Central 2 they could have shipped the same interface and nobody would have complained, that’s how good they got it the first time, and yet they went on to add voice controls. They decided to push the Kinect and show what it was capable of. Yoostar on MTV on the other hand was working from a position of weakness. Yoostar 2: In The Movies wasn’t a terribly good game. Neat ideas, but bad execution. So lets see what Blitz Games have done to improve things.
Just like the previous Yoostar, MTV doesn’t have a story mode. In fact compared to Yoostar 2, MTV has less to offer in the way of playable modes. No secret puzzles to sort out by playing through specific clips. What you do have is a menu with various shows and musicians on it for you to select from. You can then play through the scenes that each has to offer. There is also the social tab, which allows you to watch other peoples videos that have been posted and vote on them. You can rate them on a scale of 1-5, and give them award. For example you might like that one gamer decided to wear a particular hat during their performance and so award them with best costume.
I’m guessing the association with MTV has a direct impact on this, as the audio found here is much more mainstream than before. Artists like Lady Gaga and Snoop Dogg have videos you can perform, and their music plays in the background while you are surfing the menus.
The only other audio I can talk about comes from the videos themselves. When performing, the voices of the rest of the cast are lowered to ensure that you know whats coming but not to distract. Your voice is then recorded using the Kinect’s onboard microphone, which is unfortunately not very good. There is a huge drop in audio quality thanks to the Kinect picking up all of the background noise in the room. This isn’t something I can fault the developers for, there is only so much you can do on a home console. I only mention it for the sake of being thorough.
As in Yoostar 2 there are no graphics to judge other than the menus and how well you are placed into the various scenes by the game and the camera. The menus are barren but much more functional, which is a huge change from the snazzy looking menus of last game that performed terribly. Most of the same menu structure is here, it’s just less reliant on you standing with your hand out in the air for ten seconds only to have the game lose track of you.
The game boasts of using Blitz Games new Greenscreen 2 technology to insert you into the scene. I can’t say that I saw a huge difference between the results I got last time around and these ones. There are a number of preset options to give you a chance to get the best results, but none of them can pull a key good enough in my mind. Again, as before they are limited by what the Kinect can pick up and the 360 can display. There is also a basic help page for you to load up if you’re having difficulties that shows some of the more mundane problems that can pop up.
The object of the game is to take the place of an actor on screen and read their lines as appropriate. Only instead of Ben Stiller it’s The Situation from Jersey Shore. Or some Jackass on a show not named Jackass. MTV has gone huge into Reality TV, and as a result have a massive collection of crap they can throw at a player at little or no cost to themselves. In addition, to remind everyone that the M in MTV used to stand for music, there is a small selection of complete music videos which you can attempt to perform. The only problem here is the songs are quite hard and you really need to be a fan to upload a video of yourself dressed up as Lady Gaga or 50 Cent.
Regarding gameplay seemingly nothing has changed. You are still asked to pose in a position approximating where the character starts the scene in, and then you read your assigned lines as they come up Rock Band style. The more precise you are in your delivery the more perfect lines you’ll get and the more reward points. These points determine how many stars your performance will earn. If you think you’ve done a particularly good job in your performance you can upload your video to Facebook and Twitter and Yoostar’s own servers. Or you can do it even if you think you’ve done terribly. It’s up to you really, because the game will ask you EVERY SINGLE TIME.
One minor change to the gameplay I noticed is you’re no longer graded quite so hard for not moving around the screen. In fact I don’t think they are judging your movement at all any more. I recall acting in a scene where one of the actors was behind a dog, so I tried petting the dog, and got no response. As a result I was easily getting 4 out of 5 and 5 out of 5 per scene by acting like Ben Affleck, all wooden-like.
The Yoostar store is available once again to let you play new content downloaded from the internet, but sadly there is no option for letting you play content from Yoostar 2: In the Movies, either downloaded or off the disc, ala Rockband. I suppose I can understand, as this isn’t a direct sequel to Yoostar 2, but it would have been nice none the less.
As for whats on the disc, there is a healthy selection of shows to choose from but not a whole lot of selection to choose from in those shows. Often there are only three or four scenes to re-enact per show. This is still an improvement from the last game but still feels lacking. Perhaps its the difficulty of getting digital video onto a DVD but if I can squeeze two hours of footage onto a DVD why can’t these guys get more than an hour at best onto the disc?
The difficulty in game comes from trying to read your lines and speak them in time to be graded. Obviously the solution would be to play the scene over and over again until you know your lines, but really who is going to bother rehearsing a videogame about Jersey Shore and Pimp My Ride?
Well, it depends on how you’re looking at the game. If you want to see if the gameplay has ever been done before then clearly it has, with its predecessor. The game is virtually identical in what you’re expected to do. But if you look at it from a marketing point of view I don’t know that I’ve seen this level of “branding”Â since Saturday morning cartoons. The game should be called MTV with some Yoostar. Clearly somebody at MTV decided they liked the money they used to get from Rockband and felt the urge to explore other options without all that messy licensing business.
Where “Movies” at least had the benefit of allowing you to act out some of your favorite movie scenes, MTV has none of that awesome cheesiness, unless you really enjoy the product that MTV is selling here. Yoostar on MTV is really all about reliving other peoples nightmares, if you believe that Reality TV is in fact real. Not the most addictive thing in the world if you ask me. But then I’m not a masochist.
How much do you like the current version of MTV? I mean, do you have cameras installed in your car to record your conversations with the hitchhikers you pick up on the street to practice for when MTV calls? Do you pay prostitutes to argue with you so you can hold your own with the guys on Jersey Shore? Do you constantly look in the mirror giving your acceptance speech for Best New Reality Star? If any of the above applies to you then I suppose this game would be for you. But so would a short stay in a padded room. For anyone else it’s really something you might play once or twice and then move on from.
Never once have I been asked to portray a proctologist in a videogame. Never once, that is, until now. And not just a proctologist doing some sit down interview. Oh no. A proctologist performing an examination. I don’t get it sometimes. Who decided that scene should be included in a game?
Control and Gameplay: Poor
Appeal Factor: Dreadful
FINAL SCORE: Poor Game
The game just isn’t very fun. There’s no need for it to exist. There was at least potential with In the Movies. Here there is nothing but a reminder of what MTV used to be.