Karaoke Revolution Presents American Idol Encore is a game based on the popular television show “American Idol”, and is available for the Xbox360, Wii, and PS3 only as a bundle including microphone. (It is available with or without microphone for the PS2). This is somewhat of a shame, since a lot of people already have a microphone, such as the Rock Band one, that would work fine with this game and would save them the added expense. Then again, there are several duets available which means a second microphone can come in handy.
In this game, gamers will live the fantasy of being an aspiring singer as they attempt to make a name for themselves in the American Idol competition. Much like other games where you sing, a pitch meter and the lyrics will appear at the bottom of the screen, and your objective will be to match the correct pitch and timing. You will earn points based on how accurately you are singing. An arrow will point up or down to alert you that your pitch is off so that you can make adjustments, and bars on the screen will show you how long to hold each note and help you with your timing. There are a variety of avatars to choose from at the beginning of the game to represent yourself, and you will unlock more as you progress. There is a huge variety of different wardrobe choices and hairstyles for further customization. The venues and stage sets you may be familiar with from the show are all represented in the game, with a couple of extras such as a recording studio, night club, and stadium. The stages are not very detailed compared to some other music games out there, but they are adequate. Your character will dance during your performances, but it is always with an upbeat tempo that works fine for most of the songs but looks utterly ridiculous when you’re singing a ballad. Different movements should have been choreographed for the ballads.
As for the music, the best thing about it is the vast selection. There is something here for everyone, from Rock, to Pop, to Rhythm & Blues, to Classics, to 80’s, to Country. It would have added a nice challenge if the competition mode included “theme nights” to force you to choose a song from a specific genre, which is something they do on the show; unfortunately, that is missing here. You are always able to choose whatever songs you want, whether you are just playing individual songs for fun or progressing through a competition. Unlike some other games, you will never need to complete a song you hate in order to get through a stage of the game. There is a wealth of downloadable tracks available for the game on the Xbox Live Marketplace, and many more planned. These keep the game fresh and add a lot of replay value. The unfortunate thing about the music, however, is that most of it consists of cover artists with sub-par singers that would probably make Simon Cowell squirm. Luckily, the fact that you are singing over them makes their voices less noticeable, but they are still looming in the background. At least a lot of the tracks are great songs that will be familiar to most people, and a lot of you (you know who you are!) will already have practiced singing them in the shower or your car!
As you go through single player tournament mode, you will not watch the other performers. After your turn, a menu screen will come on and a generic announcer (not Ryan Seacrest!) will reveal who has been eliminated. It would have made the game feel more like the show and been more dynamic had the contestants appeared on stage for the announcement, so you could see their reactions. But instead, you get a disappointing and lifeless menu screen.
There are extras you can unlock as you complete objectives. The videos that are unlocked are enjoyable and include interviews with the judges and actual performances from real Idol contestants. The downside is there are very few videos, leaving you wondering why they would offer so little of such a great feature.
You can play the game alone or multiplayer. Offline you can sing with another local player, or you can jump online and test your skills against other players on Live. You can play with someone head to head, with multiple players in a score-based competition, or in an up to seven round tournament with multiple players and eliminations each round.
Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul, and Simon Cowell all provided their voices for the game, and you will receive feedback from them after each tournament performance. Simon seems to be a lot more lenient on the game than he is on the show. The character models of the judges look good, and they say the same kinds of things you would expect them to say on the show. Also, there is enough material that you won’t hear the same comments too often.
With its vast selection of tracks on the disc and in the Marketplace, this is a good game if you’re into music or like to sing. The mechanics of the gameplay work well, and represent adequately the people, places, and events of the show. However, there is a lot of room for improvement. More tracks from the original artists, more unlock able rewards, and cut scenes (instead of menus) to announce the winners would have made a big difference.
Source Karaoke Revolution Presents American Idol Encore review by The Game Reviews