Boogie PS2 Review
Upon first look it seems like not a whole load of work goes into games like Singstar and Guitar Hero. After all, they are just simple music games where you are playing along to notes or signing along to words on screen. In fact, when you play those great examples of the genre you can’t help but wonder why many other companies don’t try to churn out similar games, as it looks like it should easy money for their coffers. However, when you get your hands on bad examples of the genre you truly start to appreciate to work that has gone into the games to make them simple enough to get into, yet such fun to play. Oh, and in case you are still wondering Boogie is a prime candidate for the bad example category.
In fact, it is hard to say Boogie was all that interesting of a game to begin with, but in the move from its debut on the Wii – where the game was at its least worst earlier this year – Boogie has developed many more problems than it was originally laden with. Without doubt, most of these new annoyances occur because of the move away from waggle based dancing controls, although let’s not forger they were not that great to begin with. On the PS2 the controls to make your in-game avatar dance are all now mapped to different button presses and stick movements on the Dualshock, and the big problem is that the presses and movements don’t feel intuitive in any way, and will no doubt be something that will annoy many of the people, particularly the younger audience the game is aimed at. Furthermore, once you do wrap your head around it, and end up pulling off the combo’s and special dance moves it won’t be long till you come to the realisation that what you are doing is not all that fun at all. In truth, it is hard to figure out why EA would have though that hitting random buttons to do random moves would have been all that interesting anyway.
Still, that is only one part of the game, but sadly moving away from the rhythm elements to the karaoke part of Boogie does not do much to impress either. Firstly, all the songs are cover versions, so even though you have the likes of ABC from the Jackson 5, One Way or Another from Blondie, Y.M.C.A. from The Village People and other hits from Kool & The Gang, Pussycat Dolls, Fergie, Lou Bega, J-Lo and Britney Spears they all sound a little too dissimilar from their originals to cause annoyances when you’re signing. However, regardless of the quality of the cover singers, the game has much bigger problems as the vocal recognition seems off by a staggering amount, which means you can basically shout random words into the mic and come away with a gold medal. Of course, people that have spent some time with Singstar will know that it has a similar problem too, but in Boogie it is a lot worse as even the simple act of just breathing loudly can result in you getting some points on you score. In fact when writing this review, with the game still on in the background, I have found out that if you start a song and just place the mic close enough to your TV’s speakers the game will register most of the singers words as the right notes, and also give you a gold star (the game highest award) at the same time regardless of the amount of distortion. Hell, you can even turn on some other song in the background – even one from a completely different genre – put the mic to that and when they’re signing you’ll be winning.
I guess if you really love your rhythm and karaoke games, have played all the Singstars, Dancing Stages, and Guitar Heroes to death, and are really looking for something new then you could justify picking up Boogie. However, be warned as if you have put a considerable amount of time into those games you will find Boogie’s offering quite limited. Everything about the game unfortunately seems a little off, and even though most people may buy Boogie with party intentions in mind its problems are still to big to be masked by any party atmosphere. On the other hand if you are a parent buying it for your kids then I would advise you to just not bother, as it offers no reward at all to entice kids to keep playing. Even the easy to use ‘create a music video’, which EA hype as the most exciting part of the game, is something that only the most stalwart amongst us would only use once or twice so the game more or less fails at ever juncture.
Far from being a boogie wonderland.