Since the debut of Konami’s Karaoke Revolution series, fans have been itching for the addition of the American Idol license. Finally, Konami has listened, and you can live out your AI dreams without the humiliation of cracking like a thirteen year old through “Let’s Stay Together” in front of millions.
Fans of the series will be instantly familiar with the look of KR:AI. Same outlandish costumes (Hey-.what do you know, just like the show), same cartoonish characters (um-also just like the show), same line based method of showing you what notes to hit (Not so much like the show-.although it’s not exactly a bad idea). The characters models look solid, especially the judges, and the sets are well designed. But of course, visuals have never been the primary focus of this series.
In the gameplay department, the series returns with the same fantastic voice recognition gameplay that the series is known for. If you’ve never played Karaoke Revolution before, boy are you missing out. You belt out a song, trying your best to hit all the notes as spot on pitch as you can. On screen indicators show you where the notes are on the scale, and where your vocal pitch is as well. The scoring and note recognition is spot on as always. The game recognizes even the most subtle differences in pitch, and you’ll be surprised how much the game helps you find your inner balladeer.
All previous gameplay modes, including Quickplay for those of you that just want to jump in and start rocking right away. There are also several multiplayer options (including varieties for people with one or two microphones) and let me tell you, this game is the ultimate party favor. Trust me, even your most socially inept friends will be hooked by the addictive gameplay-.you’ll probably even have to kick that geeky guy down the hall out of your apartment.
Of course, the main attraction of this title is going to be the brand new American Idol mode. True to the show, you start out in the audition room with just you, Simon, Randy, and-..Laura!?!?!? Ok, so they don’t have sweet little Paula Abdul, but Laura fills in nicely and hey-.Meatloaf said two out of three ain’t bad, and who the hell are you to argue with Meatloaf-huh?!?! That’s what I thought.
In the AI mode, you can pick from several different versions of America’s favorite talent show, from a short version to the full 18 round competition. As you move from the audition room, to Hollywood, to the Finals, you’ll not only be judged on your score like in the other versions of KR, but you’ll also be judged by the big three. The judging is spot on, as Randy, Simon, and Laura really seem to know their stuff. They praise you when you nail a song, and will slap you down when you mess up. And not just in general, the AI in AI (ha-see what I did there with the pun off the fact that-.you know what-never mind) doesn’t just know that you messed up, it knows when and how. Screw up the pitch in the middle-Randy will nail you on it. All over the place at the end, Laura will nail you on it. And if you pick a song that’s too easy or too hard-.you’d better be ready to receive some of that infamous Simon Cowell-ahem-feedback.
The most important part of any rhythm/music game is the sound, and KR passes the test with flying colors. A sizable song selection of hits from the past to the present gives you the base to show off your inner vocalist, and the versions are, with a few minor exceptions, pretty solid. The voices for the judges are also very well done, and not just the couple throwaway quotes you’d expect.
For fans of the series, Karaoke Revolution: American Idol is a absolute must buy. The American Idol stuff is incredibly well implemented, and not just the quick paste-job cash in you might expect. It also really adds a lot to the experience, and fans of the show will love a chance to “be apart of the action.” Konami definitely had perfect timing, releasing their best version of KR yet, complete with American Idol license, right in the middle of Idol Hysteria. For fans, or anyone with a lot of friends and nothing to do on a Friday night, this title is a must buy.