Diggin' the Singing King
Unfortunately, many of the same criticisms that I had of SingStar Vol. 2 on the PS3 still stick around here, though for some reason the fact that it was all themed around one artist made a little more sense. It would make even more sense if the damned thing would go up on the SingStore as a downloadable add-on pack (maybe even at a slight discount for those that already shelled out the cash to get one of the other versions of the game on the PS3? Maybe? Yes?), but at least you're getting 20-ish songs by one artist, complete with videos (the PS3 version actually sports five more songs for that extra $10).
Other than that, though, it's more or less business as usual. No new modes, no additions or wrinkles to the formula that has established the series as the leading karaoke experience, nothing in the way of advancements to the games as they've appeared for years now. Again, just as I did with SingStar Vol. 2, I have to knock the game a little for this. After all, $30 for about the same number of songs isn't a terrible deal, but after years of the same basic stuff, and the next-gen version of things bringing an online store but little else, an add-on pack with some new modes would make dropping $40 for the PS3 version of things a little more easy to take.
If these add-on releases are going to take up retail shelf space, they desperately need to incorporate new elements. Even if it's just the PS3 iterations of things, the online functionality should open the door for more collaborative stuff than just sharing video clips on a service that still takes ages for me to load up. After a next-gen debut screaming with potential, Sony has instead decided to fall back on the formula that worked last generation. The PS2 version of things is a little more excusable, but for the PS3, I can't honestly think of a reason why this retail disc should even exist in anything but an online capacity -- especially since there's no full-blown version that comes with the microphones.
There is one very important factor that I've sort of tiptoed around for the whole review: if you don't like ABBA, you're not going to like this version of SingStar. Yeah, I know, that probably goes without saying, but note that "like" part of things. This is a game that pulls from some fairly big hits, but it was designed with hardcore fans of the Swedish supergroup in mind. That means if you don't celebrate the whole catalogue, so to speak, you're not going to get nearly as much mileage out of this package. I really can't stress that enough. This is a collection by ABBA superfans for ABBA superfans, and any hangers-on need not apply (or suffer the fate of mumbling through like 15 songs, hopelessly lost).
SingStar ABBA as a retail release makes sense on the PS2. On the PS3 however, it offers absolutely nothing that couldn't have been provided by simply making it a downloadable offering. On either platform, if you aren't a hardcore ABBA fan, then skip this and keep dreaming of the day when we'll get that full themed Boyz II Men download pack or something.