Lips: Number One Hits
Oh, the humanity!
Posted 3 years ago By LuxDraconis - William Bobola
Usually when a music game franchise gets the yearly release treatment, you don’t expect huge changes. In many cases, most of them could could just be updated with a big premium download. This is the case of Lips: Number One Hits: a great game for anyone who is experiencing the Lips franchise for the first time but a painful punch in the junk to those who followed the game since its beginnings…last year.
From the new snazzy main menu, you can still choose to visit your Lips profile, add songs from external sources (USB MP3 player or via Media Center if your Xbox 360 is linked to your home network) and sing to them in the Freestyle mode and of course the Sing section, where all the tracks (from the Number One Hits disc, the first Lips game, all your DLC and songs from the Lips Store) will be listed.
Once your song is selected, you will have the choice between Single/Versus or Duet modes but also to choose if you want to see the original video of the song, a virtual music video or choose one of the battle mini-games previously seen in the first Lips game such as Vocal Fighters, Time Bomb or Kiss. Once your selections are done, you can start singing. Again, nothing much has changed in the way you sing; the same ridiculous scoring system is back, you still have the chance to earn the same six medals (Pitch, Rhythm, Performance, Party, Technique and Stability) and when you have filled your performance bar, activate the Star Stream to rack up additional points. Although the mechanics haven’t changed, a few things have been added to the singing screen. A combo multiplier that increases every time you fill a chart bubble can now be seen right beside the medals. Noise makers are now triggered directly on the singing screen as the pitch wave passes over the icon. Your avatar will now show up when a gesture move is needed. Finally, unlike the first Lips game where gestures activated the Star Stream, Number One Hits now lets you activate the Star Stream by gently tilting the microphone.
Speaking of the aforementioned scoring system, it has also received a tweak, but not necessarily the kind of change we wanted (i.e making it a bit more difficult to score a million points). When connected to Xbox Live, you can now see how your performance ranks up against other Lips players online. Additionally, depending on how good you sing, you can also earn Bronze, Silver, Gold or Diamond trophies. These trophies don’t give you anything in particular, just bragging rights among the Lips community.
The little changes are welcomed but what makes Lips: Number One Hits a disappointment to me is the absence of a disc-ripping system. If you’ve read my past reviews on music games (Singstar, Rock Band, Guitar Hero, etc), you know how much I want all the music games (especially those who do not introduce a whole new way to play the game) to offer something similar to what Harmonix did with Rock Band 2 and the subsequent Track Packs. Okay, granted the game does offer a swap disc system but that is still a pain. Lips: Number One Hits isn’t the first karaoke game to offer a disc swapping system though. Singstar has been doing it for a while on the PS2 and recently on the PS3. By the way, I have already stated that the next Singstar games should offer a disc ripping option if they aren’t going to introduce a new way to play the game. If its about new tracks only, download option is a must.
When you put the little additions in perspective versus the unchanged gameplay mechanics, Lips: Number One Hits smells like it should have been a downloadable track-pack. You will understand my point of view further in the value paragraph...
Graphics & Sounds
The interface and menus have received a little upgrade but it remains similar to what was presented last year. Navigation is easy as everything you’ll need to know is shown on the screen along with explanations of what each option and mode does.
Soundwise, the track list is varied and much more interesting compared to what was offered in the first Lips game. The little sound effects do add something to the whole experience but there’s not much to say aside from this.
Is the game really worth it? Let’s put it this way: you haven’t bought a karaoke game for your Xbox 360 yet, you’re completely unaware of the existence of the first Lips game and you definitely want to buy one of those nice looking wireless microphones. If this sounds like you, then yes, Lips Number One Hits is definitely worth picking up.
Now, if you already own many karaoke games, you already bought the first Lips game, own not one but TWO wireless microphones and tasted the forbidden fruit that is the disc ripping option with the Rock Bands and Guitar Heros, you will definitely question Microsoft and iNiS on why they hell they didn’t offer this game as a big DLC track-pack!
If you played the first game, you definitely saw the big leaderboard update. To make a long story short, the first Lips game didn’t included online leaderboards at launch but got it as a FREE DOWNLOAD a few months after. Meaning: all the little changes I’ve mentioned at the beginning (in-game noise makers, avatar gestures, combos, etc…) could have been easily introduced as a big premium download. Not only does Lips: Number One Hits do very little to justify the $60 price tag but also continues to send the wrong message on how to handle a game in the rhythm music genre. You can’t just expect people to continue to follow a franchise if you’re not willing to listen to the feedback of the community or at least, have the guts to do things differently. Like I said earlier, someone who hasn’t bought the first Lips game won’t see the huge lack of innovation here. As for the others, shedding money for this sequel will be an extreme disappointment. Actually, you have the feeling that you are paying for the wireless microphone rather than for the game (Microphone alone goes for $50 at retail. The game sells for $60 as a bundle and $50 as software-only...do the math).
And, what’s with giving just 250 achievement points (which are added to the 1000 of the original Lips game) instead of the usual 1000? If you wanted to make it as an expansion, maybe someone should have said so.
Like I’ve stated earlier, someone who hasn’t bought the first Lips game won’t see anything wrong with it. As for the others even though the game got a few nifty additions and changes, Lips: Number One Hits will be an extreme disappointment.
Editorial Note: If you own the first Lips game and looking to buy Lips: Number One Hits, take a point out of the final score.
+ You can import songs via Media Center
+ Gameplay is fun...
- Doubtful scoring system.
- Disc swap option is dumb
- Has "Downloadable Game" feel all over it
- Owners of the first Lips game will cry
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Release Date : 2009/10/20
System : Xbox 360
Publisher : Microsoft Game Studios
Developer : iNiS
Category : Party & Mini Games
ESRB : E
7.0 / 10
8.5 / 10
8.0 / 10
8.7 / 10