While this review is based on Xbox 360/Kinect gameplay, Yoostar 2: In The Movies is also available on Playstation 3. The experience may differ is bit between platforms, although our research with friends within the industry lead us to almost the same conclusions.
I remember hearing about this Yoostar game in L.A during E3 last June. A game that put you in the middle of movie scenes that you had to literally act out for points. I didn’t pay much attention to be honest. I seriously thought it was yet another ‘You’re In The Movies’ type of crappy game. Sure, it was for Kinect, but it was either that or Mortal Kombat. I chose the latter. Months passed, completely erased from my memory, Yoostar 2: In The Movies showed up as I was surfing through the Xbox Dashboard. After seeing actual gameplay footage, my interest was suddenly piqued. It became clear that yours truly was going to put this game to the test at one point. Being an ex-amateur actor and always looking for new ways to show off, I took it as challenge.
All I can say is that only those who have a taste for the seventh art will get a real kick out of it and also, overlook some of the issues that prevents it from being the most amazing thing to happen to the Kinect platform since its launch last November.
Once the initial set-up is completed (play space, lighting...you know, the usual Kinect stuff), two modes become available: Quickplay and Challenge. Although one goes with the “pick-up and play” type of experience and the other Career-based, gameplay is the same in both. Pick a movie and a scene, choose to play a scripted performance or ad-lib to it, select the role you want to play (if the scene has more than one performer), get your body ready for a quick frame-up and read your color-coded teleprompter while trying to deliver the scene with as much fidelity as possible. Points will then be awarded based on how accurately each line was performed. As your scene gets played back to you, feedback will appear on screen. Started your line early? Spoke when it wasn’t your turn? Did you forget your cue? The game keeps track of everything. Pleased with your performance? Why not share it with your friends via Twitter or the Yoostar Playground Facebook application for others to see? Much like Singstar and the recently released Def Jam Rapstar, there’s a Social in-game menu interface where you can visit player/friend profiles to view their work and rate their various performances.
The thing that I’ve found the most annoying - aside from the touchy menu surfing - is that the sensor had a hard time detecting my voice, but not the little environmental sounds, which completely screwed up my well-delivered lines. Of course, the issue is barely noticeable when playing for fun in Quick Play, but everything gets a bit more complicated in Challenge where scenes need to be flawlessly performed in order to advance. There’s also the unavoidable lighting issue. In order to have a respectable video quality of your performance (which originally the Kinect sensor doesn’t seem to offer), the room where you’re set up needs to have uber-solid lighting. It’s far from being a deal-breaker, but if you’re a perfectionist as I am, the chances of you spending the same amount of time setting up your room as you will getting a perfect score in the Wax On, Wax Off scene from “The Karate Kid” are rather high.
Looking past those concerns, Yoostar 2 does bring the expected fun to your living room. On-disc scenes range from popular movies like Forrest Gump, The Terminator and Tropic Thunder to classics like The Godfather and Coming To America (click on the hyperlinks to see my performances. Just saying). TV shows (Star Trek, CSI and Mad Men) are also featured. The movie selection is quite solid but understand that not every single scene is fun or great. Luckily, there’s a few additional scenes available for purchase on the Xbox Live Marketplace. The list is rather thin at the moment, but publisher Yoostar Entertainment promises to flood us with new ones over the next few weeks/months. Expect to pay an little extra compared to other Kinect games currently on the market (~ $50), but due to the number of licensed content packed on disc, its understandable.
One last thing about the Yoostar Playground app, users can grab their own uploaded videos and mash them up to create new ones. I didn’t care much for it myself, but those overflowing with creativity will be right at home.
The saddest part about Yoostar 2: In The Movies is that it received very little promotion as it practically launched in total anonymity. Yet, it’s here now and those who dreamt of being Don Vito, Forrest Gump or Greg Focker at least once will be pleased. It will test your patience at times due to the various Kinect sensor-related issues, but one thing is for certain, the laughs are guaranteed!
Release date : 2011-03-08
Publisher : Yoostar
Developer : Blitz Games
Gameplay : Party & Mini Games
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