There’s something quirky about seeing yourself stealing the role of The Terminator from Arnie. It’s a novelty that is genuinely tickling the first time you cringe at your butchering of a classic movie moment. Initially, you fail to get the lines right and jump around the screen like you’ve never heard the phrase ’stand on the X’ before, but that’s okay because being bad in Yoostar 2 is half the fun. At least, for as long as that fun lasts.
Unlike 2008’s dreadful You’re in the Movies, Yoostar 2’s main conceit is using the Kinect camera to place you in the frame of several film and TV scenes and give you the chance to replace the role of the actors within them. You’ll be handed lines from the script above the scene playing out in video, complete with your vacant stares and shoddy attempts at following the prompts with correct timing. Naturally, this is a process that will come more easily to those already accustomed to the 80 scenes included on the game’s disc, but that’s partially the problem.
There’s no denying the fun to be had in recreating specific scenes or ad-libbing over them and creating your own twisted tale of events, even though the visual quality of your figure isn’t always up to snuff when compared to the rest of the snazzy presentation. The real issue begins to form when you start to encounter scenes you’re maybe not as familiar with. As previously mentioned, there are a fair amount of scenes ready and waiting on the disc (with more available as paid-for DLC), but the incentive to play and subsequently re-play each scene is entirely dependent on your general knowledge of their events. Considering that all the scenes are extrapolated into the game without proper context can make things even more bewildering.
As should be the case, the most ardent film buff will probably feel right at home here, but for everyone else, the challenge is not as immediately accessible. It’s a different beast than something like Rock Band, for example, because even the least talented person on the mic can wail along to a song’s lyrics and still have a pretty good time. With Yoostar 2, there’s a strange dissonance between your ignorance and the scene’s requirements. The only in-game remedy is to repeatedly watch each scene and memorise the tone and intonation of each line in the script.
But that’s assuming you even care about doing ‘well’ in the game at all. Let’s not forget that this is very much a party game that’s unconcerned with keeping point tallies and the highs and lows of competition. That’s certainly the best way to approach things if you hope to get the best out of Yoostar 2. Trying to find new scenes that both you and a second player really know and care about can also be a barrier in this case, and a small amount of scenes are even playable for two. Acting out as the legendary Marlon Brando and mumbling that obvious line from The Godfather is predictably amusing when the star is suddenly the tubby image of a bloke in his early twenties, but the scenes are short, very short. The brief nature of each clip can be draining on your overall enjoyment as well, which is a shame.
Getting through the menus is also a bother – they’re slow, clunky and a little too pre-occupied with flash over functionality. This is nothing new for Kinect games as they’ve appeared so far, but the sluggishness associated with an arm-waving interface navigation really starts to irk when you have to file through a catalogue of menus just to get to a single scene. It’s a problem that also extends out to the game’s social features, which allow players to upload their unique performances as clips for others to watch and rate. It’s a cool feature that is unfortunately marred by the poor menu design; and even though they can alternatively be viewed online via a Facebook application, doing so is an uphill battle all in itself.
Yoostar 2’s developer Blitz Games got it right by calling their game a ‘movie karaoke’ experience – and in all senses of the word, it truly is best defined this way. Having your bodily image projected into film and TV scenes is as charming as it tedious in practice. But more so than many other party games, the on-disc limitations of choice on offer as well as the brevity of each film’s clips might spoil the experience for some.
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