The X-Factor Review

It had to happen sooner or later, and while we’d much rather that it happened much later – somewhere around the end of time would have been preferable – it’s here, and we can’t really complain. We’ll, actually, we can, we can complain as much as we like. It is, after all, our job. Tragically, this kind of spin-off title isn’t something you can really look at from a gamer’s point of view. No, this is a toy, and if we’re being fair with it, we should treat it as such.

So, right off the bat, you’d compare it to the likes of Singstar and Lips, as it’s a wannabe pop star singing effort. Glorified karaoke titles like this only have a few aspects that really require analysis. Firstly, the quality of the songs. Well, it’s not our bag, but the stuff present in The X-Factor game is very much in the pop princess category. They’re probably all songs that have featured in the shows, but then after however many years its been going, they’ve covered a fair few songs. They’re all very singable songs though, and are bound to please any karaoke fans with a bent toward cheese.

The real problem here is that the tunes supplied with the game are it. There’s no downloadable store of songs for you to expand your repertoire. 28 tunes doesn’t really do it for us now that titles like Rock Band have thousands of songs available online. The upshot of this is that you have a compact game with no need to download anything to get started. As long as you’re aware of that, then you can make your own judgements as to whether you play this type of title enough to make that an issue.

Here’s a full list of tracks. Does it sound like your kind of thing?

* “Paparazzi” – Lady Gaga,

* “Evacuate the Dancefloor” – Cascada,

* “Beautiful Day” – U2,

* “Call Me” – Blondie,

* “Fireflies” – Owl City,

* “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” – Simple Minds,

* “Heavy Cross” – Gossip,

* “Radio Ga Ga” – Queen,

* “Oops I Did It Again” – Britney Spears,

* “Light My Fire” – The Doors,

* “Back To Black” – Amy Winehouse,

* “Teenage Kicks” – Undertones,

* “Ruby” – Kaiser Chiefs,

* “You’re Beautiful” – James Blunt,

* “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head” – Kylie Minogue,

* “Rio” – Duran Duran,

* “I Want You Back” – Jackson Five,

* “Always Be My Baby” – Mariah Carey,

* “Doesn’t Mean Anything” – Alicia Keys,

* “She’s The One” – Robbie Williams,

* “Up” – Shania Twain,

* “22” – Lily Allen,

* “All Night Long” – Lionel Richie,

* “Release Me” – Agnes

* “Boys & Girls” – Pixie Lott,

* “Break Your Heart” – Taio Cruz,

* “In Your Arms” – Stanfour

* “So Soll Es Blieben” – Ich und Ich

So, quality is okay for this kind of lightweight title, but quantity could be an issue. What does make a difference though is that you have a career mode to entertain you through those lonely nights. Most karaoke titles are all about getting together a group of mates and getting silly with a microphone. The X-Factor offers a real bare bones mode for those looking for a single player experience. You play through all the sections of the show from auditions through to live finals.

The way this works is quite sensible really. Each stage gives you a group of songs and a number of criteria. You may only have a small number of tunes to choose from, or you may be prevented from singing certain tunes. Once you reach the finals and complete the game, you’re given a final score for your career. In between rounds, you’re asked questions, which if answered correctly add to your final score. It adds some spice to proceedings, but there’s plenty of room to make a more complete title here. In short, the single player career mode is passable, but could have been significantly better, given the nature of the source material.

Then, of course, there’s the party mode. This is simply a matter of singing tunelessly to Lady Gaga, or whoever you fancy, and getting a score at the end. One nice touch is that you can use your friends as an audience by holding the mic out to them after your performance, and the game will give you a clap-o-meter bonus score based on the decibels produced by their applause. Yeah, sure, it’s weak, but it’s probably the most fun we had with the game.

The accoutrements to the game really don’t stand up well. It’s a title that looks half decent on the Wii, but on the PS3 and 360 doesn’t really pass muster. Still, if you’re buying a karaoke title, you’re not looking for next gen visuals. Similarly, given the nature of the franchise, you would have thought the game would offer more by way of licensed stuff. No judges, no previous stars, nothing famous. Indeed, we felt a little scammed by the games shortness on fame.

As a result of that, more than anything, we felt the whole thing short changed us a little bit – and we don’t even like The X-Factor. We imagine that real fans will feel a little more peeved than we did. Even the packaging doesn’t even have anyone famous on it. It’s almost as if they’ve only had enough money to license the name of the game show and built a title costing less than half that license fee around it. Of course that would be cynical and greedy, and game publishers don’t do that, do they?

REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox 360 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to editor@bonusstage.co.uk.

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