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RIP Ralph Baer (1922-2014) I really, really hate writing obits. I really do. But I take it as a personal honor to be able to say good things about the men and women I respect, whether in this industry or just in my life, and Ralph Baer is the reason all of this exists in the first...

Yoostar 2 Review

Kevin_Dermody By:
GENRE Simulation 
DEVELOPER Namco Bandai 
T Contains Alcohol and Tobacco Reference, Language, Mild Blood, Mild Violence, Sexual Themes

What do these ratings mean?

Not a lot of Tiger Blood here.

I'm going to say this in advance and keep it short: Yoostar 2 sucks.

click to enlargeNow in any given setting, that alone should be enough to scare potential buyers from trying out the game. But apparently, professional (haha) journalists are expected to roll out something with slightly more substance than a single-sentence cry of disgust. As such, here is my multi-paragraph cry of disgust:

Yoostar 2 is a terrible attempt to take advantage of the Kinect Cash Cow. It takes a recording of a player, prompts that player to perform dialogue to a well-known movie, and plays back the horrifying combination of gamer plus movie.

It's supposed to be cool in concept, I guess. When we get nice and sauced, we may shout out memorable lines from movies. And sometimes, we might even post them in all caps when IM'ing a friend, because, hey, we're totally in the "in crowd" when we type something like "THIS IS SPARTA", right?


But to design a game around this concept seems comparable to creating a game whose sole purpose is labeling cat pictures. It doesn't quite have the same casual appeal as any number of multiplayer rhythm games which require some semblance of skill, and there isn't enough depth in the gameplay to satisfy the requirements for being a party or social game, a la Scene It? or Mario Party. It seems like it could have the depth required for a mini-game at best or some sort of side quest on your grand path to becoming an actor (whose actual acting isn't near as important as their crack habit and numerous hookers... winning!).

click to enlargeTo sum up the entirety of the process: You stand in front of the Kinect, try to be as quiet as possible, and read out your lines at the appropriate time. Should any sort of noise in the background pop up (like, for example, the train that runs right next to the GR offices), the scene must be restarted, just like in the real world. But if I wanted to do "real world" acting, I'd get a job. As it stands, playing Yoostar 2 is an incredibly static series of events which don't quite fit any sort of entertaining pastime, let alone a fun party game.

Moreover, you just look like an ass while you're playing, in a way that doesn't seem even remotely redeemable. Games like Rock Band and DDR do well, because they keep you moving too fast to think about how ridiculous you look. Look up a YouTube video of some kid playing Guitar Hero, and I guarantee that you will giggle to yourself. And who wouldn't? You have someone staring intently at a screen in complete rapture, as they fiddle around with a device that makes loud and annoying clicks and sway their body haphazardly to the tune on an almost subconscious level.

But when you're playing any of those games, you're not thinking about how silly you look. Nor are you consciously thinking beyond "red red blue blue red blue yellow". Do you wonder why nobody trumpets about how awesome they are at "Mississippi Woman" in Guitar Hero? It's because the song is easy enough that you realize how ridiculous you look while you're playing. But toss on "Through Fire and Flames", "Candy Pop", or "Cliffs of Dover" and, oh my gawd, you are the lord of the dance, a veritable metal GOD, a sex symbol whose awesome knows no bounds.

In this metaphor, playing Yoostar 2 is even simpler and more embarrassing than playing "Mississippi Woman", the equivalent of a player staring at the screen and shouting out colors as they approach. It's not only simplistic and boring, but there's nothing there to feel stupidly proud of. Just... stupid.

The mechanics and methods in which you play further exacerbate the problems. For one, there is no semblance of advancement whatsoever. It seems like something of a silly thing to consider in a "party game", but advancement is implicitly important. In fact, the moment you turn on the game, everything is unlocked from the get-go. There is an "adventure mode", of sorts, but it offers nothing particularly new or interesting; it simply forces you to play the "scenes" you already have available in a specific order, with no chance to "unlock" anything new and interesting. It is, for all intents and purposes, Yoostar 2's "main mode" in a different skin, at best.

click to enlargeFurthermore, despite happily trumpeting that this was a multiplayer game, the number of scenes that include two or more players are few and far between and often lack any sort of substantial gameplay. In one particular example, a coworker and I acted out the entirety of the "it's dark and we have sunglasses" scene in Blues Brothers; he spoke forty-five seconds of dialogue until my turn came around, and I said "punch it", and, and, and... that was it. This is multiplayer? And then once you've completed a scene, is there really a point in doing it again?

And that alone should be enough of a reason to "fail" the game. But I have to gripe for a moment about a technical issue before proceeding to give it the big "F". To configure the game properly, you have to read the manual first and actually change the Kinect's settings outside of the game. Given that no one should have to read the manual to get a game to work, I spent several hours simply believing that the game hated me. And all for the lack of something as simple as a pop-up message at the beginning of the game.

Yoostar 2 is one of the most unique games I've played, unique in that there was not a single moment that was truly fun. Kane and Lynch 2 sucked, as did Time Crisis: Razing Storm, but in each of those games, there were moments - no matter how rare - that I enjoyed. And to that end, those latter titles could be considered "games". I'm not sure that Yoostar 2 deserves that title.
F Revolution report card
  • Incredibly boring, static, shallow gameplay
  • "Multiplayer" is a misnomer here
  • Technical issues
  • Poorly executed concept
  • No semblance of advancement
  • So slow that you realize you're just being silly
    Reviews by other members
    No member reviews for the game.

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