Yoostar 2: review

  • Format: 360 (version reviewed, Kinect required), PS3 (PlayStation Eye required)
  • Unleashed: Out Now
  • Publisher: Yoostar
  • Developer: Blitz Games
  • Players: 1-2
  • Site: http://ys2.yoostar.com/#/home

  • The concept is simple: stand in front of the camera, and watch yourself act in a movie clip of your choice. The two big questions though are does it work, and is it actually any fun to play?

    The answer to the first question is emphatically ‘yes’ – but while most of the technical wizardry is down to the game itself, we must stress that only the Kinect version was tested for this review. It’s difficult to imagine exactly how the Yoostar tech works, but the end result is impressive. The actor/actress you replace (you often have a choice) is gone without a trace. Move from the space Yoostar tells you to stay in, and only the set is to be seen behind; miss a line, and the original speech is nowhere to be heard in the recording. You really are given the starring role.

    Just how well are you scanned into the clip? Is it 100% perfect as the TV advert implies? The answer is certainly ‘no’, but in ideal lighting conditions it’s much closer than you might expect. If you tend to only play games in the evenings, it’s worth bearing in mind that without stadium-quality floodlights, your image will be grainy and likely carry a little of your background with it. Again however, with the right light the effect is mightily impressive.

    Worry not Trekkies, one of the clips is Tribbletastic.

    Considering the fact that the best lighting conditions mean plenty of sunlight – therefore requiring you to pose, exclaim and gurn in front of a window – perhaps there should be a special edition of Yoostar 2 bundled with a set of net curtains. Anyway, sound recording too we found to be impressive, especially given the distance you must stand from the camera (roughly 6ft). While the recording can sound just a little tinny, background noise is cut out well.

    The choice of clips, and the movies/TV series they are taken from, can seem a little erratic. Ben Stiller fans will certainly be pleased as Along Came Polly, Meet The Parents, Meet The Fockers, Tropic Thunder, and Zoolander are all featured. Coming To America and Beverly Hills Cop remind you what a great comic actor Eddie Murphy is – or at least, used to be. The family dinner scene from The Nutty Professor only serves to emphasise how much better the Jerry Lewis original was. We can’t help wondering how many people are desperate to star in a clip from Norbit, Baby Mama or Up In Smoke (no, us neither). It feels suspiciously like filler in an attempt to justify the DLC that’s already started to appear.

    Life is like a... no, wait, that one's DLC.

    There are no doubt several reasons certain movies are missing, but we can’t help but yearn for some more classic scenes. No Star Wars, no Rebel Without A Cause, no Life of Brian. That said, if none of the lines that are included tickle your thespian areas – such as ‘I’ll be back’, ‘An offer he can’t refuse’, ‘Here’s looking at you kid’, and ‘Wax on, wax off’ – then you are surely dead inside.

    ‘Challenge’ mode is as close to a story mode as you’re going to get, throwing a series of clips at you and requiring you to earn various rewards – such as ‘high energy’ by jumping around like a loon, or simply doing a half decent job of acting – in order to progress (and unlock extra footage to lark about in front of). By and large this mode requires you to take the whole experience seriously however, which will be off-putting for some.

    Fear not, for ‘Quick Play’ allows you to jump into any scene – and forgo the Teleprompter should you so wish. Select ‘ad-lib’ and you’ll be scored not on your timing, delivery and mark placement, but ‘energy’ and ‘originality’. Of course, the best fun is to be had from ignoring the scoring system completely and just being very silly. Want a glove puppet to deliver Arnie’s lines in The Terminator? We did. Bouncing off the po-faced delivery of other actors with your own lines can be most amusing too.

    There's little more depressing than having your console tell you your acting isn't good enough for an award.

    Narcissists will be pleased to hear that you can save any movies you’re particularly proud of, with the option of uploading them to the Yoostar community (though they have to pass moderation first – spoilsports). Watching people acting badly isn’t any fun – but now and again you’ll come across somebody with a decent sense of humour. If you become a ‘Fan’, you can quickly and easily find all of their past, present and future uploaded clips.

    The in-game search system makes finding a particular video extremely difficult (Fan system aside), with the result that only newly uploaded videos – or those promoted by Yoostar – tend to get any views at all. The cavalry here is Facebook, the only way to share your clips outside of the game.

    Link a Facebook account with your Yoostar game, and all of your clips will become available in the ‘Yoostar Playground’ app. You can then provide links for others to watch your videos – provided they have Facebook accounts. If you’re one of those people with a thousand ‘friends’, who knows? Perhaps one of your clips will go viral.

    The fun to be had from Yoostar 2 depends entirely on the people playing it, more so perhaps than any other game. Acting out a scene alongside a friend will surely appeal to most, and we’d all be tempted to make fools out of ourselves in front of stock footage… but for how long? If the very idea of this game makes you cringe, probably not long at all. If you’re looking for something to amuse you and a group of friends or family, this is perfect. Just don’t expect each of the 80 scenes to be a classic.

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    Written by Luke K

    Luke plays lots of videogames, now and again stopping to write about them. He's the editor in chief at Critical Gamer, which fools him into thinking his life has some kind of value. Chances are, if you pick up a copy of the latest Official PlayStation Magazine or GamesMaster, you'll find something he's written in there. Luke doesn't have a short temper. If you suggest otherwise, he will punch you in the face.

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