Yoostar 2: In The Movies Review
Written : Monday, April 04, 2011
By: Lee Abrahams (GT: jackanape)
We've come to accept in recent years that a career as a Hollywood movie star has almost definitely eluded us at this stage in our lives, although we always thought that we'd be noticed on the streets of London by a big-shot producer and signed up on the spot, purely for our blinding star wattage. Alas here we are, sadly not beating Hollywood starlets away with a big stick and not earning $50 million a movie. So, how can one live out their movie fantasies? You're In The Movies failed to scratch the movie star itch with its limited Xbox Live Vision cam capabilities, but in this day and age of advanced Kinect camera tech, surely anything is possible, right? Right?!
"Beards just don't grow like they used to..."
Yoostar 2: In The Movies revolves around a concept called 'movie karaoke', wherein you – and hopefully a group of liquored-up friends – actually act in place of a proper famous actor in a variety of well-known and not quite so well-known scenes from dozens of movies. Yoostar 2's playlist is a bit of a mixed bag, so iconic scenes from The Godfather rub shoulders with lighter bits from The Hangover, Zoolander and Meet the Parents. There's a decent wide and varied range of scenes to choose from, but overall the selection is rather hit and miss, with some eliciting little more than shrugged shoulders upon completion. There's also a slightly fatal flaw in Yoostar 2, which leaves most of your recorded scenes looking awkward and stupid. And not in a good way.
You see the thing with Yoostar 2 is you have to read your lines off the screen and concentrate on your timing, and in doing so, you have to actually keep looking at where you are in any given scene, which means the end result is you turning to read the line and trying to desperately interact with the on-screen actor. In short, if you don't know the lines and timing verbatim, you look like a complete tool. Some scenes work, as they manage to match your eyeline up with that of the original actor, such as Zak Galafinakis' “lone wolf” spiel in The Hangover or Riker talking to a Borgified Picard in a snippet from an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The majority of scenes just simply don't work however, so unless you're willing to rehearse the lines and timing, your performances are destined to look a bit rubbish. Even watching the scene and rehearsing before you try it seldom works. That said, there is an alternative.
"Mummy, what's a Focker?"
In each scene you can choose to improvise and invent your own lines via the ad-lib option if you like, meaning that you need only concentrate on your timing and position in the scene. Playing this way with like-minded friends is where the real laughs in Yoostar 2 are to be found, as you each try to one-up each other with increasingly absurd lines and over-the-top gestures. Your performance is rated after each individual scene – unless you're playing a playlist selection – so, delivery of the lines, hitting the script and conveying energy where appropriate will net you the big scores and the respect and adoration of your peers... maybe. If you're pleased with your acting handiwork, you can upload the results to the Yoostar 2 community to share your method with the world, although it appears that you're unable to playback your scenes in full-screen, instead having to watch your recording in a tiny frame. Even on our 37” display, this still looked rubbish.
If you're thinking that Yoostar 2 doesn't sound like it would excel as a single-player game, you'd be right. But there's a single-player element crammed in there anyway in the shape of Yoostar 2's Challenge Mode, which has you completing goals and acquiring prizes to progress and unlock new segments in a circular city. On your own, you can't help but feel like you're slightly insane jumping around and talking at your TV, so taking it in turns with a friend works best. Oh, and make sure you draw the curtains, unless you want the men in white coats chasing you around with a butterfly net.
"I'll be back" "Jeez, I hope not!!"
There's 80 scenes on the Yoostar 2 disc to play through, but if you grow tired of them, there's more to download from the Xbox Live Marketplace at 160 Microsoft Points a pop. Or, there's Hollywood sets and video backgrounds to lark about in, creating your own scenes in which you can interact with Godzilla, King Kong, the Kraken from the rubbish Clash of the Titans remake or simply soak up the adulation of a cheering crowd in a gladiatorial arena, if that sounds like fun. Or you could hang out on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise if you like. Whatever floats your boat. There's a decent volume of content on the disc – there's no disputing that – but Yoostar 2's novelty will sadly wear off rather quickly. You'll pick your favourite scenes – more than likely only a handful out of the 80 on offer – perform them, laugh and then probably never play it again. Still, the social and community aspects of the game are generally excellent and there is fun to be had, it's just that this enjoyment will likely be rather short-lived.
Attempting to nab all of Yoostar 2's achievements may keep you hooked for a little longer, as you repeat performances to nail that elusive five-star rating or grab all of the prizes in Challenge Mode, and the majority of the game's cheevos are centred around having fun and experimenting, as well as actually trying to perform seriously. There's also rewards for completing themed playlists, or for performing in certain ways and so, for the most part, Yoostar 2's achievements work well enough. They also encourage you to visit the community page and upload some of your recorded sequences.
It doesn't help Yoostar 2's case when the lighting in your room has to be ultra bright too and your outline is normally plagued with blocky artefacts and glitches. And it has other issues too, like causing Kinect to occasionally look down at your legs, meaning you have to either squat or faff about with the Kinect tuner. Despite these flaws, Yoostar 2: In The Movies is essentially the kind of game that you'll occasionally play with friends after a boozy night out or as a diversion during a house party, but once the novelty wears off, it's unlikely you'll bother to return to play it again.
Does the job, with the movie soundtrack as it should be. There's not a lot else you can say about the audio, as you pretty much provide most of it yourself.
All of the movie clips look perfectly fine, but are hampered by a restrictive frame during playback. When you're in the scene, your outline is also marred by blockiness and glitching, which could actually be down to Kinect itself rather than the game.
Initially, Yoostar 2 is an entertaining novelty, and there's certainly fun and laughter to be had. Once you've done your favourite scenes and experimented with some ad-libbing however, you may not come back for more.
There's 80 scenes on the disc and dozens of backgrounds to play around with, as well as new scenes to download and lots of lovely social community gubbins to play around with as you share your scenes, watch others, rate and be rated. However, the main menu interface is clunky and the game's appeal is pretty limited.
There's a nice range of achievements in Yoostar 2 and most are good fun to attempt. Some require you perform a themed playlist, like all black and white movies or scenes featuring animals, while others task you with nailing sequences with a 5-star rating.
On paper (or celluloid) Yoostar 2 is a great idea, but it's hampered by a sloppy user interface, blocky outlines, Kinect tics and a weird mix of movie clips. It's guaranteed to provide a few hours of entertainment and some hearty belly laughs, but ultimately, Yoostar 2 is a bit of a box-office flop.
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User Score is based on 18 user ratings.