For those of you who don’t know much about my other lines of work past the video gaming aspects (which was years ago), I am an actor. You may have seen me around, and may not have even realized it. In fact, my name on here comes from one of those roles (and long-time readers know that I referenced that origin some time ago if you care to hit the archives). So when Yoostar 2 was announced, I was intrigued. Could this game essentially be the Rock Band for actors?

Largely, I’d have to say “Yes”.

The concept is simple. Using the 360’s or (PS3’s) camera, players can integrate themselves into a set (and growing) number of television shows and movies (from Casablanca to The Hangover, to show how far reaching the eras go), and there’s DLC, so the number of options could only grow at this point.

The tech itself is actually really cool. The game removes one of the actors from one of these films and puts you in their place instead. The video quality isn’t as seamless as the promotional videos portray. It’s not bad, and like real acting, changes in lighting, color clothing worn, and possibly a greenscreen help to reduce the onscreen pixelization. It’s not perfect, but it is feasible enough to fit you within the “world”. Getting the right “look” takes tweaking. Don’t expect to find the perfect setting right off the bat.

The line delivery is like karaoke. Depending on line delivery, timing, improv, physical motions and reactions, the game will rate you. The better you do, the higher the score. While it’s certainly not going to make Academy Award winning actors out of everyone who plays, the techniques are serviceable enough for real attempts at acting. And if anything, could be utilized as a training utility, especially for timing, delivery, or just good practice. Like real acting, you’ll be doing take after take until fully satisfied with your performance.

The game also breaks it down to reading directly from the script, or going full-on ad-lib. I found myself scrambling around the house for props (grabbing my terrier for The Wizard of Oz, or a communicator for Star Trek). For fun, I even did a scene from Star Trek II where Khan had to match wits with my sweater clad Bill Cosby impersonation. It pays to be creative, and it makes the experience more immersive. As a “Party Game”, this has got so much potential to be one of the best (and funniest) interactive experiences around.

The community is also impressive. The Yoostar devs regularly comment and help out with their Facebook page, which I’d highly recommend following if you buy the game. The staff are sincerely helpful, friendly, and definitely movie fans. The Playground is another useful area where you can upload and rate videos, gain fans, receive awards, and go up levels. Could this game and community actually become a YouTube like environment where “digital online stars are born”? Honestly, I think if Yoostar supports this right, and stays with it, it just may. I expect the direct uploads to Facebook and Twitter this game allows are going to make for some amusing posts. I should probably post some of mine… maybe. Even the achievements award you for doing a quality job, or thinking outside of the box. Try just doing a voice-over or your best mime impression and see what happens.

Whether wanting to be a serious actor, or just unleash your inner ham, this game is as fun as you want it to be. For myself, props, improv, and just cutting loose has been the way to go, and the fully interactive and supportive community has made it simple to get any major questions answered (or just offer suggestions as to what programs you would like to see in the future).

It’s nice to find a game as satisfying as the personal build-up you’ve generated for it. The DLC and community support will be what makes or breaks this title in the long run.

So far, it’s off to a positive start.

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Filed under: kinectyoostar