If you remember last year's Christmas season one of the big surprise titles that I was totally sold on was a little game called KARAOKE REVOLUTION. Whereas the DANCE DANCE REVOLUTION series tested your ability to move your feet to the beat (and moreso to the arrows on screen), KARAOKE tested gamers' voices, and probably won over more non-gamers than it did the hardcore crowd.
It was thought that instead of a full new version of the game, that Konami would release expansion discs in the future filled with songs. Instead, KARAOKE REVOLUTION VOLUME 2 is its own standalone game, which basically contains more songs and a few improvements.
In addition to the modes from the last go around there is one really cool new one that focuses on creating a medley of five songs. This is pretty cool, and since I've always liked medleys (especially the polka ones that "Weird Al" Yankovic puts together) this mode is almost perfect for the party atmosphere.
That's really where the game shines as well. I can be a huge dork and sit in my office playing KARAOKE REVOLUTION all day, and it'll be kinda fun, and my throat will hurt. But when I grab a bunch of friends, sit around in the lounge with the game until all hours of the night THAT'S when I'm super pumped about playing this title. You get all of these people singing in unison to pop songs and not really caring what they sound like.
The song list this time around is sure to please as well. We've got hits like "Every Breath You Take", "I Will Survive", "Lady Marmalade", "Rock and Roll All Night", "Sweet Home Alabama", and "We Are Family". There's a nice assortment in the 35 songs in the game although I will say I wish the song list was larger.
The biggest addition I could ask for would be some sort of hard drive support for online downloads. I'd love to at least get the first set of songs moved into the second game (Medley mode being the main reason). I'd also like the chance to buy more songs along the way. Even periodic song-pack updates would be huge. I don't know how commercially viable this is though, and I doubt Konami wants to lose money so that a guy like me can get the latest Top 40 hits on his PS2 HDD.
All in all, this is everything the first game was, with the medley mode tossed in for good measure. The drawback continues to be the limited song list, but that shouldn't make anyone hesitate to pick this (and if needed a USB microphone) up from the store and round up a bunch of friends.