Yoostar 2: In the Movies review

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Yoostar 2: In the Movies review

Much as we’d love to be high-profile actors and live in fear of TMZ, the hard truth is that most folks simply lack the raw talent and drive to string together a movie career. Yoostar 2 offers a seemingly alluring alternative, letting you act out scenes from dozens of hit films (and a handful of TV shows) using just your Kinect camera, but while the illusion is satisfactory, the one-dimensional hook never evolves into a complete and engaging play experience.

Yoostar 2 treats your living room like a green-screen studio — albeit without the actual screen — using the video- and audio-recording capabilities of the Kinect sensor to capture your character performance and insert it into one of 80 licensed clips. You can take the role of the “Italian Stallion” in the original Rocky and later sequel Rocky Balboa, briefly sub in for Shaun or Ed from Shaun of the Dead as you parlay zombie groans into a vocal jam, and even utter the iconic “Houston, we have a problem” line from Apollo 13. And beyond the diverse film clips, you’ll also find scenes from TV series like Mad Men and Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Many scenes offer two distinct roles, some of which support two local players, and your primary objective is to read the on-screen lines as indicated and mug for the camera, as you earn points for precise timing and movement. Alternately, you can opt to ad-lib the script, and the game also includes standalone animated backdrops and film sets upon which you can create your own unique moments.

But the initial novelty of acting out familiar scenes is notably short-lived, as the straightforward approach lacks depth or varied objectives for multiple playthroughs. Sure, you can take on simple challenges and try to build an online following, but we just can’t see ourselves mustering up enough enthusiasm to continue pumping Microsoft Points into the downloadable scene packs the game will eventually offer.

Moreover, Yoostar 2 faces some recurring technical hitches, which may or may not derail your faux-acting experience. More than most Kinect games we’ve played so far, Yoostar 2 requires quite a bit of light to execute its intended effect — otherwise your visage may appear dark and surrounded by pixelated fuzz amid the professional backdrops. (Despite generating solid results with natural light and lamps, we should note that we never did achieve totally seamless footage integration.) And though the Kinect camera adjusts before scenes, we sometimes had to crouch to properly fit in the shot, or restart the framing process for it to find the correct tilt angle.

Yoostar 2 makes an interesting stab at doing something innovative and unique with Kinect, and it may be good for a few laughs at your next party. Ultimately, though, it feels like an elaborate gimmick — more a faded star than a true Hollywood legend.

On Xbox 360 (For Kinect)

+ Includes current and classic clips from a variety of films and TV shows.

- Very much a one-trick pony: just read your lines, then watch the results.

- Requires a lot of lighting; camera adjustment can be finicky.

? Could the uploaded clips launch someone’s acting career?

5.5

 
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