CMT Presents Karaoke Revolution Country Review

CMT Presents:  Karaoke Revolution Country is the first time the Karaoke Revolution series has put out a title solely devoted to one genre of music, this time being country.  Given that it’s from the folks at Harmonix, using the same engine (more or less) that the previous Karaoke Revolution games used, it seemed a sure bet that this game would appeal to fans of country music and karaoke.  The question is, was enough time put into the game to make it a viable game for those owning the other titles in the series, or was it more of a chance to make some easy money on country music fans without having to do as much work as creating a totally new game would be?

A funny thing happened on the way to making this title.  Apparently, Harmonix and Konami felt that taking the graphics engine from Karaoke Revolution Party and adding a few country-style outfits and graphics to the mix in the way of the characters would suffice in making the game country.

Unfortunately, that isn’t the case.  The sets all are exactly the same as they were in Karaoke Revolution Party, including some that are distinctly not country-themed.  What would have been wrong with throwing a honky-tonk joint in the game, or a rodeo backdrop? 

The graphics in the game are pretty much the same as all of the Karaoke Revolution series, which isn’t bad in of itself, it’s just that it feels that not enough effort was made to make this game unique, which is truly a shame.

One of the strongest suits in the previous Karaoke Revolution games has been the quality of the music as well as the extensive songlist.  With country music having a heritage going back over sixty years, there were hopes that Karaoke Revolution Country would have a songlist worthy of the genre. 

Again, unfortunately, what we’ve been given is only a thirty-five song track list.  While the titles are good, going from Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash to Redneck Woman by Gretchen Wilson, a lot of the tracks tended to be current country songs as opposed to a more even mix of classic tunes versus contemporary hits. 

As with a few of the other titles in the series, there is very little in the way of hidden songs in the game, which may be on purpose.  Still, with only thirty-five songs in the track list, it’d be nice to see a good five to ten songs hidden for those who really played and excelled at the game.

You have to give Harmonix and Konami credit here.  When something isn’t broke, they don’t do anything to change it.  The control in the Karaoke Revolution series has gotten fine tuned over the preceding games, and the game is quite good at adapting to changes in pitch and tune, only losing a note or two when changing octaves mid-stream. 

This is really the one area of the game that I can’t find any major faults with.  Being that I really am not the singer my younger sister is, I turned the mic over to her for much of this review, and she reported that it pretty much felt the same as the previous games in the series, which made her very happy as she was able to tag gold records on medium difficulty quite often.

This is the part where the review breaks down.  Twenty minutes into playing the game, I started to notice a lot of similiarities to Karaoke Revolution Party, although the dancing has been removed.  The stages were pretty much the same, the graphics were the same….even the minigames were exactly the same!

This really bugged me, as what the heck does “Yo!  Dude!  Rock!” have to do with a country music game?  Why not a minigame where you have to ride a bull, and hitting the notes keep you from falling off the bull?  How about a Simon-style game, where you have to repeat certain pitches?  Anything would have been an improvement, honestly. 

It really feels like CMT wanted a country karaoke game, and Harmonix and Konami just slapped something together, and called it good.  Good, however, is not what it is.

With only thirty-five songs, and no real reason to replay the game unless you have to get all of the songs platinum to see the special bonus, there’s no real replay value involved, and not a huge amount of play value at all, other than in a party setting.

For people who own other versions of Karaoke Revolution, especially those who own Karaoke Revolution Party, there’s no reason to buy this game at all, unless you feel a need to complete your collection of all the titles.  Outside of that, if you’re a fan of country music and have been waiting for a good karaoke game to play with your friends…this is your title.

I had a really hard time writing this review.  In fact, the first question I had for my director was, “How do I write this review without ripping off my review for Karaoke Revolution Party?  I can’t exactly go ‘Read my Karaoke Revolution Party review.  Now remove the dancing.  Add country music.'”  Unfortunately, that’s really what this game is.  So little was changed between the two titles that it really feels like a quick hack job to make a quick dollar.  And that’s unfortunate, because both Harmonix and Konami are much better than that.

Hopefully their next title (already announced) will be the leap ahead that the series deserves at this point.

Ron Burke is the Editor in Chief for Gaming Trend. Currently living in Fort Worth, Texas, Ron is an old-school gamer who enjoys CRPGs, action/adventure, platformers, music games, and has recently gotten into tabletop gaming. Ron is also a fourth degree black belt, with a Master's rank in Matsumura Seito Shōrin-ryū, Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do, Universal Tang Soo Do Alliance, and International Tang Soo Do Federation. He also holds ranks in several other styles in his search to be a well-rounded fighter. Ron has been married to Gaming Trend Editor, Laura Burke, for 21 years. They have three dogs - Pazuzu (Irish Terrier), Atë, and Calliope (both Australian Kelpie/Pit Bull mixes).
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