Band Hero review
Scary Spice: Behind the Blow


Even the boxart is gay...

Band Hero is yet another band peripheral game from the money-hungry Activision. I wasn't going to rent this for a long-ass time, due to its setlist consisting of mainstream pop music [mainly], but The Bachelor Game got postponed to August 31st, and I needed another game to review in the meantime. This game was a last resort, and I had about 20 other games I was going to do first [all were unavailable on Gamefly]. If you're a fan of the wildly popular Rock Band or Guitar Hero series', this game is probably a last resort for you, too. Time for me to try and convince some of you out there that this game might be worth a look. Time for the detailed review...

Most of you readers might already be familiar with the widely popular Guitar Hero and Rock Band games. To sum this game up in one sentence, "This is Guitar Hero with mainstream music." That fits the game to a T, pretty much. Now, I'm not going to turn into a biased prick like most rock fans while reviewing this, mainly because I did enjoy myself while playing. People who are hardcore Guitar Hero/Rock Band fans [that hate this game because it has only pop music] need to understand that there's a much wider variety of music than rock. While Guitar Hero might appeal to you, it will turn away fans of this genre of music. Think of it more as bringing more people to the 'fake band' genre, and less of 'a mockery of Guitar Hero'. Hell, my favorite track in the whole game was So Yesterday by Hillary Duff, and that's the most 'poppy' of any pop song in Band Hero.

As the last paragraph stated, this game has quite a lot of pop music [with some alternative, disco, light rock, and hip hop sprinkled throughout the setlist]. If you don't listen to much pop, I don't really recommend this game unless you're in it just for a good laugh. There are some worthwhile tracks on here that aren't too 'poppy', like American Pie, Every Rose Has Its Thorn, and a few others. Still, there's nothing too intolerable on here. There are 65 tracks in all, and as I've said before, most of them are mainstream pop music. I'm sorry, but 65 tracks in all isn't gonna cut it for me. Especially after the 80-some tracks GH5 had.

As with every Guitar Hero game, there's a campaign-esque mode where your band tours all over the globe, playing covers [that sound exactly the same as the original, oddly enough] of songs and winning over fans [and a van]. This campaign mode is short and sweet, and will probably only take you 3 to 4 hours to complete. If you're a Trophy whore, this is where the 'Beginner' mode helps out alot, but I reccomend playing through this on the mode you're more comfortable with. The animations for reaching a new venue are-as always-*bleep*ing retarded. It looks like a comic book had a baby with one of the new Cartoon Network cartoons, and it did alot of acid up until getting this whole 'Band Hero' gig. In other words, they blow ass. Not only that, but there's a 'story' behind it all! To be completely honest, this 'story' didn't interest me whatsoever, because the first couple times I paid attention, it was like shoving a sharpened twig into my eyes. The ironic thing is that this campaign isn't even necessary, as you have every single song unlocked in Quickplay from the start! YAY FOR REDUNDANCY! The 'campaign' sucks, nothing else to it...

You gotta love that dude in the far back...

Let me stray away from the music for a second to talk about the Graphics. They are damn good. While they are a little more pink and girly than GH5 [which used the same Graphics engine as Band Hero], they are still very mesmerizing. So mesmerizing, in fact, that you sometimes will get distracted, and will screw up on the song you're playing. This kept happening to me when I was attempting Lifeline on Expert. That wasn't going to well in itself, but with in-your-face girly characters and effects jumping across the screen every couple seconds, I was doing even worse. Seriously, why the hell can't anything in the background be tame? You can't ever pay attention to it, because you're playing the song. There's no reason for the background to be as distracting as it is...

I feel like giving an entire paragraph to what I hate most about these guitar/band peripheral games. Mother *bleep*ing hammer-ons and pull-offs. Am I the only one who thinks that they are always in the exact wrong place? I don't give a shit if it's realistic and on-key with how real guitars work, I want hammer-ons and pull-offs to be in sections where single notes transition into chords [surprisingly, these are never made into hammer-ons... ever]. That's not much to ask. And it would make me play WAAAAY more, due to the relieving of the bullshit hammer-on system. There were multiple times where I was extremely close to FC'ing a song in Band Hero, just to get screwed over because I expect a hammer-on. I hope Guitar Hero 6/Band Hero 2/Rock Band 3/whatever is able to fix the shitty hammering-on and pulling-off, because I'm tired of rage quitting songs because of it. Again, this is only my opinion, and you may like the hammer-on system, but I still think it's quite shit.

Ah, yes, let's talk about difficulty settings now. Band Hero is very much marketed towards children, so it makes sense that they would crank the difficulty down. But in my honest opinion, there's no need for the 'Beginner' difficulty. It's only there for Achievement/Trophy whores who are too lazy too play on higher difficulties, and for small children who don't know the difference between their ass and their hands. The only fake instrument I played on Beginner was Guitar to see how they could step down from Easy being the easiest difficulty. ALL you do on Beginner is strum. That's it. If you're just getting into Guitar Hero and Rock Band games, only play on Beginner to help you strum better. Other than that, stick to Easy and Medium.

The 'Easy' difficulty requires you to strum at the same time you match up one [or two] of three different colored frets. Sounds complicated, but it's easy as hell. 'Medium' requires you to do the same as Easy, but with four different colored frets. They're perfect for casual gamers who like pop music, and want a calm game to pass the time. 'Hard' isn't too different from Medium, it just adds the fifth and final colored fret button to the charts. Other than that, Hard's pacing is around the same as Medium. For experienced Guitar Hero and Rock Band gamers, there's 'Expert' mode. I usually play on Expert [decently at best. I suck at the harder songs on any peripheral game on Expert], so I was expecting these pop titles to be made harder for GH/RB veterans to keep them interested. I was severely wrong. Some of these charts are just insulting on Expert. If you love a good challenge in the charts of the GH/RB games, don't buy OR rent this game. To sum up how hard this game is, the hardest song in the game is 'YMCA' by the Village People.

One thing I felt was an odd addition was the ability to import your GH5 songs to Band Hero. If you've played GH5, and liked the music... why the hell would you want to play it with a pop star theme going on in the background [not to mention playing as Taylor Swift or the dude from Maroon 5 on these songs]? I understand some people would do it just for the novelty of having Taylor Swift sing Du Hast, but I see no real need for this feature other than that. Of course, this is just my opinion, so feel free to mock me in the comments section if you disagree.

Looks like Joan Rivers is an unlockable character, too...

It's sad when there's so little to review that you have to make entire paragraphs for tiny features. Anyways, let's talk about the whole intro song being-able-to-jump-in-and-play thing. Most of you will recognize this feature from GH5 [after all, this is just a re-skin of GH5 but with pop music]. For those who have no clue what I'm talking about, let me explain. When you pop in the Band Hero disc, and skip past that gay little intro, you'll see a band up on stage with a song's name [and the name of the artist who performs it] up in the top left corner. At this point, you have the option to jump right into the song with the peripheral you're playing, and 'rock'. This is a fantastic practice mode. The reason it's a great practice mode is that you never fail out of a song while in this mode... ever. You can play on Expert, and this setlist will just continue and continue until you stop it. If you're new to the game, this is a nifty feature if you want to try out Hard or Expert without failing the first three seconds in. I certainly hope that this feature is continued in future installments of Guitar Hero and Band Hero games.

You can also play with your friends [if they haven't played Rock Band or Guitar Hero 5 before]! This game was a complete blast to play with two other friends. We mocked each song as we played, and the game instigated much laughter. While we didn't like the songs too much, we all had a fantastic time 'rocking' to Hilary Duff, and 'raising some hell' with Devo. While the setlist might be flawed to some people, at least it can provide some laughs amongst those people. If you want the full Band Hero experience, gather 2 or 3 metal-head friends of yours, pop in the disc, and play the night away. As for online play, I have no clue, because my 360 isn't online-enabled...

Let's see here... I covered the setlist, the graphics, and most of the problems I had with the game. It seems I've covered all I really could, so I guess it's time to wrap this review up. Overall, Band Hero is perfect for casual gamers who either like pop music, or need a good laugh. If you're a metal-head, or you like the setlists of RB/GH games, then this game won't be for you [again, unless you need a good laugh]. Since I'm finally done with this review, I can go [as Daniel Tosh would say] wash the gay off me... and it's sticky.

Band Hero for the XBOX 360 gets a 3.5 out of 5.0

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