Rock Band review
When the original Guitar Hero was released in 2005, rhythm gaming was changed forever. Gamers who have never played an instrument before could become instant rock stars. However, the hit was limited to only the guitar. In 2007, that was all changed, and rhythm gaming was changed forever, once again with Rock Band.
Harmonix took the rather simple idea of Guitar Hero a step farther. Instead of only being able to rock out on the guitar, you can now jam on any instrument in a basic rock band. Choose from Guitar, Bass, Drums, or Microphone, and make some music!
If you are familiar with Guitar Hero, you will get the hang of guitar very quickly. This time around, you are rocking on Rock Band's version of a Fender Stratocaster! Awesome, right? In some eye's yes, in some, no. Personally, I am not a fan of the new guitar controller. The strum bar is nearly silent, which makes it difficult for me to keep a steady rhythm. This may not apply to all, but I can play better when I hear the clicking sound coming from the Les Paul guitar controller that was shipped with Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock. Please note that the Les Paul is compatible with Rock Band. Another problem I have with the fender is the whammy bar. In Rock Band, you can use the whammy bar to extract energy (also known as star power in Guitar Hero), but the whammy bar lands awfully close to the back button when tapped on the surface of the guitar controller. The back button is used to execute energy, which can save you from failing in songs. I have accidentally hit the back button and activated energy by accident at the wrong part of a song resulting in a fail. I wasn't happy about that at all. A nice and surprising addition to the Fender are the solo keys. At the beginning of the neck on the guitar, there are small keys that you can tap during solos. If you are using the keys, you do not need to strum to hit the notes. Cool huh? Overall, the Fender Stratocaster is a decent peripheral, but I prefer the Les Paul from Guitar Hero III. The guitar is controlled much like the guitar in Guitar Hero. To hit a note, you must strum and have the selected fret held down as it crosses the fret on your screen.
The bass guitar is also an instrument in Rock Band. A rather disappointing side to the purchase of the full package containing all of the instruments, is that there is actually no bass guitar shipped. You receive a drum kit, microphone, and the Fender Stratocaster. So, if you want to play with a full band, you need to purchase another guitar. Also, there is no Solo Tour for the bass guitar; it can only be played when playing with a band. It is controlled exactly like the lead guitar, so there is nothing for you to learn.
Probably the most popular instrument in the package, here we have the drum kit. The kit is created with four colored pads, green, red, yellow, and blue, and a bass pedal. A nice edition to the kit is that they are shipped with actual wooden drum sticks! They definitely add to the feel of being an actual drummer. The note highway looks very similar to that of the guitar, but there are only four pads on your screen. The bass pedal is covered by an orange line that slides down the screen. When it hits your line in the middle, you must press down on the pedal. It takes some getting used to, but it is fun.
I was actually quite surprised to learn that singing was a part of this game. Rock Band is shipped with a real microphone, with which you can hone your signing skills. For those who don't know how singing works in this game, there is a small board where lyrics slide by. When they reach the arrow on the left side of the board, you must sing the words into the microphone. Above each word, is a line, and you must sing in a pitch related to the location of the lyric. For example, if the lyric is at the very top of the board, you must sing at a high pitch.
Solo Tour/Band World Tour
Do you have some friends that you would like to jam with? Here is your chance to rise and become known across the world! In World Tour, you start playing small gigs, and as you make your way down the set list, you become a famous band, much like in the Guitar Hero series. There isn't much to the story, but hey, how much of a story can you make out of a rhythm game like this? In the Band World Tour mode, I have one complaint I would like to bring up. When playing with my brother, we noticed that you must repeat a large amount of the songs multiple times throughout the tour. This got rather annoying. We never encountered this problem when playing through the solo tour, however.
Big Rock Endings
At the end of certain songs, you get to play something called a Big Rock Ending. During this crucial moment of the song, you must beat, scream, or strum as fast as you can to get as much notes in as possible. You'll see your points begin to rack up. As the BRE ends, you will have to play a few more notes to maintain your score. Be careful not to miss, because if you do, your BRE final score will be a 0. This was a rather fun addition to the game, and it is a lot of fun when you are playing with your friends.
On the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 versions of the game, there is an abundant amount of downloadable songs that you can add to your collection. They cost money, but not much. There is a Music Store that you can buy single tracks from, which you cannot do in Guitar Hero III. New songs are also added more often than in Guitar Hero III which is a nice bonus.
Rock Band is a very fun game for people of all ages. It is a great game for parties, family-get-togethers, and just playing by yourself. With four instruments, a ton of downloadable content, and a great set list, the replay is enormous! Rock Band has a near flawless gameplay.
Harmonix did a splendid job selecting the set list for this game. The note charts are very fun to play, and some charts make more sense than those in Guitar Hero III's. It is also great to see that the majority of the songs in this game are master sound tracks, which sound great.
Rock Band has a much different feel than the Guitar Hero series graphics-wise. The note highways are a solid black, and have no artistic designs on them. Also, the notes in this game are rectangular, and not circle-shaped. The graphics are solid, and Harmonix did a great job of fitting four player's charts on one screen.
In the end, Rock Band has got to be one of the most fun games that I have ever played. I enjoyed it from the moment I purchased it, and as long as you have some interest in music, I am sure you will too. Take it from me, someone who has never seriously played an instrument, that this game is still spectacular, and fun.
Rock Band receives a 9.5 out of 10.
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