Rock Band Reader Review
Yes, itís expensive.
Yes, itís a disgrace to ask Europeans to pay so much more than the USA.
And yes, it just so happens to be one of the finest gaming experiences imaginable.
If you can afford it and can accept the fact we are being shafted on the price, then you will find Rock Band to be the absolute best game in its genre. Want the guitars of Guitar Hero? Check. The singing of Singstar? Check. The drums ofÖ that Japanese game I forgot the name of? Check. Combine it all together and you get one big, fat, grin on your face.
Each of these instruments (bar the bass guitar) has its own single player career mode to play through. Itís the same process as usual - start off with the easiest track list then work your way through earning money for your character to buy shiny new things with, ooo.
The guitar in the game works just as before, in the Guitar Hero games, so no surprises there (likewise for bass). As said previously, the singing is handled in a similar fashion to the Singstar series. You donít have to sing the words dead-on, just match the pitch and try your best! The drumming is something Iíve never seen the likes of before. The layout on-screen is similar to the guitar, but the drums themselves have their own unique quirks such as having to use the bass pedal. Itís truly unique and must be tried to be fully understood.
The career isnít as fleshed out as Guitar Hero. There are no fun little cut scenes and you donít really feel like you are a real rocker, progressing through a career. It feels more like a video game, to be honest. You play songs and progress through the track lists and thatís your lot. Thatís not to say the single player career is bad, not at all, it just lacks the little details that makes it all feel Ďrealí.
Thatís a minor quibble, however, as what really makes or breaks these games is the quality of the tracks. In this field, Rock Band excels. People can argue all day about which Guitar Hero has the better tracks but in Rock Band theyíve gone for balance. Thereís old songs, new songs, well-known songs, obscure songs (even a South Park song!) - Rock Band tries to strike a chord with as many people as possible and this is part of what makes it such a great party game. Donít like this approach? Then thereís the Song Store to download a host of ever-increasing new songs for the game from all different genres. Thereís songs by rock bands, metal bands, punk bands, emo bands, old classicsÖ the list could go on forever. The ability to add new songs to the game and the dedication the Rock Band team are showing in bringing so much new content so quickly is what will really add life to the game and keep you playing for months and months. Guitar Hero failed in this department because they didnít offer as much content, just a few measly track packs here and there at a high price point. Rock Band offers hundreds already, available as individual songs, track packs and some even as full albums.
The real draw of the game, for most people, will be the local multiplayer. You all play together (or as many of you as youíd like) in the Band World Tour Mode. Gameplay is basically the same as it is in single player, but with a few adjustments to how you use the Overdrive meter (this gameís Star Power). Band World Tour, while still not making your journey through the rock world seem completely real, is more fleshed out than its single player variety. In the Band World Tour you have to travel the world earning money, fans, new tour gear, groupies, a manager, etc. Eventually it will take you all the way to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame!
One of the other differences is that there are different ways you can progress. You donít just go through a list of songs, in order. In Band World Tour it mixes it up by forcing you to play certain songs, giving you mystery songs, letting you pick your own songs out of any in the game, make your own multi-song setlists and generally just giving you more freedom. Band World Tour is the mode most people will be interested in playing and it truly is one of the most incredible things in gaming. Youíll spend your entire time grinning from ear to ear - well, as long as you all gel as a band and donít end up fighting!
Thereís also online multiplayer in the game. You canít do the World Tour together, but you can play song after song together and generally have a great laugh. Just head to the lobby, click "Find Players" and youíre away! The game will kit you out with other people from around the world and you can all rock out together.
Another feature new to this genre is the ability to customise your character. You pick his/her name, face, build and attire. Make yourself, your friends, or your rock heroesÖ or Jesus or something - whoever you want! The money you earn in the career (either single player or multi-player) can be used to buy new clothes, hair, accessories, or instruments for your budding rock god. If youíre like me, youíll probably spend as much time making new characters as you will playing the game!
At the end of the day, despite the price, Rock Band offers the one of best multi-player experiences money can buy and a cracking single player to boot. If you donít mind splashing out a little then you wonít regret buying this game for a second, itís highly recommended and I know youíll have a great time playing it.
10 / 10