There's an obligatory Star Power rip-off, here called the "Atmosphere Meter". Perform well and the meter will fill up. Then, to get a bonus and make the screen go blue for two seconds, you tilt the neck of the guitar. Or, if you're on the drums, simultaneously hit the left and right pads and press the kick pedal, which is more complicated than it really needs to be. You can also earn score multipliers up to a maximum of 8x. If you play badly the crowd will start booing and you'll fail the song.
In short, it won't take you long to familiarise yourself with how Rock Revolution works. Then you might fancy forming a proper band - after all, the Career mode is a highlight of many music games. But not Rock Revolution, where it is just one of a shattering array of lowlights.
Customisation options extend to being able to pick a name for your band. There are a range of avatars to play as, but the choice basically boils down to Man With Stupid Facial Hair, Woman Wearing Tight Trousers or Woman Wearing Skirt Stolen From Child. They have names like Riker and Duke. It's impossible not to hate them.
To progress through Career Mode you have to complete "albums". Each of these features four songs, and you must play through three of them to unlock the next album. Each one also offers two challenges, featuring two of the songs you've already played. They involve trying to reach a minimum high score, often while attempting to hit "poison notes". These look like regular notes except the middle is blacked out, and if you play five of them the song is over. This is one of the worst ideas in the history of games, as trying not to press buttons when their corresponding icons appear is no fun at all.
It's a good job the Career mode is so rubbish, because this means you won't be disappointed to learn it's not available in multiplayer. In fact, very little is available in multiplayer. Up to six people can compete in Versus mode, but only on guitar, and they must all play either lead or bass. The three-player Co-op mode features no progression whatsoever - it's just like Quick Play, with zero reward for finishing songs. There's no system where players can save each other if they get knocked out. It's quite hard to get knocked out anyway; it's possible for one player to get through an entire song even if the other fails to play a single note.
The multiplayer modes also work online, or so the menu system suggests. We tried all the various options at several different times of day, and failed to find a single player to compete against or play co-operatively with. Let's be fair, we were playing before the game hit the shops in Europe. But let's be honest, it's been out in the US since October. According to data trackers NPD, just 3000 copies were shifted in the first month of sale. It wouldn't appear that any of those 3000 people are still playing.
The final mode on offer is the Studio, where you can play and remix your own tracks. It sounds like a nice add-on, but in practice it's a useless gimmick. Somehow, the Studio manages to be overly simplistic and frustratingly complex at the same time. The options available to you are both limited and difficult to explore. It's impossible to produce anything that sounds good, and it's almost impossible to produce anything at all thanks to an interface that's as intuitive as a potato. Even if you miraculously manage to knock out a tune you're proud of no one will know, as you can't do anything so crazily futuristic as share your songs online.
To recap, then: Rock Revolution for Xbox 360 doesn't support one of the controllers other music games use. It has half the number of tracks, no music store, no tracks by the original artists and no co-op Career mode. At least Konami's only asking GBP 24.99 for it, which would suggest they know it's not worth full-price.
But is it worth the money if you just want a few dozen extra tracks to bang away to with that drum kit gathering dust in the garage? No. The gameplay mechanics are rubbish, the progression system is limited and the multiplayer options are pathetic. There's nothing revolutionary about this game and there's certainly nothing "rock" about it. For 25 quid, you could hire Richard Blackwood and Daniel Bedingfield for the afternoon and still have change for an egg sandwich, a Panda Pops and the bus to Lewisham Travelodge. You'd have more fun.
3 / 10