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Platform

Xbox 360

 

Genre

Rhythm

 

Publisher

MTV Games

 

Developer

Harmonix

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

Q4 2007

 

 

- The drums are great

- Gameplay is an improvement over Guitar Hero

- Soundtrack will appeal to many people

 

 

- Guitar, Drums and Mic are wired on the 360

- Price tag will be steep for some

- The USB hub that is included is not very reliable

 

 

Review: Guitar Hero III (PS2)

Review: Guitar Hero III (PS3)

Review: Traxxpad: Portable Studio (PSP)

 

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Rock Band

Score: 9.5 / 10

 

I have been surprised to hear about the number of people that don’t know about this game. It seems like everyone has Guitar Hero fever, but the team that created that game has done one better with Rock Band. Although there are a new publisher and distributor, make no mistake that the brains behind the classic rhythm game have done it again.

 

rockband          rockband

 

If you’re comfortable with Guitar Hero, you’ll feel right at home – at first.  Opening up the box you’re going to find the guitar is in two pieces. No, it’s not broken – that’s just how the Fender Stratocaster comes, allowing for the possibility of changing the neck piece. The guitar is more advanced than the previous guitars, featuring two sets of fret buttons. The smaller set can be used for the solo sections that require the hammer on / hammer off effect, and do not require that you strum while using them. It’s a nice addition and the creators have once again found a good way to make you feel like you are really participating as a musician.

 

The drum kit is a great peripheral and the included wooden sticks give that authentic “whack” when you hit them together before the song starts.  I found the

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drums a little harder to master than the guitar, requiring more practice and coordination. The introduction of the foot pedal increases the complexity, and the developers have indicated that if you can master the drums in hard mode you can pretty much play them for real (unlike the guitar).

 

The microphone is similar to what

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Harmonix has offered before with their karaoke games, although some users may find they prefer the Microsoft headset that they use for Live. If you feel like trying to be the next Phil Collins, there is nothing stopping you from playing the drums and covering the vocal sections as well if you can keep everything together. Obviously, you’ll need to know the words because following them on screen as well as the drum notes would be very difficult.

 

The game is best played on a widescreen, especially if you introduce a second player with an additional guitar (not included). The guitar you might already have for Guitar Hero works just fine – even wireless.  This brings up one of the few negatives about this game which are the wired peripherals. It’s frustrating that there is nothing wireless in the box and although the included USB Hub is a nice addition (and really, requirement) I found it unreliable at times. It never failed me during game play, but I found at times the system would not recognize the peripherals I did have plugged into it until I fiddled around a bit.

 

rockband          rockband

 

The soundtrack is solid, featuring 58 songs (of which 51 are original recordings) and the background animations have advanced although they are completely unnecessary and even somewhat distracting to those playing.

 

Your band can go on tour on Live, and one of the great features is the ability to play with others when nobody else is around the house. This works really well and shows just how effective the Internet (and Live service) can be used to bring people together in positive ways.

 

In an interesting twist, if you find one player is not playing very well they will be ‘boo’ed off the stage. If you have built up enough energy (you might know it as Star Power) you can use your energy to revive the other player.  This is an excellent idea and works well, again bringing together the idea of truly being in a band. 

 

There is of course a solo tour as well, and the game features extensive character customizations so you can pick just the right look of your alter ego.  The look and feel of the game at this point is very similar to what you have come to expect in titles like Guitar Hero.

 

Rock Band is an incredible evolution of what Harmonix has been doing for years. Yes, it’s pricey and it’s also going to be difficult to obtain at launch. This is one of those games you will keep playing and with downloadable content and the ability to play others online, the replay value is incredible.  Make your dreams come true, and finally be the rock star you’ve always wished you could be.

 

- Syd Bolton

(December 24, 2007)

 

Syd Bolton has been collecting game consoles for over 20 years and has dozens of systems and over 5,000 games. Do you agree or disagree with this review? Make sure you share with us here.

 

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