Game Review: Rock Band feeds rock star craving

By Nick Pitts
January 31, 2008

Megan Pellegrino

Ranking right below a person’s desire to fly is their longing to be a rock star. It is about time that a video game finally enables you to conquer one of these unrealistic dreams.

The rightfully named and long awaited Rock Band definitely takes care of the rock star craving. So grab your three best friends; it’s time to hit the road.

Available for Xbox 360, Playstation 2 and Playstation 3, Rock Band debuts as the new bully in gang of rhythm games, as well as the ultimate party.

It takes the idea of the lone guitar player and greatly expands on it with the introduction of the drummer, bassist and lead singer. With up to four members in your band at a time, it is a great game for a social setting.

In the band world tour mode, players can create rockers that resemble them. The band actually makes fans based on how well they perform at each venue in the game.

The better the performance, the more venues become available to your band, as well as songs to play.

The band has an excellent “set list” of music to choose.

Featuring bands like The Killers and the Foo Fighters, as well as Metallica and the Rolling Stones, the list covers over 40 years of rock-and-roll.

When comparing the guitarist role to its rival, Guitar Hero, Rock Band takes realism to a whole new level. Rock Band guitars are modeled after the popular Fender Stratocaster guitar and could easily be mistaken for the real thing.

The Stratocaster also takes the mechanical feel of other rhythm games and throws it out the window. The sensitive strum bar on this guitar gets rid of the clicking sound that Guitar Hero guitars make, leaving a player to possibly forget they are not actually playing a real guitar.

Guitar hero mixes both guitar and bass to create challenging note combinations. Rock Band notes, on the other hand, are very true to the song being played, which makes playing much easier.

The addition of the drums is what makes this game worth buying, as this is the most realistic instrument by far. Four drum pads and a foot pedal is your medium and two genuine wooden drumsticks are your tools.

The notes pour down the screen just as the guitar players, but the foot pedal is played when an orange bar shows up on the screen. If the rocker can play well enough, they are rewarded with over-drive, Rock Band’s version of star power in Guitar Hero. Over-drive allows the rocker to “rock-out” with a solo!

Following the same format as rival sing-a-long games such as Karaoke Revolution, the vocals are all about keeping the right pitch and there is a pitch-bar in sync with the lyrics that are located on the top of the screen.

Because the game understands pitch and not actual words, the lead singer can put their own words to use, being as improvisational as they desire.

Easy and medium modes are within the comfortable zone for beginner singers, while hard and expert modes are just that- very hard and take an expert to get a good score.

Harmonix has really put on a sold-out show with Rock Band and though it is still only in the rumor stages, the game may eventually come out for Nintendo’s Wii, which should create even more of a stir.

By adding a drummer, bassist and lead singer, it is no longer the Guitar Hero, but rather a Rock Band.

The only thing that this latest simulation game cannot deliver is the sensation of flying.

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Nick Pitts

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