Rock Band Review

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Those who are about to rock, we salute you...


Having spent months rattling on the fretboard of your Guitar Hero controller and nailing that impossible Dragonforce solo, swapping over to rhythm-action Johnny-come-lately Rock Band may seem like a step in the wrong direction. However, once you sample the joys of playing with a group of wannabe rock legends and using your sharp sense of timing for co-operative rather than competitive play, it’s unlikely you’ll give Activision’s original guitar mash-up a second glance.

Widening out the ‘pretend instruments’ concept to include drums, bass and vocals, the joy of playing Rock Band comes from working with other players to entertain a fickle digital crowd, blending the best elements of Guitar Hero, DrumMania and SingStar to create the best party game ever, and a package that may seem expensive to begin with, but offers months of replay value.

Over 40 licensed songs – including songs from the Smashing Pumpkins, Kiss, Black Sabbath and the Foo Fighters – also means Rock Band trumps the disappointing selection of tracks found in recent editions of Guitar Hero, and while there’s no denying the intense thrill of shredding a plastic axe, working with other bogus instrumentalists to perfect your favourite track is impossibly thrilling, a deep sense of satisfaction coming from not just from your own rhythmic prowess, but from the team accomplishent of playing Nirvana’s ‘In Bloom’ without hitting a single bum note.

On the downside the single player game is crushingly dull, and the tatty instruments feel a little cheap and nasty beside the more solid Guitar Hero controllers. But for the chance to feel as if you’re playing on stage with a group of rockers with years of experience in the music industry behind them, Rock Band is a rhythm-action classic.