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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.

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