Posted by David on June 2nd, 2008
There we were, all set to rock Berlin at the Weisbrot club (White Bread?), we went on stage and played our hardest. It didn’t matter about the extremities of our neighbors complaints, we were on top of the world. All we needed now was Malcolm McLaren…
Rock Band is essentially the next big step in the rhythm gaming genre. Rather than creating a game which focuses on learning to play one instrument or part of a whole, Harmonix have created a game which has you playing one of four parts to a fully fledged rock group. Its when you rip open your ‘band-in-a-box’ pack and uncover the plastic instruments within you realize how much effort this product will require of you; Guitar, bass, drums and vocals, the choice is yours.
As with most music games, the biggest selling point is the track listing, and Rock Band certainly doesn’t disappoint here. The project is backed by MTV games and so has a lot of triple A artists involved with many songs being full originals rather than cover versions. To name but a few the game features groups like the Foo Fighters, Nine Inch Nails, The Who, Red Hot Chili peppers, Nirvana, The Rolling Stones, The Clash, Metalica as well as some exclusive tracks to European gamers by bands such as Blur, Oasis, Die Toten Hosen and Tokio Hotel. You are also not limited to the songs included on the disc. Rock Band is intended to be a gaming platform rather than a single product, so you can also download extra songs just like iTunes. With new songs added every week you will always be able to find new content for the game if you become bored with the songs included.
The game itself has many different play modes adding to the overall experience. Although the pack comes with three instruments (with an optional fourth) you can still choose to play by yourself and embark on a solo career focusing on the instrument of your choice. You work your way through every one of the forty five main set list songs, with the songs you unlock getting more difficult as you progress. There are also competitive multiplayer modes but the bulk of your time with Rock Band will no doubt be spent with the co-operative Band World tour mode.
The experience of four people playing together and contributing to a whole, rather than just continuously killing each other, is something you just don’t get in other video games. Never before has a music game been so ambitious to include three plastic peripherals and bring such an exciting new product to a rapidly growing market.
‘Rock Band’ software sells for the RRP of £49.99. The full instrument pack retails for £129.99 and includes a guitar, drum set and a microphone. The Xbox 360 video game system is priced from £159.99.
[This piece also posted on Rhythm Gamer]