litany against fear

coding with spice ¤ by nick quaranto

Rock Band Rocks.

published 27 Mar 2008

It simply does. That is all.

Oh, you wanted to know why! Well, if you’re still reading and not playing it, there’s three reasons why Rock Band is an awesome investment (it’s still $169.99) for your Xbox 360, PS3, or (soonly) your Wii. First off, the UI is a lot cleaner than Guitar Hero 3’s.

Now, do remember that 1-4 people are watching the TV at a time for Rock Band instead of only 1-2 for Guitar Hero 3. However, the Rock Band interface is extremely simple. No complex images on the fretboard, a scoreboard that is easy to see, and the Overdrive meter is so much easier to understand than the star power gauges. All you want to know when you’re playing either of these games is what your multiplier is and if you can use your star power/overdrive or not. With Guitar Hero 3, they’re on complete opposite sides of the screen! Also, the star power gauge is made of lights that fill up, and it’s even harder to see when playing with two players. For Rock Band, all of that information is in one place, at the very bottom of the fretboard, beneath where you’re looking at most of the time to play notes. Obviously, the team behind Rock Band really looked at how people play Guitar Hero and what’s essential to see when you’re playing, and turned that into a brilliant design that’s easy and fun to play.

Secondly, the downloadable content rules. Grant it, I haven’t looked that much into GH3’s available songs, but Rock Band’s library continues to grow. My most recent downloads have been Limelight and Working Man from Rush, Crushcrushcrush from Paramore, and the huge Boston song pack. These new songs bring so much replay value to the game it’s not even funny. Obviously they have all 4 playable parts in the songs, but you can opt to play the downloaded songs in the World Tour mode. So now, I can earn money for new looks and instruments by pretending I’m Geddy Lee.

Finally, the drums just rule. It’s a completely different experience than the lead/bass guitars, and there’s something truly enjoyable about banging pretend drums with real drumsticks. It’s also a huge challenge for me, even on Medium the songs are pretty difficult, especially since the bass pedal is a central component to most songs. It’s a game controller like no other, one you can beat senselessy and not feel bad about it.

If you’re not able to get it yourself, at least visit someone’s house that has it, I assure you that you’ll definitely feel like a rock star, at least for a few minutes. Heck, if they get the new lights and smoke set, all you’ll need are some serious clothes to match.

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