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Rock Band Impressions |



Rock Band is the most advanced, feature-complete, polished game in the music/rhythm genre. If you liked previous music/rhythm titles or want to try one out, this should be at the top of your list. I loved Harmonix’s earlier titles, Frquency/Amplitude and the Guitar Hero games, but this really does push the genre forward.

While this is definitely my favorite, no one game is for everyone, so I listed some alternatives as well.

Reasons Why Rock Band is the best in the Music/Rhythm Genre

  • High Quality Instrument Controllers. The guitar is much nicer than the GH1/GH2 controller. I haven’t tried out the GH3 controller yet. The mic is nice and the drums are extremely well done (leagues better than Taiko Drum Master)
  • Three instruments to choose from: Most music games focus on one instrument, this has three: guitar, drums, and vocals (four instruments if you count lead guitar and bass guitar separately).
  • Great music selection of rock, punk, metal, and alternative.
  • Excellent for group play. This game is good for solo play, but this really excels if you have a group of two to four people to play with. GH2 had a basic co-op mode, but that was more of a neat side option, while Rock Band really provides a complete group co-op experience. This works great with families.
  • Most polished presentation. The play-time interface, the intros and background graphics, the menus, the options, the fleshed out career mode, and the tutorials are all top notch. A big step up from GH2.
  • Coolest play time extras. Did you love “Star Power” from GH1/GH2? This game has a lot more of those types of extras: guitar solos, drumo solos, vocal freestyle sections, “big rock endings”, microphone percussion sections, and a few other extras like that really make the game fun.
  • Online features and ability to purchase songs.
  • Supposedly, you can learn to play real drums through the game if you play on expert difficulty. Very nice!!
  • Reasons Why You Might Be Happier With an Alternative

  • Rock Band is expensive. At $170, it’s the most expensive game you can get. You get your value with the high quality instruments, I’m personally happy with it, but many gamers simply don’t want to spend that kind of money.
  • Clutter. The instruments, particularly the drums, take up a lot of space. I know many people who couldn’t tolerate giant toys like this in their living rooms and this game is not for them.
  • Music Style. This game has a great selection of various styles of rock and rock-variants such as “alternative” and “metal”. However, if you want electronica, or more pop, or jazz, or hip-hop, or classical music, you won’t find that in this game.
  • Alternatives

  • Guitar Hero 3: Rock Band does solo-guitar play fairly well, but if that’s really your focus and you really aren’t interested in drums or singing, Guitar Hero is more designed for this mode of play.
  • SingStar: Rock Band does karaoke well, however SingStar offers a much wider range of music (R&B, electronica), provides authentic artist recordings (not impersonators as in Guitar Hero and Rock Band), real music videos, and is more designed around karaoke play.
  • Beats: A $5 download for the PSP. This music game lets you use your own music collection rather than having to use special songs made for the game.
  • Wish List

  • Piano (or keyboards). Ideally, you could plug-in real MIDI keyboards into the PS3’s USB ports. I’ve played Synthesia on the PC, but I want something a little bit more polished with a gentler learning curve.
  • Anyone else have any impressions of this title?

    • derrickgott007

      How do the drums feel?? Does it really feel like playing the drums?? I heard that if you practice on Hard long enough that you can transfer over to a real drum set and play. That is awesome.

    • I can say from lots of first hand experience that this game is hands down awesome. I played it for a few hours last night and it motivated me to spend money to get downloadable songs, something I would normally think twice about.

      I skipped guitar to begin with, mostly because mine has the strum issues, but I have also played through Guitar Hero 2 and 3 on hard and mostly on Expert, so the drums were key to me.

      So far I have beaten the main setlist for drums on medium and hard and am currently working on expert, although I think I may have some serious problems with it soon! 🙂 I like to think that I have gotten through them so quickly because I have drummed before (never professionally, just taught myself and incorporated some freestyle) but the truth is that some of these songs may be so relistic that it may be physically impossible to play them on the kit provided. I have contemplated DIYing a second bass pedal because of songs like Metallica’s “Blackened” and “Ride the lightning” as the only way I can get through them (in the case of “Blackened” not at all!) is by using both feet on one pedal!

      Simply put this game IS worth the money. The peripherals are very good for what you pay and with some tweaking even my unresponsive drum set became spot on. The fun you can get from this game is endless and it’s something that everyone should at least try!

      Unfortunately, I have to admit that I got it for the 360 due to the fact that I had GH 2 and 3 for 360 already, although there should be little differences between the versions.

    • Gibb

      What do you mean with “impersonated” songs? And do they differ much from the original?

    • Darrin

      Derrick, I think the drums are awesome. Yes, the learning to play real drums is really nice.

      coolcool, you’re already finished on hard and on expert? Wow!

      Gibb, the songs in Guitar Hero and Rock Band aren’t the real artist. All the songs are recorded with instruments separated and with other slight modifications to fit the game. For example, the Nirvana songs have a singer who tries to sound like Kurt Cobain, but it’s not the real Kurt Cobain singing. Most of the impersonators sound exactly like the real song (Kurt Cobain is actually one of the more obvious imitations). You can see the impersonators performing in the making of videos. They obviously have some really talented musicians making this game.

    • derrickgott007

      The easiest way to tell if the song in GH3 or Rockband is an actual master copy of the song (Some are) is to read the title…..If it says “Made famous by” that means its a re-creation of the song with a sound alike singer and band. THe reason they do that is because they need each instrument on its own track basically, that way if you don’t play your part, it doesn’t play it.

      If the song title says something like “Don’t fear the reaper- Blue Oyster Cult” than its the MASTER track recording, with all the instruments already broken out. When they record a master track for ANY song each instrument lays down its own tracks…some even multiple tracks of the same thing, such as 3 layers of guitar, or 3 layers of vocals (Called Overdubs). Then when all is said and done it is copyed to basically 1 track with all layers layed on it. That is what you hear when you buy a retail copy of the song.

      Thank you for attending Music Recording 101!

    • I am curently thinking of iporting this game to Switzerland out fo US. Any reasons why I should wait until Rockband is published in Europe?

    • I’m looking forward to finally playing this game myself. Unfortunately, I don’t have room for it until I complete my basement. So I hope my friend with a 360 gets it…

    • Darrin

      Much better answer, Derrick.

    • Nah, I got through hard but I’m not finished on Expert, Boston and The Who should give me a run for my money yet.

      I also DIYed my own Bass pedal to suppliment the original one with a block of wood a momentary switch and an old spare pedal I had laying around. This was mostly for the Metallica DLC songs. I can get through Ride the Lightning on Expert just fine (even with one pedal this was possible, but awkward) but I can’t even get the bass beat down on “Blackened” yet much less using double pedals.