Band Hero review
December 6, 2009 Leave a comment
All the way back in, er, September, Esoteric wrote about The Beatles: Rock Band. So now that Band Hero has been released I thought I’d give you an overview of that.
The newest instalment in Activision’s Guitar Hero series (They’ve owned it since Guitar Hero 3, when Harmonix went off to make Rock Band), Band Hero is a spin-off with a focus on multiplayer, and allows the game to behave more like the Rock Band series.
The big difference between this game and early games in either franchise is the song list. Whereas the other games have mostly rock tracks with some metal and punk, Band Hero takes it’s music from ‘mainstream acts’. This means that Band Hero is filled with pop and pop rock. Examples of the sort of songs you can expect are ‘Love Story’ by Taylor Swift, ‘Beautiful Soul’ by Jesse McCartney and ‘Wannabe’ by the Spice Girls.
Still, even with tracks which don’t fit into my regular listening, I found that the songs were well chosen and varied enough that there were songs I could still enjoy, such as Don McLean’s ‘American Pie’, Evanescence’s ‘Bring Me To Life’ and 3 Doors Down’s ‘When I’m Gone’. AND it has ‘Kung Fu Fighting’ by Carl Douglas, which is awesome (Though not as awesome as Lego Rock Band’s Kung Fu Fighting and Ghostbusters). So, with comparison to, say, Guitar Hero 3, there is probably a similar proportion of songs that will be liked as opposed to those that won’t. There’s just more songs that will be outright hated by many fans of the Guitar Hero franchise.
I would talk about the gameplay, but I think it’s safe to say that if you’re reading this post, you’re already familiar with how these games work. New features for band play however, include the same functionality as Guitar Hero 5, which is the ability to allow band members who have failed to return to the song provided other band members do well enough in a short period of time. There are a number of multiplayer modes, most of which seem superfluous and unnecessary. Most players will probably just stick with Quickplay, and for good reason. Quickplay, in multiplayer, is a hell of a lot of fun. Career mode is the standard fare, but of course has greater emphasis on using the different instruments or playing with others, in the form of challenges for particular players.
This brings me to the instruments themselves. Here in Australia, the Band Hero bundle was released with the new instruments. At the moment, the same is not true for those in the States. The instruments won’t be available there for a while. The guitar is simply a new design, and it looks okay. World Tour’s guitar was probably better. The microphone annoyed me, due to it requiring a wii remote as well, instead of having buttons built into it. Also, I should mention that the new Karaoke setting for singers makes the lyrics much easier to read and sing along with.
The drum kit, pictured above, is the biggest change in peripherals. The drums have been redesigned based on complaints made about the World Tour drum kit. I never got a chance to play on that kit myself, but I definitely like the look of the new kit better, due to the circular symbols instead of the weird triangles. The kit, including the pedal, is very sturdy and I don’t foresee any problems with it in the future, and it works well, with a good amount of bounce when you hit the pads. All in all, the drum kit is great. Except it also requires a wii remote for us Nintendo players. Personally, I would have preferred the drum kit to be wired rather than using the wii remote for wirelessness. It’s not like you move around a lot while playing the drums, and at least the guitar peripherals use the motion sensing of the remotes as well as the wireless capabilities.
In conclusion, the game is surprisingly a solid entry into the series. I had personally bought the bundle purely for the instruments to use with Guitar Hero: Metallica, but have found the Band Hero game to be not only tolerable, but fun.