Just when you thought you’d gotten your rhythm game fix with “Beatles Rock Band” and “Guitar Hero 5,” comes “Band Hero,” from Activision, a game that differentiates itself by being much more pop-oriented, featuring songs from Taylor Swift, Dashboard Confessional and Duffy, among many others.
Set to be released on November 6, the game is currently available for demo download on the Xbox 360 demo marketplace. The demo features three songs, Finger Eleven’s “Paralyzer,” Katrina & The Waves’ “Walking on Sunshine” and Taylor Swift’s “Picture to Burn.” It also includes the all-new Sing-Along mode and Party Play, which allows players to jump in and out of the action at any time, giving it an arcade-like and fast-paced feel.
Quite different from the simulation-esque feel of many other music games.
Is it enough though?
While the three songs picked aren’t the best on the setlist, they do a solid job of showing what the game is capable of. “Paralyzer” is a song that has a great vocal track and a nice combination of guitar, bass and drums. “Walking on Sunshine,” is a classic pop track that is just a blast to play, while Swift’s “Picture to Burn” will finally get the ladies in on the action.
Because of all of this, the demo is a more than solid way of tasting the flavor of the game.
Nonetheless, looking at the complete tracklist, which consists of classics like Carl Douglas’ “Kung Fu Fighting” and lesser-known tracks such as Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals’“Steal My Kisses,” there’s not enough to fully quench the appetite of most hardcore rhythm gamers. Many of the songs featured in the game also appear in other karaoke games for other systems, making them feel old and rehashed. Luckily, however, you can import songs from “Guitar Hero World Tour” and “Guitar Hero 5” and get your fix that way. Overall, even in spite of the import song feature, many of the songs don’t cater to the full band audience the same way “Rock Band” does.
Nevertheless, there’s enough to make it a more than solid rhythm game, just not the great one many are waiting for.
Making up for the lack of songs out of the box are the game’s graphics, which are stunning. The animations for the musicians are realistic and fluid, lending to the game’s authentic feel. Without a doubt, “Band Hero” is one of the best-looking music games to ever be created and again, give the game a better feel than the other offerings on the scene right now.
Nevertheless, the lack of eclectic songs alone hurts all the other strong elements of the title. Perhaps after a few months of additional downloads will change this, but as of right now, “Band Hero” seems to offer a solid walk on the clouds, than a stroll in the park on a sunny day.