Rock Revolution - WII - Preview
E3 2008 Preview
Few people know that Konami was the inventor of the music genre. They think it's Harmonix, who has been making music games for many years, and invented those little-known titles called Guitar Hero and Rock Band. It's understandable that people would have that misconception, but truth be told, Konami had Guitar Freaks, Drum Mania, and other music games several years prior to Harmonix's popular creations. And now, after years of wondering, "Will they or won't they?" Konami is finally back in the music game with Rock Revolution.
First things first: this is NOT a guitar game. It can use the Guitar Hero peripherals for bass and guitar gaming. But the Rock Revolution disc won't come packaged with anything but a drum kit. This unusual development is Konami's way of trying to capture the other market, a market they believe has not yet been satisfied by Rock Band.
The game plays exactly like Konami's previous music titles. Instead of a 3D display where the on-screen notes fly toward the player, these notes move from top to bottom. Hit the drum pads in-synch with the icons as they scroll by and you'll start to play the song. "Somebody Told Me" by The Killers and "All The Small Things" by Blink-182 were among the featured tracks. Just like the Karaoke Revolution series, the majority of Rock Revolution's music will not be taken directly from the artists. Konami has opted to license several covers instead -- a move that'll save some cash and music industry stress (some artists don't appreciate the value of video games and may be reluctant) but could hurt with gamers who are determined to have the real versions of their favorite tracks. But for gamers just seeking fun, Rock Revolution should deliver the goods.
Since the game uses Guitar Hero's popular guitar controllers, you won't have any trouble strumming along with each song. The drum kit is where the new challenge comes in, as its layout is very different from that of Rock Band. Right now the kit has one thing going for it and another going against it: the layout is great and easy to learn, but the position of the drums is slightly off. I found myself hitting the rims of the drums several times per song. When this happens, it makes a horrible clack sound and doesn't register with the game because you didn't actually hit the drum. This became less of a problem with each passing minute, but is still something the developers should address before the game ships in the fall.
With only a drum kit ready for the package, Rock Revolution won't be nearly as expensive as Rock Band. Its final price has yet to be announced, but if the Japanese versions of Guitar Freaks and Drum Mania are any indication, it should retail for less than $100.
The DS version will be a bit lower, as it doesn't need to include any peripherals to get the job done. Using the touch screen, players can play the drums (tap the on-screen drum kit as various drum symbols scroll across the screen); guitar (scratch up and down as arrows approach the center of the guitar image); bass (similar to guitar but with multiple strings to hit); and sing (a scaled-down, super-simplistic version of Karaoke Revolution that uses the DS's built-in microphone).
If these features sound good, then get in line: the Rock Revolution awaits.