previews\ Aug 24, 2007 at 8:00 pm

Rock Band - PS3 - Preview 2

PAX 2007 Preview

Since it was first officially announced not even a year ago, Harmonix’s Rock Band has been on the lips of every single gamer who ever wished that they could strut their stuff on stage. Breaking the mold set by Guitar Hero, Rock Band goes one further by allowing you to form a cohesive band complete with a guitarist and bassist, drummer and lead singer. No doubt the single most popular game at this year’s Penny Arcade Expo, Harmonix’s booth for the game had a permanent crowd of fixated onlookers watching the booth’s stage to see people play through songs like Weezer’s “Say it Ain’t So” and David Bowie’s “Suffragette City”. Luckily, I was able to coerce my way onto the stage and actually get some hands on time with what is surely one of the most wanted games this upcoming fall.

First up, I had to know what the drum kit played like. The game will ship with real wooden drumsticks, the kind you’d find in any music store, but the drum kit itself takes some getting used to. Getting the hang of the layout and hitting the right combo is a bit tough unless you’ve played drums in the past, but Guitar Hero experts should be ready for a good schooling. I sat down for The Queens of the Stone Age’s “Go With the Flow”, and successfully had my ass handed to me in a matter of seconds. Luckily, my teammates were faring much better, and bailed me out of the hole after garnering up some combo points. However, I was soon down for the count yet again, a vicious cycle that would continue until the end of the song.

Welcome to my nightmare.

I knew I had to save face, so I asked if I could try again on guitar, so I played bass on Jet’s “Are You Gonna Be My Girl”. See, I wouldn’t consider myself out of place when it comes to rhythm games, specifically guitar games like Guitar Hero, where I can hold my own on Expert Mode. However, something about Rock Band, perhaps stage fright or the fear of the fame, money and women associated with being a rockstar, caused me to suck it up yet again on bass. After a thorough bout of shame, anger and embarrassment, Jet drew to a close and I gathered my shattered ego off the ground and walk off stage.

Still, even through the awkwardness of my first time playing Rock Band, I feel that I will own that game, in more ways than one. Even when it’s wiping the floor with you, the game is still extremely fun to play and just as addictive as its counterpart/rival Guitar Hero, if not more so. Much like the first time you failed “Cowboys from Hell” on Expert in the first Guitar Hero, Rock Band is the type of game that will make you want to win and better yourself.

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