The Final Countdown: BandFuse: Rock Legends

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Rhythm gaming has seen a noticeable shift over the course of the last few years. The genre was once heralded as the ultimate party gaming experience with titles like Guitar Hero and Rock Band, which allowed players to jam out with some fake plastic instruments and feel like total rockstars. Since those glory days, music games have gone in a more educational direction. That's not to say that rock 'n' roll games are some form of edutainment (because no one wants that), but as indicated by releases like Rocksmith, these games have quickly become tools for teaching would-be guitarists some major lessons in rocking out.

That's where BandFuse: Rock Legends comes in. The latest in the learn-how-to-play-guitar genre, this game comes fully featured with a variety of hit songs from some of rock's biggest names. To top it off, you've also got pointers from the legends themselves, which makes the art of learning how to play the guitar even more engaging and authentic.

So let's run down the list of features that BandFuse has to offer on this latest edition of The Final Countdown.

This ain't no plastic instrument game

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Gone are the days of five colored buttons and a strum bar. BandFuse is all about teaching you some real guitar playing, son! Perhaps those other games were good for get you started, sparking some interest, and leading you in the right direction. If that's the case, this upcoming game is the next major step, and arguably the biggest step as far as learning how to actually play guitar.

Hey, I'm not knocking Guitar Hero or Rock Band. In fact, I love those games, and I remember many get-togethers, hang-outs, and birthday celebrations where I broke out the plastic instruments and had fake concerts in my living room with my pals. BandFuse isn't necessarily about rejecting good ol' fake instrument gameplay; it's about getting to know a real guitar and all of her sexy curves, and then playing the hell out of her and being damn good at it!

Hey, you can still play with your buddies

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BandFuse may not offer the exact same type of experience that Rock Band did all of those years ago, but it's still going to let you get together with some friends and jam. Up to four players can get together and take on guitars, bass, and vocals cohesively. If you're playing with first-timers, adjustable difficulty settings will ensure that the experience isn't too tough for any one player.

Tips from the pros

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One of the major perks of BandFuse is that you're not just left to fend for yourself. No, you've got help from the masters of rock. Slash, Bootsy Collins, and Mike Ness are just three of the stars that appear in the game ready to unleash their massive rock wisdom onto you. The roster of artists spans multiple genres, so you know you'll get a variety of tips, and you may even get some inspiration, too.

The latest luminary to join up with the long list of music legends in BandFuse is Alexi “Wildchild” Laiho. Fans of metal band Children of Bodom will instantly be familiar with the musician, and if you're pursuing your dreams of being a harder kind of rocker, you'd do well to listen to the wise words of Mr. Laiho. Or Mr. Wildchild. To be honest, both of those names sound pretty rad.

Learn how to play at your pace

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As if having some of the biggest names in rock dish out tips and play the role of your mentors wasn't already helpful, BandFuse lets you learn how to play the guitar at your pace. Picking up an instrument isn't easy, and it takes time to get the hang of things. If you want to get good, you're going to have to spend some serious hours practicing and improving your craft. Even the greatest guitarists of all time needed patience and tenacity to get where they are today.

Thankfully, BandFuse gives you plenty of options to get the gist of things. The aforementioned multiple difficulty settings will let you build up your skills gradually, and you'll eventually be able to increase the challenge and get much better. In addition, you can slow songs down and practice that way, learning chords and notes, and just getting progressively more badass at playing.

A track list that spans several decades

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Probably the coolest thing about BandFuse is that it doesn't restrict itself (or you, for that matter) to any single genre or era. The music in the game spans multiple decades, from the 1960s all the way to the 2000s. Music aficionados are likely to appreciate the vast variety of rock anthems that are showcased throughout the game, and with 55 songs to choose from, there's bound to be something for everyone.

Aside from the heavier tracks like “Cult of Personality” by Living Colour, “I'm Broken” by Pantera, and “Drain the Blood” by The Distillers, there are also some more easygoing songs like “All the Small Things” by Blink-182 and “Yellow” by Coldplay. Of course, if you'd rather go in a melodically weirder direction, “Float On” by Modest Mouse and “Been Caught Stealing” by Jane's Addiction are sure to meet your offbeat tastes. Then there are songs like “Reptilia” by The Strokes and “Woman” by Wolfmother, which harken back to an older style of rock while remaining modern hits.


BandFuse is set to drop this Tuesday, November 19 on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Aside from teaching you how to play guitar, the inclusion of vocals could make this game a fine choice for parties, too. If you're looking to jump into the world of guitar playing, this title may very well be a highly effective tool in ensuring that you get there with the help of some pros and a list of iconic songs that transcend several genres and generations.

Want to talk about indie games, Kirby, or cheap pizza? Follow me on Twitter @dr_davidsanchez.

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