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Band Hero - 360 - Review


Posted by: jkdmedia

Review Rating 8.1 Great
Your Score

Every publisher wants to create a hit franchise that will enable them to come out with the "same game" each year, but constantly add new features that makes it better than previous versions. The Madden franchise is a prime example of this. The latest games to receive this treatment is the Guitar Hero franchise. Hoping to create a spinoff of these games, Activision created Band Hero and it features more of the pop-genre than rock. This effort is geared to cater to more of a family-style of Guitar Hero. Even though this game delivers in many areas it fails only in one: the game-play does not offer anything different than what gamers received when Guitar Hero 5 was released. The only obvious area of change would of course be in song choice.

Just like Guitar Hero, Band Hero has numerous game modes that will keep players entertained for months on end. There is the Career Mode, Quickplay, Party Play, Competitive, GH Studio, and Sing-Along. The Career mode is really one of the most disappointing modes in this game. Just like in Guitar Hero 5, players will start in a venue, then as they get more stars different venues will open up to play, and the cycle repeats until players have done it all. Many people will agree that it is much better to start at rock bottom, playing "crummy" little gigs and work their way up to super stardom. Instead players are left with a lifeless career mode that can be easily beaten on a long afternoon.

Quick Play allows you to get all of the game's songs and just rock out with your friends. You can use any combination of the four instruments, plus play this mode online as well as offline with friends. Party Play is a really fun mode to play with friends and people new to the franchise. It allows you to drop in or out at any time during a song, and there is no possibility of failing out during a song. In competitive mode you will be able to play with up to eight people online (or four on just one machine) to see who is the best at various challenges. The challenges range from elimination, perfection, or even seeing who can get the longest streak of notes.

GH Studio still allows players to use the various instruments to create their own songs, and you can even publish the songs online so others can download and play them. Even though this mode was available in last year's Guitar Hero game, it is much easier to use and create songs. Sing-Along is a mode that is new to Band Hero, and it basically turns the game into a Karaoke machine. This allows you to sing along with various songs, and no points are recorded nor will the game fail out. It is a nice addition, but having this one mode alone doesn't make this game stand out from Guitar Hero's giant shadow.

Band Hero has a track list of 65 songs.  This may sound like a lot but when you compare the track list with Guitar Hero 5, which was released two months prior with 85 songs, this game comes up a little short.

One of the more puzzling aspects of Band Hero is the censoring of the game's lyrics. Many of the songs have been censored such as removing the word "whisky" from a line in the song American Pie. This would have been ok, but some of the songs included in this game talk about underage sex as well as other things. It is understandable for the developers wanting to achieve a more family friendly rating, but at the cost of censoring a song is a bit extreme, especially to those familiar with the songs and singing them.

To keep in line with the "pop" atmosphere, the game contains very bright colors that outline the various environments that players will be performing in. Having this really helps make this game stand out from Guitar Hero's shadow, because it makes it feel more "popish". The various character models still look cartoony, but there is enough change of clothes and adjustments that can be done in the create-a-character mode that will make most gamers happy. It is also a treat to use an Xbox Live avatar to rock out. The animations are also spot on and look great in action.

The soundtrack is also really good, but of course in order to enjoy this soundtrack you will have to love the type of music that is used. Players will love jamming out and playing many of the Top 40 songs that have been on the billboard chart at one time or another over the past 30+ years. The sound effects are also nicely done and fit really well with the game's atmosphere.

Band Hero is rated for Everyone 10+.

Review Scoring Details for Game Name

Gameplay: 8.0
Band Hero is a blast to play and it has plenty of game modes for players to dive into. The issue is that it contains the exact same game modes as it's big brother Guitar Hero, with little or no difference.

Graphics: 8.0
The graphics are bright and colorful. The animations are also spot on, which is what one would expect from the developers of Guitar Hero.

Sound: 8.5
The music is really good, but like all musical games it will appeal to some and turn off others.

Difficulty:  Medium
Just like all musical based games, several of the songs really do not offer that much of a challenge, even after upping the difficulty mode. Other songs will really make you work for your score as they are extremely challenging.

Concept: 6.5
You will love the fact that you will get to "rock out" with various pop bands instead of the more rock bands that Guitar Hero has. The bad thing is that this game lacks anything (game modes in particular) to make it step out from the shadows of its more popular and well known "big brother."

Multiplayer: 9.0
Like all other games in the "hero" franchise, this game is a blast to play with other friends, via on the same console or even online. There are a lot of different game modes to keep everyone entertained for hours on end.

Overall: 8.1
Band Hero is a really great game, fans of the pop genre will love every song that was included in it. The only issue is that it is practically a clone of Guitar Hero 5 that was released two months ago with no real differences other than the songs included. It is obvious that Activision wants to start another franchise with this game, and hopefully the next version will actually have differences than feel like a "track pack". Other then this complaint, you and your friends will have a blast with Band Hero for months on end.

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