Band Hero - Game Only

Get Ready To Rock With A Wider Audience
by Jeff Cork on Oct 08, 2009 at 03:06 PM
Platform PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii
Publisher Activision
Developer Activision
Rating Everyone 10+

It’s certainly been a busy year for Guitar Hero. With the releases of Guitar Hero: Metallica, Guitar Hero Smash Hits, Guitar Hero: Van Halen, Guitar Hero Mobile, Guitar Hero Arcade, Guitar Hero on Tour: Modern Hits, and Guitar Hero 5 all in 2009, it’s easy to forget about Band Hero. Sure, its focus on more pop-oriented tracks by artists such as Taylor Swift and Jackson 5 is bound to put off some of the more hardcore shredders out there. But players who are more interested in keeping a party moving than worrying about upsetting the Scorehero crowd have a lot to look forward to with Band Hero. It’s filled with fun, recognizable tunes that just about everyone will know by heart.

We got a locked build of the game in the office and played through as much of it as we could. Even though much of its content was blocked off, it gave a good sense of what we can expect to see from the complete game. The 11 venues in the build took us from our humble beginnings at a mall-based talent show to an encore that takes place in some kind of outer space freakout – with plenty of stops between in places like France, Spain, and Japan.

The career mode is based on Guitar Hero 5’s with all of the features that entails. The title screen serves as a gateway to Party Mode, playing through complete songs automatically until a player presses start and jumps into the action. A new Sing-Along mode strips the points from the game, encouraging people to grab the nearest mic and belt their hearts out – without worrying about failing.

Aside from the new songs and updated interface (think neon, not rawk patches), the biggest formula tweak in Band Hero is with its stage choreography. Previous games have improved on lip-synching and matching animations with the music, but Band Hero takes that a step further. When the opening sounds of Carl Douglas’ “Kung Fu Fighting” start, the lead singer’s head slowly creeps into view like a ninja. As they sing, their movement is punctuated with karate chops and other silly moves. And while series stalwart Axel Steel isn’t likely to be confused with the late Michael Jackson, he does have some fresh moves at his disposal. (Maybe that’s a side effect of Steel’s trendy new makeover.)

Ultimately, a lot of Band Hero is more of the same, which is good news. If you like the setlist and you liked Guitar Hero 5, it’s not too much of a stretch to say you’ll probably like Band Hero. If the thought of backing up Maroon 5’s Adam Levine or jamming along with No Doubt makes you want to hop off the closest bridge, you’ll be best served staying far, far from it. If you hate having fun, that is.

Here’s what we played, from the complete setlist of 65 songs:

3 Doors Down    “When I’m Gone”
The Bravery    “Believe”
Cheap Trick    “I Want You to Want Me (Live)”
Carl Douglas    “Kung Fu Fighting”
Evanescence    “Bring me to Life”
Everclear    “Santa Monica”
Finger Eleven    “Paralyzer”
Hinder    “Lips of an Angel”
Jackson 5    “ABC”
Janet Jackson    “Black Cat”
Maroon 5    “She Will be Loved”
Don McLean    “American Pie”
Mighty Mighty Bosstones    “The Impression that I Get”
N.E.R.D.    “Rock Star”
No Doubt    “Just a Girl”
Roy Orbison    “Oh, Pretty Woman”
Styx    “Mr. Roboto”
Taylor Swift    “Love Story”
Tonic    “If You Could Only See”
Yellowcard    “Ocean Avenue”

Products In This Article

Band Hero - Game Onlycover

Band Hero - Game Only

PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii
Release Date: