Finally! I've been waiting for this game ever since it was announced - Rock Band was just released yesterday and it was well worth the wait. This will be a lengthy review so. Don't kill yourself. Yet.
What is Rock Band? In case you've been living under a rock, or... in a coma for the past year, in Rock Band you can play guitar, drums, bass, or take the mike in your own virtual band with friends over your house or across the country - you can also play solo.
Graphics: 4.75/5 Extremely underrated graphics. At first glance, Rock Band seems to just be an average looking 360 game, but after you play awhile, you will discover a lot of things. The audience looks very good, the movements your bandmates do look fantastic, and the venues and colors and just everything going on at once looks great. It's like a music video. There is only one real flaw, and that's that the background seems to always lag. I'm not sure if it's actually lagging at all, or I'm just having seizures from the flashing lights, but it is kind of weird looking.
Sound: 5/5 Although there are some "meh" tracks, you have to think about the other instruments. While some songs may be terrible on drums for instance, but is a lot of fun on guitar. The littlest thing is probably what makes the sound get a 5/5. The fact that the fans sing along when you're playing really well is just really cool and adds to the experience. While Rock Band may not have the best soundtrack out of all of Harmonix's games when playing solo, when you're playing with a group of friends this is byfar the best.
Control: 5/5 It's kind of confusing to rate a game like this's controls. You can't really rate the control of the mike. You sing... it's based on how accurate you are. But as for the drums and guitar, that's a lot different. The guitar basically controls the same ( See review of the Stratocaster below ) it's just that the note window ( the time you can hit the notes ) is reduced. While Harmonix says it's harder to hit notes in this game than in Guitar Hero II, I'm not too sure. It seems about the same. The drums on the other hand are fantastic. ( See review of the drums below ) Any difficulty you play on, it feels like you're playing drums.
Fun: 4.75/5 Rock Band is just about near perfect. You can play career on guitar, vocals, or drums. ( Sorry bass players. ) While those three things are a lot of fun, after you play them, replay value is a concern. Sure, there is a total of ( I believe ) 60 songs, but some of them you just won't want to play unless you're with (a) friend(s). Beating all the careers will take you either a long time, or only a few days, depending on how often you play. Rock Band is essentially endless if you think about it. There's a TON of character customization to say the least, and there is downloadable content, which is supposed to be released every week. Multiplayer with friends ( Ahem. Band World Tour. ) is fun, but there is just one terribly annoying thing about it, and that is the fact that you will find yourself playing the same songs several times over, as it takes what seems like forever to actually play some new songs. When you first start off it's really not that bad, but after you do play, say, "In Bloom" 5 times in an hour, it does get rather annoying. I think Harmonix actually did this on purpose so that people would immedietely buy downloadable content, to be honest with you. Overall, it's hard to give Rock Band a 5/5 rating. It's basically 3 games in one - Drum Hero, Guitar Hero, and Karaoke Revolution. But like I said, the songs will likely get old fast, and unless you buy downloadable content, you may be getting a little bored of this game. Is it worth the $170? It's hard to say. If you have a lot of parties, definitely, if you tend to play alone, maybe not, unless you really want to play the drums. ( Which I already stated are addicting. )
Stratocaster: 4/5 It's about time. All I read up about this guitar is that it was pretty much mediocre. It's not MEDIOCRE, but it isn't fantastic. There are a lot of things that make this different than the Guitar Hero II or even the Guitar Hero III controller. Out of the three, the Stratocaster easily looks the most realistic. It has a longer neck, a gloss finish ( Basically the same as the Les Paul GHIII controller. ) and a "wooden" neck. Instead of having 5 buttons on the fretboard, there are 10. Five in the normal spots on top of the neck, and an additional 5 and the base, which are there for solos, apparently. While it's a really neat idea, you likely won't ever use the new fret buttons unless you're going for the "end bonus" on a song. About the frets, they look much different than past controllers. While others have the frets sticking out of the neck, the ones on the Stratocaster are in the neck to make it more "realistic", says Harmonix. While it does look cool, it feels weird, and it's hard to jump back and forth with chords and the like, and even do some solos, because you can't feel the button you're on. That reminds me - the first, third, and fifth buttons all have dots on them that you can faintly see and feel while playing. There really is no need for them, as you can barely feel them, but they're there, so get used to it. The Stratocaster has a whammy bar, of course, but this time around it's a bit longer. The most useless thing about this guitar is the effects switch. With it, you can change the sound of notes in-game - or can you? While I can change the sound... the sound doesn't change, making the effects switch completely useless, and aggrivating. I found myself hitting it with my pinky several times while playing. This brings me to the final part of the Strat review - the strum bar. The worst thing about the guitar. It makes it feel broken. Instead of being a triangle shape like on the GHII and GHIII controllers, this one is concave, with a little lip at the top. It felt weird at first, and still feels weird now. My fingers constantly slip off of this thing, and the fact that the strumbar doesn't click when you strum, is aggrivating, probably only because I was used to it with past controllers - new comers may not have a problem with it. And FINALLY, the guitar bundled with the game is wired. Okay! So that's it for the review of the guitar..
Drums: 5/5 An obvious 5/5. The drums have 4 different "drums" to hit, and there is a foot pedal to make them feel more like real drums. The drums look kind of cheap, but don't at all. The drums are easy to assemble, too. While there are said to be problems with the kick pedal breaking, I've yet to experience any problems with it, besides the fact that it's extremely sensitive. The only thing I'm not sure of about these drums is how durable they are. Sure they can take a beating now, but how about a year from now?
Microphone: 5/5 It has to be a 5/5 for this thing... it's just a microphone. A cool looking one though. It's black with a chrome head. It also says Rock Band on it. What do you do with this microphone?! You sing into it, and bang it on something during certain parts of songs. Not really my thing, but if you're a singer, you'll like it.