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Band Hero PS3 Review - -

Gameplay 9.0
Graphics 8.8
Sound 10
Value 9.1
Distributor: Activision
Review Date:
December 2009
James Wright



Following the hot trail of Guitar Hero 5 comes Band Hero, Activision's latest music extravaganza that turns the humble gamer into a fully fledged rock star with personalized band to boot. Although in essence, the game is virtually a slightly different incarnation of Guitar Hero 5, the biggest different with Band Hero is probably the track listing which features singers and bands such as Taylor Swift and Culture Club which are more poppy than some of the more hardcore and alternative tracks of the aforementioned title. Even so, the game still contains some harder tracks such as The All American Rejects and classics like Devo's Whip It!

The gameplay of Band Hero is basically a virtual band with a healthy dose of karaoke thrown in for good measures. Whether you're playing the drums, lead, bass or vocals, this is the definitive party game. Although for instruments, you need to match the colours with those on your instruments which does become tricky for faster songs or higher difficulty levels. You also have some new mini-games and also fun powerups such as star power which is activated by putting your Guitars in the air or if you're on a microphone, you need to push a button on the controller. In terms of the songs, they are a little slower than Guitar Hero 5 so pulling off those perfect scores is a lot easier.

As all the game mechanics have come across from Guitar Hero 5, Band Hero is the perfect jumping point for those who have not played the franchise before or gamers still stuck with previous incarnations of the Guitar Hero franchise. I must admit that Activision really perfected the gameplay in the Guitar Hero 5 but for us, the biggest change to the franchise is the inclusion of Party Mode which was also available in Guitar Hero 5 but basically other players can join in without interrupting the song.

If you don't own the instruments, you can purchase a bundle that contains the guitar, drum bit and microphones, however the game is compatible with previous Guitar Hero games so the game can still be purchased separately. We were lucky enough to review the entire set and I must admit that the guitar and drums feel a tad sturdy than previously.

Best of all, you're not just limited to a certain range of instruments and the game offers you a considerable more amount of freedom than previous games. Even better is the ability to change and tweak the song as you play which does offer some great party game moments and is perfect for people who have never held a plastic guitar or microphone.

Another interesting feature of multiplayer is that the game is considerably more lenient towards bad players and although in previous games, one player could see the end the song, however now a new crowd meter appears and if everyone else has their groove, this will ensure that the song does not end prematurely! Very cool.

Band Hero offers a variety of different gameplay modes such as Quick play, Career Mode and lots of online fun. I'm still amazed how some online players are so fast with their guitars. Quickplay also access the online Leaderboards and is great for knocking up those perfect scores when you're competing for one of those elusive spots. Career Mode is reminiscent of previous games that slowly unlocks new songs, characters, venues and new items to purchase for your rockin' gaming avatars.

Also added are new in-game challenges that must be performed at certain times in the song which does add some twists of the gameplay to the title. The creation system of Band Hero is also quite fun, however if you don't want to use your own creation, you can use one of the pre-generated characters and even some real-world rockers. Needless to say, it's fun to use this feature to create your own goofy and cool looking band members. If you're feeling up to, why not create your own tracks with the editor, however a little bit of patience is needed to master this feature but it's definitely something to try.

Graphically, the title is similar to Guitar Hero 5 and it looks quite decent on the PS3, even though the cartoony graphics sometimes look a little out of place. The visuals and special effects are great and the characters move and sing with a human-like eeriness to them. The crowds look a little better as well. Of course the best part of this game are the gaming versions of the various artists such as Taylor Swift or the super hot Gwen Stefani and they really look like their real-world counterparts, albeit in a cartoon way.

Once again the star of Band Hero is the great track listing that features 65 licensed tracks. Bands such as No Doubt  and Maroon 5 will help gamers rock as they recreate these impressive songs. The only issue that we did find about the music is that some words have been removed from certain tracks.  In reference to the karaoke part of Band Hero, although it's good, it's still yet to reach the penultimate Singstar.

In relation to Guitar Hero 5, Band Hero unfortunately features 20 less songs than that game but the beauty of Band Hero is that it contains a plethora of great songs by female vocalists, once again cementing it's place as a pop game. Let's check out the band listing below;

- 3 Doors Down  - “When I'm Gone”

- The Airborne Toxic Event - “Gasoline”

- The All American Rejects - “Dirty Little Secret”

- Alphabeat - “Fascination”

- Aly and AJ - “Like Whoa”

- Angels & Airwaves - “The Adventure”

- Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals  - “Steal My Kisses “

- Big Country - “In a Big Country”

- The Bravery - “Believe”

- Carl Douglas - “Kung Fu Fighting”

- Cheap Trick - “I Want You To Want Me (live)”

- Cold War Kids - “Hang Me Up To Dry”

- Corinne Bailey Rae - “Put Your Records On”

- Counting Crows - “Angels of the Silences”

- Culture Club - “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me”

- Dashboard Confessional - “Hands Down”

- David Bowie - “Let's Dance”

- Devo  - “Whip It”

- Don McLean - “American Pie”

- Duffy - “Warwick Avenue”

- Duran Duran - “Rio”

- Evanescence - “Bring Me To Life”

- Everclear  - “Santa Monica (Watch The World Die)”

- Fall Out Boy  - “Sugar, We're Goin' Down”

- Filter - “Take A Picture”

- Finger Eleven - “Paralyzer”

- The Go-Go's - “Our Lips Are Sealed”

- Hilary Duff - “So Yesterday”

- Hinder - “Lips Of An Angel”

- Jackson 5 - “ABC”

- Janet Jackson - “Black Cat”

- Jesse McCartney - “Beautiful Soul”

- Joan Jett - “Bad Reputation”

- Joss Stone - “You Had Me”

- Katrina and The Waves - “Walking On Sunshine”

- The Kooks - “Naïve”

- KT Tunstall - “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree”

- The Last Goodnight - “Pictures Of You”

- Lily Allen - “Take What You Take”

- Maroon 5 - “She Will Be Loved”

- Marvin Gaye - “I Heard It Through The Grapevine”

- Mighty Mighty Bosstones - “The Impression That I Get”

- Nelly Furtado - “Turn Off The Light”

- N.E.R.D. - “Rockstar”

- No Doubt - “Just A Girl”

- No Doubt - “Don't Speak”

- OK Go - “A Million Ways”

- Papa Roach - “Lifeline”

- Parachute - “Back Again”

- Pat Benatar - “Love Is A Battlefield”

- Poison - “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”

- Robbie Williams and Kylie Minogue - “Kids”

- The Rolling Stones - “Honky Tonk Women”

- Roy Orbison - “Oh Pretty Woman”

- Santigold - “L.E.S. Artistes”

- Snow Patrol - “Take Back the City”

- Spice Girls - “Wannabe”

- Styx  - “Mr. Roboto”

- Taylor Swift - “Love Story”

- Taylor Swift - “Picture To Burn”

- Taylor Swift - “You Belong With Me”

- Tonic - “If You Could Only See”

- The Turtles - “Happy Together”

- Village People - “YMCA”

- Yellowcard  - “Ocean Avenue”

If you missed out on the Guitar Hero craze, than I would recommend that you check out Band Hero as it is a nice introduction into this franchise. With sturdier instruments, a great track listing and some new tweaks and twists to the gameplay, Band Hero is a great game for solo or parties and with the inclusion of celebrity avatars and improved customization features, this game is everything you need to enjoy and start your own virtual band. <cue guitar solo>


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