Posted 3 years ago By - Zach R.
With the slew of music games that have come out in the past few years, it’s hard to believe that there’s anyone on the market left to cater to. Of course, leave it to Activision to find that hole, one last group who has yet to experience rocking out on fake plastic instruments. Yes, Band Hero has finally arrived, bringing with it a more casual appeal aimed at those few people who’ve yet to give the Guitar Hero franchise a shot.
If you’re one of the aforementioned people who’ve yet to experience a rhythm game, you’re getting into the genre at the right time. While the Guitar Hero franchise has been around a while now, the series has nailed everything just right in the past 2 games in that series. The only problem was, the games had a limited appeal, thanks to its focus on rock and metal, leaving the pop music/tween crowd out in the cold.
Of course, that’s changed with the introduction of Band Hero. While the GH series is all about fast and furious riffing/drumming/grunting, Band Hero tends to focus on casual, bubblegum filled fun. Instead of rocking out to "Run to the Hills" by Iron Maiden, Band Hero is the polar opposite, with the likes of Taylor Swift’s "Love Story" and the Jackson 5’s "ABC". In terms of track lists, the top 40 approach here is a solid set, but as with all music games, whether you like them or not will boil down to personal preference. If you’re wondering if the tracks found in the game will appeal to you, you can check out the full setlist here.
It should be noted that you’re definitely not getting the same value with Band Hero that you are with GH5. While GH included 85 songs, you’re only getting 65 here, which is disappointing, considering they’re priced the same. Of course, you can rip tracks from the two previous GH games, which will run you 600 Wii Points, but as there’s limitations in place, not the least of which have to do with the size of the Wii’s default memory (You can use an SD card if you’ve got one, but there isn’t one included with the game.)
The setup for Band Hero is almost identical to that of GH5. You still have the same note highways, and your character will still perform the songs with all the usual rockin’ animations. There’s a standard career mode, as well as the terrific multiplayer options. Song specific challenges are included here as well, such as hitting a certain number of notes, hitting every vocal phrase in a song, and so on.
The Career Mode itself is pretty much the same stripped down version that appeared in GH5. You’ll see your band get invited to numerous gigs, play the track, earn some stars and move on to the next gig. While the Career is a solid mode for serious rockers, it’s the other multiplayer options that really have the most appeal. Playing game modes like "Do or Die", or the Wii exclusives Mii Freestyle and Roadie Battle are what set Band Hero apart.
Roadie Battle has you using your DS to assist a band member by sabotaging their opponent. You spend your time pulling wires from amps, putting out fires on the note highway, all with the DS system. It’s a great gameplay option but again, not really new if you grabbed the latest GH offering 2 months ago. Mii Freestyle doesn’t add much aside from the ability to create a video and jam with your Mii’s, and feels a bit too complex for those looking to just pick up and play. You or a friend can also adjust your setlist with the DS if you feel so inclined, which is a nice touch.
Graphics & Sound
As this is pretty much GH5 with a whole lot of pink and purple, you can bet the game looks just fine. Character animations are the highlight, however, as you’ll likely be preoccupied with hitting the right notes, you won’t notice it nearly as much. Lighting effects, and on stage antics are lively and reflect the energy that performers usually would have on stage. The one area thats lacking visually is the crowd, but for the above reasons, most people won’t notice anyways.
The sound, as always, is excellent. I will offer no opinion on which songs are good/bad/ugly, as it alll comes down to personal preference, but I will say that the varied track list is a little surprising. Seeing Santogold on the same setlist as Papa Roach, and Taylor Swift beside Roy Orbison is definitely a surprising, though the variation is appreciated.
With 20 less tracks than GH5, it feels a little light on content. The Career mode is a bit short, and without other people to play with, you won’t be getting the most out of the experience. The ability to rip tracks on the Wii is great, but is limited by storage constraints, and fans of this game likely won’t want to wade through most of the content found in GH4 or 5 if they’ve already tried it.
Newcomers to the rhythm game genre will definitely find more to love about the game than those who’ve played the previous GH games. That’s because, essentially, GH fans have already played this game two months ago. If you are a GH5 owner, the track list will be the only deciding factor on whether you shell out good money for Band Hero, and I’m guessing the number of people who do that will be far smaller than the number of people who will pick this up as their first rhythm game.
The main problem with Band Hero is that there’s actually very little here to differentiate it from the rest of the Guitar Hero franchise. For a game that Activision have said they want to stand on its own, it just doesn’t seem to change the formula enough to make it appeal to people who haven’t played other games in the series. At least not yet, anyway. Really, this is just a gussied-up track pack for the casual market. That’s not to say that it isn’t a fun experience, it’s just certainly not a new one.
+ Excellent multiplayer.
+ Ability to rip tracks.
+ Roadie Battle & DS connectivity features are nice.
- Feels more like a track pack than a stand alone game.
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Release Date : 2009/11/03
System : Nintendo Wii
Publisher : Activision
Developer : Vicarious Visions
Category : Music,Tempo, Dance
ESRB : E
7.0 / 10
8.5 / 10
8.0 / 10
8.7 / 10