Rocking out with Rock Band: 2/5/08 DLC Reviewby Derek Wilson on February 5, 2008 4:25 AM EST
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As a musician, when I first learned about the popularity of games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band I was a little suspicious. I was curious, of course, but skeptical enough that I hadn't gone out of my way to give this new craze a shot. But the day of reckoning came, and I must say that I was shocked by how much I really love Rock Band.
I'll leave the philosophical discussions for another time, but the bottom line is that whether someone plays an instrument already or not, Rock Band is genuinely fun. Guitar Hero is nice too, but the ability to play with three friends, the inclusion of drums (my instrument of choice), and vocals really puts this one head and shoulders above anything else out there.
For the skeptics: believe me I never thought I would say this; Rock Band is worth the money. It's got replay value all over the place from increasing difficulty to trying other instruments to downloading new tracks to play. It's got solo and multiplayer capabilities that make it one of the best single player, online multiplayer and party games out there. Yes, the cost of the kit is high, but the potential value delivered is amazing.
I had heard that musicians love Rock Band, but I couldn't imagine why until I played it. It brings a whole new aspect to familiar songs, and it actually does help people learn and enhance key traits like limb independence and timing. Because you can't stop playing, it also hits on one of the major aspects of music from a performance perspective – no matter how much you screw up you have got to keep playing. I know quite a few musicians who are inclined to drop out or want to start over if they screw up, and this will kill a show faster than actually playing Freebird.
As a drummer, knowing how to play a song is both a good and a bad thing. It's difficult because if the arrangement you've learned and played for years is different than the original, you could have a tough time adjusting. It is just as hard not playing something you hear as it is playing something you haven't included in your personal arrangement. At the same time, knowing that something like STP's Vaseline is essentially based around a paradiddle between the kick and snare really helps beat the learning curve.
But, my experience aside, there are millions of copies of Rock Band out there. We whole heartedly recommend that anyone who enjoys music and video games take the plunge on this one. The game is big, and its content is expanding every week. New songs are added every Tuesday, and we will be starting a weekly series exploring these new additions. Along the way we will also try to dive deeper into the experience that is Rock Band, but in the meantime, this is the place to come in order to find out if the new songs released each week are worth downloading.