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Adam Ghiggino
02 Dec, 2009

Band Hero Review

PS3 Review | While you read, play along with Review Hero.
Band Hero is the sixth member of the Guitar Hero family to be released this year, joining its brethren Guitar Hero Metallica, Guitar Hero Smash Hits, Guitar Hero On Tour: Modern Hits, DJ Hero and Guitar Hero 5 and soon to be joined by Guitar Hero Van Halen. That's a lot of Hero flooding the market, so what makes Band Hero different to all those other entries? After all, you do play in a band in most of those other games. Well, here we have a title that, like its fellow Lego Rock Band, is aimed at a different audience - if not children, then perhaps people who enjoy light-hearted pop music like Taylor Swift and Spice Girls. Which may be you, but it's still a step away from the rock and metal that the series has made its name on. So does the change in genre make for a refreshing instalment, or is this simply a paint-job on a tiring series?

As mentioned, this is a pop music compilation, and you get 65 songs from the last thirty years or so of the genre. To the game's credit there's a real mix of music here, so while you do get Taylor Swift and The Last Goodnight, some Roy Orbison and Jackson 5 are thrown in. Your enjoyment of this title will most likely entirely hinge on how much you like this track list, and for us... we actually don't think it's too bad. There's a bunch of recent popular hits that have been cycling on the radio infinitely, but there's also some classics like 'Kung Fu Fighting', 'Honky Tonk Women' and 'Happy Together' mixed in - songs which were probably too light fare for the main Guitar Hero series, but feel well at home here. There are some strange edits, such as the word 'gun' has been omitted from 'Pictures of You', that don't really affect the music that much but just seem odd.

Sup, dawgs.

Sup, dawgs.
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Band Hero is also the first game since Guitar Hero World Tour to come in a full band pack, with guitar, drums and microphone. Of these, the only instrument which has changed are the drums, which have had adjustments made to combat the criticisms of the World Tour set. The cymbals are more circular than the last set, giving the drums a more Rock Band feel, as does the the bar connecting the two legs of the stand, which has been lowered so the kick pedal is now supported by it. Finally, the sensitivity of the drums has been adjusted after a tidal wave of complaints from World Tour. Unfortunately, we haven't been able to put these new drums to the test ourselves, but Activision appear to have been listening to the feedback they've received and improving their instruments accordingly which is never a bad thing.

Looking now at gameplay, Band Hero is Guitar Hero 5. The progression in the Career Mode is the same, the short animated cutscenes you get at the start of every venue, the way when you start up the game it instantly starts a song you can just 'jump' into, the GHStudio for making music, it's all the same. You can have up to four players at any time, and they don't have to just fit the standard roles of a band, with one person for guitar, bass, mic and drums - you can have up to four players on the same instrument. While this takes away from feeling as though you're part of a real band, it does add a feeling of being able to just 'pick up and play' at a party, which is another setting this game is obviously aimed at. Players can jump in and out at any time, and choose whatever difficulty they like, which is very useful.

Four highways of Dashboard Confessional.

Four highways of Dashboard Confessional.
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How about if you're a Guitar Hero veteren looking to test your mettle in a new barrage of blue and orange notes flying past you faster than the eye can see? Yeah, this isn't the game for you. Most of these songs, while popular, are not going to tax your fingers as much as, say, Guitar Hero Metallica. On the bright side, gamers who've been casually playing Guitar Hero for a while may be able to just jump straight into expert mode without much of a problem. On lower difficulties, the highways can sometimes seem sparse, with boring progressions and repetitive sections. For the casual crowd, who'll be happy just to hit a few notes before the end of the song, this is fine, but it's a little disappointing for the rest of us.

The game also comes with modes such as 'Sing Along' which allows up to four players to sing through songs karaoke-style, without having to worry about drums, guitars, or even points. It's not scored, and you can't fail while playing it, so it's not so much of a game as it is a low-grade karaoke machine, but that's just what some groups of teenage girls might be after so it's a reasonable inclusion. You can import your DLC from World Tour and 5 as well, although the game ominously stipulates that there are some exclusions. On Xbox 360 and Wii, you can use your Avatar or Mii in-game, which is a fun inclusion. We were going to say that they do look a fair bit worse than the characters in Band Hero, but they've all been redesigned for the emo/punk rock crowd. Oh, Clive Winston, what have they done to you?

It's so... pink.

It's so... pink.
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The game's presentation is something of a mixed bag. It's all pinks and purples, so obviously aimed at girls, and the game's main menu is pretty spartan with its layout, although it does make getting to the songs fairly easy. During the songs, your band is pretty well rendered, and the animations for all the members are very high quality. The lead singer's syncing is very well done most of the time, and there are some amusing little crazy flourishes such as the singer's slow rise at the start of 'Kung Fu Fighting'. The stages are colourful and vibrant, but the crowd is just a collection of sprites yet again. The audio quality is also great. Overall though, it feels like a paint-job over Guitar Hero 5.

Band Hero is not a challenging entry in the series, nor is it one that is going to be enjoyed by the hardcore members of its fanbase. It's aimed at the teenage crowd who play Guitar Hero at parties, and they'll most likely enjoy this new entry. With a lighter track-list, vibrant visuals and mechanics such as the 'Sing Along', it's a young casual gamer's game, and it's a sensible extension of the Guitar Hero brand. After seeing the track-list, most of you will have already decided whether you're picking this one up or not, and if you are rest assured that it's a pretty good game, if not the most challenging or original.
The Score
Band Hero is essentially just Guitar Hero 5 re-skinned and with a new track-list, but it's still an enjoyable game best enjoyed by its target teenage audience.
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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19 Comments
4 years ago
Pretty solid review right here... Actually, anyone remember Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks The 80s? This is that, mark II I think.

Still, dunno what would be a more worthy investment, either this, Lego Rock Band or just say screw it to the whole thing.
4 years ago
I've never played Guitar Hero. If I was to get into it as a newbie, which version should I buy?
4 years ago
Chrono Blue wrote
I've never played Guitar Hero. If I was to get into it as a newbie, which version should I buy?
I'd say whichever has more songs you like. Playing your favourire songs is what will keep you coming back.
4 years ago
Chrono Blue wrote
I've never played Guitar Hero. If I was to get into it as a newbie, which version should I buy?
Rock Band.
4 years ago
Really? I am not interested in singing or drums, just the guitar part.
4 years ago
Cro wrote
Chrono Blue wrote
I've never played Guitar Hero. If I was to get into it as a newbie, which version should I buy?
I'd say whichever has more songs you like. Playing your favourire songs is what will keep you coming back.
What Cro said. Sambo is just being a smartass.
4 years ago
Chrono Blue wrote
Really? I am not interested in singing or drums, just the guitar part.
Because you're new to the whole genre, try picking up GH3 on the Xbox/PS3/Wii (Just not PS2, really) and go from there. It's the most accessible one out there and still is played more than any other Guitar Hero.

If you decide you want in with friends, then definately get Rock Band. (Get RB2 if you know how to import from the UK, miles better than RB1)
4 years ago
Eyce wrote
Because you're new to the whole genre, try picking up GH3 on the Xbox/PS3/Wii (Just not PS2, really) and go from there. It's the most accessible one out there and still is played more than any other Guitar Hero.
i've gotta disagree with this, the progression in gh3 was ridiculous, especially with the brickwall 8th tier.

your best choice is to just go with whatever has more songs that you like, avoid world tour though, 5 and band hero are much better options (apart from the songs, depending on what you like). haven't played the rock band games so can't comment on whether they're worth it or not.
4 years ago
Eyce wrote
If you decide you want in with friends, then definately get Rock Band. (Get RB2 if you know how to import from the UK, miles better than RB1)
Except the setlist in RB2 is worse.
4 years ago
How? The set list in RB was completely forgettable.
4 years ago
Thanks for views every one. I'll pick up GH5 as the tracklist looks good and take it from there.

30% off at HN at the moment.
4 years ago
Eyce wrote
Because you're new to the whole genre, try picking up GH3 on the Xbox/PS3/Wii (Just not PS2, really) and go from there. It's the most accessible one out there and still is played more than any other Guitar Hero.
Agreed, and once you do get good, songs like One and TTFAF are some of the toughest songs across all gh/rb so gh3 is a good stepping stone to some of the hardest and best songs as well.

Also, i've hardly been able to find many matches for any guitar hero online, because rock band 2 is where everyone is.
4 years ago
Agent 042 wrote
Eyce wrote
Because you're new to the whole genre, try picking up GH3 on the Xbox/PS3/Wii (Just not PS2, really) and go from there. It's the most accessible one out there and still is played more than any other Guitar Hero.
i've gotta disagree with this, the progression in gh3 was ridiculous, especially with the brickwall 8th tier.

your best choice is to just go with whatever has more songs that you like, avoid world tour though, 5 and band hero are much better options (apart from the songs, depending on what you like). haven't played the rock band games so can't comment on whether they're worth it or not.
I proclaimed GH3 to be the most accessible because of the fact that the engine you play on is looser tha- very lax on the timing involved with hitting the notes.

And DIU, I refuse to argue about setlist preferences. icon_razz.gif
4 years ago
Sin Ogaris wrote
How? The set list in RB was completely forgettable.
Are you kidding me? I could count the number of songs I like in RB2 on one hand. RB1's good song list is numerous, though.

...obviously its all preference. But RB2 has way too much indie shit I've never heard of.
4 years ago
Agree with it comes down to your preferred list of songs, they vary a little from title to title. Despite hating on the Guitar Hero franchise, i still buy the games as they come out icon_redface.gif for the track variety.

Band Hero isn't that bad, although it's seriously wrong for someone like myself to be singing along to Taylor Swift - Love Story (it was worth it, i got the bonus stars icon_razz.gif).
4 years ago
I 've pretty much played them all (GH2->Band Hero, RB(1,2,Lego, Beatles,AC/DC) and I've got to say GH3 is still the toughest one yet.

I still haven't managed to finish GH3 on Expert (after 2 years) and I've completed almost all the others on Expert.
4 years ago
Does anyone else find the volume of the music tracks pretty soft in Band Hero compared to Guitar Hero and other games?

I've got the 360 connected via HDMI to my TV, and I have to turn the volume up to 40, whereas on most games the volume set to 18 is pretty loud.
4 years ago
Pai Mel wrote
Does anyone else find the volume of the music tracks pretty soft in Band Hero compared to Guitar Hero and other games?

I've got the 360 connected via HDMI to my TV, and I have to turn the volume up to 40, whereas on most games the volume set to 18 is pretty loud.
could be the same thing as in gh5, i find that to be particularly quiet. haven't played band hero though so i'm not sure if the in game volume adjustment is as useless as it was in 5.
4 years ago
I honestly felt the song content wasn't as appealing to me compared to Lego Rock Band. Graphic-wise, it looked good...but maybe it was just me, but did anyone feel that playing Band Hero and then jumping onto Lego Rock Band that they were merely clones of one another?
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