Another music game has recently hit store shelves with Activision’s Band Hero. Band Hero has been positioned as a more family friend version of Guitar Hero. While the lyrics for some of the songs on Guitar Hero are edited to maintain the critical teen rating, Band Hero goes the extra mile and plays it safe with its track list. You can play songs from various artists such as The All American Rejects, Evanescence, Taylor Swift, Village People and more. Much like Guitar Hero 5 there is a party play feature which allows you to immediately jump in and play any time you feel like it. As soon as you boot up the game you can either immediately start playing whatever song is on or go to the main menu. You will find a lot of the same features in Band Hero that you found a couple months ago in Guitar Hero 5. It looks like it is the same engine as well. In some instances it almost looks like they just swapped out the songs and the logos from Guitar Hero 5 and slapped the Band Hero logo on it. There are, of course, more family friendly venues that you play at and things of that nature, however, the career progression and things like that are nearly identical to how they worked in Guitar Hero 5.
When you get to the main menu you will see that all of the standard training, career, GH Studio, Rock Star Creator and other options are available to you. Another thing this title has is that you can rock out with your avatar if you have the Xbox 360 version. There is something cool about rocking out with my avatar during a song while he is dressed as Altair from Assassin’s Creed. You have a bunch of different venues to unlock as progress throughout your career. You have the Mall of Fame, Club La Noza, La Luz De Madrid and more. There is also a new sing-along mode where you can sing together karaoke style on any song with a friend. Each song has a special challenge associated with it and you will be informed what you have to do after you select the song. Some songs have a guitar specific challenge while others might require a full band. Completing these challenges will earn you more stars as well as unlock various items such as alternate outfits, better equipment and things of that nature. There are a total of nine stars that you can earn per song and you are always told how many stars you have earned on each song so you know which ones you need to work on and which ones you have mastered. You also get a small tidbit of information about the artist when you select the song. When I picked a song from Evanescence I was given the fact that they won two Grammys back in 2003 for ‘Best New Artist’ and ‘Best Hard Rock Performance.’
Like with previous iterations there is also competitive multiplayer in this title where you can play with your friends or simply find random people on Xbox Live to join your band. If you choose to issue invites to your friends you are told how many of your friends are currently playing Band Hero so you know where to shoot off the invite. You can even look at their “Rock Record” to see where they stand and just how good they really are at the game. It gives a pretty good variety of of statistics such as the level of difficulty your friends prefer, how many stars they have earned, their longest note streak, their preferred instrument and things like that. You can still pick whatever instrument you want to play so if you want your entire band to consist of all singers or all drummers then you can make that happen.
In the end, Band Hero is a lot of fun. Your enjoyment of this title will depend on the track list. If you like the type of music that is featured here then you should have a lot of fun. If this isn’t your type of music then you might as well stay away. It would have been nice if there were some other things to differentiate this title from Guitar Hero though. Activision is asking gamers to pay full price for this product yet they offer a smaller selection of songs then what we saw two months ago in Guitar Hero 5. As I said, I had a lot of fun playing the songs that are available, it just would have been nice if this title was more appropriately priced for what you are getting. Even the Wii version is sitting at the $60 price point which is just wrong. If you want a game that you can safely play with the family then be sure to give this game a try. Just rent it first to see if you think it is really worth the price tag.
Originally posted on Totally Gaming Network