Band Hero - PS3 Preview
It's amazing to think that it was only four years ago when Guitar Hero was unleashed upon the world, and only three and half years since the game launched in Australia. On the back of that franchise with over 25 million sales, and Call of Duty as well, Activision has gone from a moderate sized games company, to one of the biggest in the world. Whereas Guitar Hero focuses on rock music, the company is about to branch out with Band Hero to cover more popular, family friendly, music.
|Band Hero is visually on par with Guitar Hero.|
Gameplay in Band Hero should be very familiar to those who have played Guitar Hero: World Tour or Guitar Hero 5 in recent years. The game allows you to use any combination of guitars, drums or microphones. For those unaware the gameplay is pretty simple as you simply have to hit the notes in time with those sliding down the screen to the point at the bottom where you have to 'hit' the note (if you're singing you have to sing at the right pitch). The better you play, the better the song will sound and you earn star power which can then be triggered to start score multipliers - essential to obtain some mega scores. If you suck then it will be game over to the boos of the crowd and you'll be restarting the song from the beginning.
Game modes and structure should be quite similar to that seen in Guitar Hero 5, and to be honest we have no complaints with that at all although we do hope this game includes a bit more of a career mode, but we're not expecting it. Other features introduced should return here including 'Band Moments' as well as 'Challenges' through each of the songs.
|Using the microphone in Activision's Band Hero.|
Of course no music game is complete without a decent roster of artists and songs, and Band Hero appears to have a farily decen mix of 'pop' tracks which are a decent mixture of classics, and more recent tracks. With 65 songs included let's have a look at what to expect...
"A Million Ways" OK Go
"ABC" The Jackson 5
"American Pie" Don McLean
"Angels of the Silences" Counting Crows
"Bad Reputation" Joan Jett
"Back Again" Parachute
"Beautiful Soul" Jesse McCartney
"Believe" The Bravery
"Black Cat" Janet Jackson
"Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" KT Tunstall
"Bring Me to Life" Evanescence
"Dirty Little Secret" The All-American Rejects
"Do You Really Want To Hurt Me" Culture Club
"Don't Speak" No Doubt
"Every Rose Has Its Thorn" Poison
"Gasoline" The Airborne Toxic Event
"Hands Down" Dashboard Confessional
"Hang Me Up to Dry" Cold War Kids
"Happy Together" The Turtles
"Honky Tonk Women" The Rolling Stones
"I Heard It Through the Grapevine" Marvin Gaye
"I Want You to Want Me" (Live) Cheap Trick
"If You Could Only See" Tonic
"In a Big Country" Big Country
"Just a Girl" No Doubt
"Kids" Robbie Williams and Kylie Minogue
"Kung Fu Fighting" Carl Douglas
"L.E.S. Artistes" Santigold
"Let's Dance" David Bowie
"Lifeline" Papa Roach
"Like Whoa" Aly & AJ
"Lips of an Angel" Hinder
"Love is a Battlefield" Pat Benatar|
"Love Story" Taylor Swift
"Mr. Roboto" Styx
"Ocean Avenue" Yellowcard
"Oh, Pretty Woman" Roy Orbison
"Our Lips Are Sealed"The Go-Go's
"Paralyzer" Finger Eleven
"Picture to Burn" Taylor Swift
"Pictures of You" The Last Goodnight
"Put Your Records On" Corinne Bailey Rae
"Rio" Duran Duran
"Rock Star" N.E.R.D.
"Santa Monica (Watch the World Die)" Everclear
"She Will Be Loved" Maroon 5
"So Yesterday" Hilary Duff
"Steal My Kisses" Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals
"Sugar, We're Goin Down" Fall Out Boy
"Take a Picture" Filter
"Take Back the City" Snow Patrol
"Take What You Take" Lily Allen
"The Adventure" Angels & Airwaves
"The Impression That I Get" The Mighty Mighty Bosstones
"Turn Off the Light" Nelly Furtado
"Walking on Sunshine" Katrina and the Waves
"Wannabe" Spice Girls
"Warwick Avenue" Duffy
"When I'm Gone" 3 Doors Down
"Whip It" Devo
"Y.M.C.A." Village People
"You Belong With Me" Taylor Swift
"You Had Me" Joss Stone
Having a look at that set list and we have to say we're pretty happy with the selection of songs with many well known artists and tracks which most people familiar with modern pop music should recognise. Personally we're keen to start belting out the tracks from Duran Duran, Jackson 5, Poison, Marvin Gaye, David Bowie and No Doubt to name a few.
|Taylor Swift appears in Band Hero.|
It will also be possible to import 69 of the 85 songs from Guitar Hero 5 and we believe it will also be possible to import tracks from other releases in the franchise. What is disappointing, or should that be annoying, is that Activision will be charging you a fee (of only a few dollars) to import the tracks.
Of course Band Hero isn't just an offline game with a heavy focus also placed on the online multi-player components. As with previous games in the series the most fun is likely to be had with a 4-player band battling another 4-player band online, but it is possible to compete one-on-one with any of the instruments in the band. Of course online leader boards will be included so you can compare yourself to the rest of the world while we can expect Activision to provide a swag of downloadable songs through the Playstation Store for a few dollars each.
There are two versions of Band Hero available in Australia. The stand alone game sells for $AU89.95 (order here), while the full band including the game, drum kit, microphone and guitar will sell for $AU329.95 (order here). Make your choice...
Visually the game should be on par with other PS3 games in the Guitar Hero franchise. Taylor Swift, Adam Levine (of Maroon 5), and No Doubt have all been confirmed as appearing in the games following motion capture sessions for their in-game avatars. No Doubt are having second doubt it seems though as they have filed a lawsuit against Activision following the discovery that the band can perform songs from anyone in the title, and not just their own tracks.
|4-players playing Band Hero!|
Aimed at more of a family market then Activisions more rock flavoured Guitar Hero 5, Band Hero should be a great release. With familiar, and obviously very solid, gameplay then this deserves attention when it launches in Australia in late November.