Band Hero Review
If you've ever wanted to play Guitar Hero, but were put off by all those heavy guitar licks and unrecognizable metal, alternative, and classic rock tracks you're in luck. Band Hero brings the Guitar Hero experience to the Taylor Swift loving masses, packed with a pop rock sound track and visuals that replace all those skulls and demons with plenty of pink and purple neon.
The gameplay in Band Hero is essentially the same as that in Guitar Hero 5. You can play with from one to four players with any combination of plastic guitars, drums, or microphones. Like in Guitar Hero 5, each player can play any instrument, so if everyone wants to play the drums and you have four drum sets available then the game will let you go right ahead and do so. The actual gameplay follows the same model as the Guitar Hero games in which each player is given a note track on which color-coded note icons flow towards the player. When a note reaches the play line at the bottom of the track, the player needs to hold down the correspondingly colored fret button on the guitar or hit the drum pad of the same color to play the note. Time it correctly and you'll hear the note played, but miss and you'll hear a jarring clink instead. The vocal part resembles karaoke in that you see the lyrics scroll by, except in this case you need to match the pitch of the original vocals as closely as possible. Scoring for all instruments is based on the number of notes hit, and if you hit consecutive notes you'll build a score multiplier that will last until you miss a note. If you're playing in the career mode then too many missed notes will lead to the audience booing the band off of the stage, but before that happens the rest of the band has a chance to save their flailing bandmate before he or she takes down the whole band.
Band Hero also borrows Guitar Hero 5's quickplay options, making it ready for party play right out of the box. When you start the game a random track will begin playing and you can jump in with an instrument at any point and play along. Songs will continue to play at random and allow players to jump in or drop out at will without having to stop the game, so you can just leave it playing during a party and your guests can play at will without the need to fumble their way through a series of unfamiliar menus. You can set your own track lists via the game's quickplay mode, and you'll immediately have access to every track in the game without the need to unlock them first. If you also have Guitar Hero 5, you'll find that the tracks you downloaded for that game will be available in Band Hero's quickplay mode as well.
The game's career mode is similar to that in Guitar Hero 5. Tracks are divided into tiers that are tied to a particular venue and to unlock the next venue and its set of tracks you must earn enough stars playing the tracks on the current tier. A mediocre performance in all of the tracks or a great performance in a subset of them will usually earn you enough stars to move on. Your performance in each song is rated from zero to five stars, but you're also given the chance to earn up to three bonus stars per track. Each track will have a challenge associated with it, either tied to a particular instrument or to the band as a whole. These challenges include things like hitting a certain number of notes in the song or maintaining a high multiplier for a certain length of time. Each challenge has gold, silver, and platinum level goals, which correspond to the one, two, or three bonus stars that you can earn. As you play the track an on-screen wheel will track your progress so it's easy to see how you're doing in your pursuit of the song's challenge. Band Hero's career mode is weak on story or extras – you get a few semi-animated shorts between tiers but that's about it.
One of the biggest differences between Band Hero and the Guitar Hero games is a consequence of the tracks available. Pop tracks are mass-produced music and this becomes obvious in the difficulty of the songs in the game. The guitar line for a Spice Girl's song is neither as challenging nor as interesting as that in a Motorhead song. Get Band Hero if its track list and style suits your taste in music, but don't expect it to provide you with a forum to showcase your mad guitar skills.
Overall Band Hero is a good game, as it's essentially Guitar Hero 5 with a different skin and track list. If its track list fits your taste in music and includes some of the same songs that you play at your parties, then you'll have fun playing and singing along with the tracks and having your friends join in at your next party.
In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 87%. Guitar Hero for the masses.