Today, for the briefest of moments, I was the proud owner of a copy of the new Rock Band game. It is not available in the UK yet, and so before Christmas I thought it would be a wizard wheeze to get a copy shipped over from the 'states for us to play with over the festive season. I even sold three mobile phones on eBay to pay for it. It would have been a brilliant idea if it had been shipped in time, and the US Postal Service had not used the slow boat from China to deliver it. Anyhoo, it arrived today and so we got it out and had a brief bash.
It rocks. Even though I only had a few minutes to play with it, I reckon it really rocks. I sent it off in the afternoon with Number One Son who will get more fun out of it than I will, and I'm going to get a nice lens instead. I'd decided this before we got the game out of the box, and having played with it I very nearly changed my mind. When it launches in the UK I'll probably sell something else and try to get a copy.
The thing I was most interested in was the drums, which turn out to be ace. The drum hardware itself looks very strong and sensibly designed, with proper drumsticks. They make a surprisingly large amount of noise in use, and you can really give the drumpads some welly. I found drumming quite hard to do myself, but number one son managed to sail through a couple of tracks on easy mode with no problem. You'll need a big room though, as the whole kit takes up a fair amount of space.
However, the best bit in the game for me has got to be the guitar. It is splendid. It looks like a proper guitar, and has a virtually silent action, which makes playing along with solos much more realistic. The whole design and the heft of the thing is streets ahead of the plastic guitars that I've seen in the past, it even has silver machine heads and proper looking effects controls. It's wireless too, which is ace. I think when the game launches in the UK I'd get a copy just to have a guitar like this, it really is much nicer than the ones supplied with Guitar Hero. Number one son says that the word on the street is that it doesn't play quite as well, with stories of delays between hitting the bar and the note playing, but I thought it was fine. I loved playing the bass parts with it.
We didn't get as far as trying the microphone, we would have needed a third person for that, but I'm told it works well.
The game itself seems more polished than Guitar Hero, which on the PS3 looks pretty much identical to the PS2 version. The note displays seem more stylish and the animation a bit more detailed. They actually have a whole bunch of tracks that I've heard of too, and the ability to download a load more. Network play is also included, which would be amazing if it works (we didn't have time to try it).
In the brief time that we had before we crammed it all into a bunch of suitcases, we had a ball. With two more players and a day or so to spend on working through the band career mode I reckon we could have a whale of a time.
I'm now watching the UK game release dates with interest, and looking for more things to sell on eBay...