Not the Revolution You Thought It Would Be
It’s no secret that the music game genre has exploded in the past few years. It seems like every few weeks there is a new Rock Band, Guitar Hero, or SingStar title on the shelves to satiate your need to play along with your favorite tunes.
It comes as no surprise then that there have been many imitation-brand music games trying to piggyback on the music genre’s recent success. But what is surprising is where the latest of these knock-offs has come from: Konami. Although Konami is essentially credited with creating the music genre with hits like Beatmania and Dance Dance Revolution, its newest music title, Rock Revolution, feels like a cheap Rock Band knock-off rather than a full game and is disappointing on many levels.
In most respects, Rock Revolution works in the same way as Guitar Hero: World Tour or Rock Band. You can play the guitar, bass, or drums and play along to a sliding note graph. One of the first issues that you will notice with this title is how small the note graph actually is. It is incredibly skinny, even on HD sets, and is very hard to read as it moves very quickly along a rigid y-axis instead of the longer diagonal z-axis that you see in titles like Rock Band. While the smaller note graph works well on the “beginner” and “easy” settings, it goes way too fast on any setting above medium, not give the player enough lead time to anticipate upcoming notes.
Although the note graph is a big turn-off for this game, the biggest issue Rock Revolution has is in the music department. Rock Revolution only has a paltry, forty-song track list consisting of songs by pop staples like the All-American Rejects and Blink 182. There are also some classics like “We’re not Gonna Take it” by Twisted Sister, and “Stone Cold Crazy” by Queen. However, even though the songs that are included in this title are pretty good, all but two (Paralyzer by Finger Eleven and “Given Up” by Linkin Park) are performed by cover bands of varying quality.
The poor music in this title is the most egregious facet of Rock Revolution, in part because most modern music titles are packed with at least 70 songs, and titles like Rock Band 2 have used free DLC to up their song roster to 100. A band-based game with only forty songs just can’t stand up to the competition, and the fact that most of the songs that are included are just half-hearted covers makes it even worse.
Even if you can get past the poor quality of the songs in this title, the different modes in Rock Revolution probably won’t impress much either. The main mode is Career mode, which allows you to go through your self-titled band’s album progression. As you release different albums, you can play different “singles” to promote your album to gold or even platinum status. Although you are able to name the band, you can’t customize the different characters in the band, and must instead choose from a handful of pre-made avatars to represent your style.
The boring career mode is mercifully short, but unfortunately there is not much alternate content or interesting modes to supplement it. The online modes are very weak and only consist of battle, versus, and co-op. Actually, getting online is somewhat difficult in this title as well, as the game never seems to be able to find anyone to play with in the online realm. In addition to the online modes, there is also an offline practice as well as a quick-play mode. Both of these modes give you the opportunity to play at your own pace yet are unremarkable.
The only mode with any real merit in Rock Revolution is the Creation mode. This mode allows you to toy around with the different instruments to create different songs. There is also a studio option that is fairly deep and allows you to mix different instrument tracks. Although these modes aren’t exactly the most user-friendly, it is fun to tinker around with your different instruments for a few hours to see if you can come up with a nifty tune or two. But once you are done playing around with the different instruments, chances are you won’t come back to this mode.
Although Rock Revolution is completely cross compatible as far as peripherals are concerned, there is an official Rock Revolution drum kit that you can purchase if you so desire. But be warned, the drum peripheral for Rock Revolution is pretty ugly. With seven total inputs comprising of six pads and a pedal, this drum set is definitely overly complex. And with the design featuring a stacked construction rather than the simplistic linear construction of the Rock Band or Guitar Hero: World Tour drum kits, you will have to literally stare at the drums to locate where the pads are before hitting them. Nothing about the Rock Revolution drum peripheral is intuitive, and if you absolutely must play this game, you are better off using another drum peripheral. Fortunately, the game does adjust to simpler drum kits, so you won’t have to worry about missing any of those seven inputs as a result of using a simpler set.
It is quite unfortunate that the company that essentially invented the music genre has produced such a poor title, but Rock Revolution just doesn’t have any redeeming qualities. From the poor music selection to the bad visuals, this game doesn’t stand well on its own, and can’t even be considered good as a supplement to current music titles. The best way to describe Rock Revolution is like a Xerox copy of fine art. Sure, it looks like the real deal, but there is nothing unique about it and in the end it’s just a cheap imitation of something that truly is revolutionary.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 2.7 Graphics
Graphics are unimpressive and the note graphs are far too skinny. 3.0 Control
Using older peripherals is fine, but there is no reason to even attempt to use the seven-input drum-kit bundled with the game. 1.5 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
With an embarrassingly thin forty-song track list comprised mostly of covers, Rock Revolution falls absolutely flat in what should be its most proficient feature. 2.1 Play Value
The career mode is far too brief and littered with repeat tracks, the online mode is incredibly lean, and there’s just not enough to this game to make it even remotely memorable. 2.0 Overall Rating – Poor
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.