Rock Band Preview
Xbox 360 | PS3
Rock Band box art
System: PS3, X360 Review Rating Legend
Dev: Harmonix 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: MTV Games, EA 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Nov. 20, 2007 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-4 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Teen 3.5 - 3.9 = Good
Rock out with your drum sticks out
by Matthew Walker

August 2, 2007 - As many fans know, this holiday season will bring us a couple of high profile opportunities to be guitar legends in our own minds, but there will only be one that will allow you to be a part of the band. Harmonix, the originators of the Guitar Hero franchise, is the developing team behind the new competition in rock music. Some are speculating the price of the entire set needed to fully appreciate the game will be so astronomical that some fans may pass up the opportunity.

Rock Band screenshot

How will they ensure us that it will be worth it no matter the pricing? Song choices, of course. That is exactly what it appears that Harmonix and MTV games are doing for the game. Instead of using a lot of cover bands the way Guitar Hero did, Rock Band will have songs from the actual artists. Bands like The Who have announced that not only will the game come with a few of their songs, but they also revealed that we would be able to download an album from them as well. The album in question will be "The Who." Additionally, Nirvana's album "Nevermind" will also be available. This feature could be the stand apart addition from Guitar Hero. When you have fans of a certain band salivating at the chance to play an entire album as opposed to one or two of the more known songs, it certainly seems more appealing. Queens of the Stoneage are also keeping things interesting by allowing one their songs from their forthcoming album, "Era Vulgaris," to make its debut on Rock Band. Some other noteworthy songs confirmed for the game are "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" from Blue Oyster Cult, "Learn to Fly" from the Foo Fighters, "Vasoline" from the Stone Temple Pilots, "Wanted Dead or Alive" from Jon Bon Jovi, "Enter Sandman" from Metallica, and several others. With the confirmation that five record labels will be cooperating with Rock Band to bring some of the more memorable songs to the game, it is no wonder that interest in this game is starting to surpass that of Guitar Hero.

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Some other information released about the game is how the equipment will work in the game. The microphone will work the same way as they have for other popular games like Singstar and the Karaoke Revolution games. However, we will also be able to use the microphone as a tambourine or cow bell when there are no lyrics. This will be interesting to see and should keep the lead singer busy while they wait for their next opportunity to wail out some lyrics. For the drums, players who have played the DrumMania arcade game will find this very similar. Four foam pads will act as your snare drum, tom-tom, hi-hat, and crash/ride cymbals. We will also have a foot pedal to represent the bass drum. Harmonix is also packing an authentic pair of drumsticks in with the drum set. They have even stated that if you can play the drums in Rock Band on hard, then you can probably play the drums. An interesting aspect to the game will be a variation on the "Star Power" we have been using in Guitar Hero. If a player fails at any part during a song and the "Star Power" is activated, then that player will be able to reclaim their honor. If the entire band is still around at the end of the song, then they will be treated to a special "Jam Session." Another aspect is that if you want to make your band avatar representation look a different way, you can. We will be able to adjust everything from hair, clothes, stage movements, body type, and even the band's logo.

Rock Band screenshot

The pricing of Rock Band may not be official yet, but even if it is around 200 bucks, the information that continuously pours out about the game can be justified with a high price tag. The only problem I see is if you have a band and members bail out on you constantly, then you may have a hard time finishing the game. Hopefully, with the mention of possible online gameplay for the game, it will become easier to have the band of your dreams, even if it is only in the digital form. Rock Band may not be entirely new in concept, but no one can deny that they are at least attempting to broaden the appeal of the game by including all forms of what makes a good band great.

Rock Band screenshot

By Matthew Walker
CCC Project Coordinator


  • Rock out your way! Players can beat on drums, sing along, groove as a bassist, and shred riffs as guitarists (using a licensed replica of the legendary Fender® Stratocaster®) - either in single player career mode leading a band, in multiplayer as part of the band, or against each other - in person or online!
  • Unrivaled song library! Major record labels and leading music publishers have signed on to provide unrivaled access to master recordings and legendary rock artists - from punk, metal, and alternative to classic and southern rock of the 60s, 70, 80s, 90s and 2000s.
  • Fully customizable! Form your own band, create and customize your own rocker, and then travel on a fast rise to fame around the world in a quest for rock 'n' roll glory!
  • Rock 'n' Roll Never Dies! Supports downloadable content for never-ending challenges.
  • Play together in your living room or across the world! Rock Band offers deep online functionality, allowing players to rock together whether they're in Rhode Island or Reykjavik.
  • Rock Band ships with 40 of the most epic rock acts ever (with downloadable songs and albums to come)! Nirvana's "In Bloom," Metallica's "Enter Sandman," Queens of the Stone Age's "Go With The Flow," Foo Figthers' "Learn to Fly," The Hives' "Main Offender," Mountain's "Mississippi Queen," Black Sabbath's "Paranoid," The Strokes' "Reptilia," The Ramones' "Rockaway Beach," Weezer's "Say It Ain't So," David Bowie's "Suffragette City," Rush's "Tom Sawyer," Stone Temple Pilots' "Vasoline," Bon Jovi's "Wanted Dead or Alive," The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again," - AND MORE

  • Screenshots / Images
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