Logitech Wireless Drum Controller for Xbox 360 review
You're hardcore, aren't you? You cracked guitar and bass within months of picking up Guitar Hero. You saved up for the full band kit, and now you're blasting through "Won't Get Fooled Again" on drums on Expert. But something doesn't feel right. Your pedal can't take the strain, the green drum is sagging ominously and you've lost a cymbal.
But instead of just grabbing another normal drum kit, you spot Logitech's rather meatier offering - a nearly full-size electronic kit that might be able to take the pounding that you'll inevitably be giving it. But is it worth the extra cash over the regular drums? We put it through its paces to find out.
It comes in a massive impressive-looking box, which opens up with the drums already attached to the crossbar. Setup is very easy - you just twist out the legs, unscrew, position the drums at the right angle, and then add the cymbals and Xbox 360 interface unit. Then you just connect some handily colour-coded cables. It took us about 20 minutes, at most.
While the adjustability is considerably improved over the default drum unit, it's still not quite as good as we'd like. It's not possible to change the height of the cymbals, for example, and the highest drum setting still knocked our knees a little when we tried to get under it. A smidge more height would have been welcome. Our review unit also sat a little wobbly on the floor - though this was easily rectified with a bit of folded up paper - pub-table style.
When everything was plugged in and set-up, we stuck in Band Hero and fired up the Spice Girls' "Wannabe". Hitting the pads with the sticks, we immediately felt 20 times cooler than we've ever felt playing Guitar Hero on the little plastic drums before. The stick bounce is just right, the increased size of the rig is reassuring, and the metal-topped pedal feels sturdy as a rock.
Except we promptly failed the song, because we weren't quite used to where the pads were, and kept missing. But when we got used to it, after an evening's play, we felt like rock gods again. The alcohol may have helped a little, but we were impressed how different the kit feels to the bog-standard Guitar Hero drum set.
One flag we should raise is that these drums are noisy. While there are plenty of silencing options available, if you need them, be aware that the default kit - particularly the drums - won't make you popular with the neighbours. Overall, however, the durability of the kit was impressive - we gave it a pounding and it stood up to the punishment without any complaint.
The aforementioned size of the kit helps too. It's considerably larger than the default edition, meaning that you'll need a bigger space to keep it in - worth considering if you live in a small flat, and don't expect to stick them in a bag to take to a friend's house - they'll only just fit in the boot of a car. Luckily, the foldability helps here.
You might think that one nice side-effect of the kit being based on real electronic drums is that they can be used as real electronic drums. Unfortunately not. Although there's a MIDI port on the back of the Xbox control panel, it's a MIDI-in port for future expansion. That's a missed opportunity, we think - a MIDI-out port would add a lot of value to those considering moving to real drums.
We haven't had any issues with battery life - the device is rated for about 50 hours of play, and it'll turn off automatically after a while if you're not using it. It takes 2 AA batteries, so they're easy to replace too.
Oh, and if you're a Rock Band drummer, you'll be pleased to hear that it's compatible with that series too - though you'll need to mentally switch one of the four drums of the Rock Band kit to a cymbal, which may prove a little confusing at first. You'll get used to it over time.
Logitech's Drum Controller is a solid, well-built instrument that has more in common with a real electronic drum kit than a plastic videogame accessory. Unfortunately, it can't be used as one, which is a real shame when it costs the best part of £179. At that price, only the most fanatic of Guitar Hero drummers should apply.