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(Pocket-lint) - So how do you better Guitar Hero? With the much loved axe wielding series helping millions of gamers worldwide turn into fully fledged rock gods, there was only one way things were going to go. Bigger.

Rock Band is exactly as it says on the tin. Instead of just standing proudly in your living room sporting a plastic guitar, now a whole group of you can enjoy the delights of guitaring, drumming, and wailing a few classic tunes.

It’s the same old Guitar Hero gameplay, of course. They wouldn’t go changing the franchise completely after all. But with the option to now play all the instruments in any given tune, there’s something for those strange folk who find themselves wanting to learn the drums.


As always it’s the same old lines of notes that you need to strike in time. Bass, lead guitar, and drum notes are displayed on screen in the same old manner, while the vocals are displayed in a similar fashion to the SingStar games on the PlayStation consoles.

So now if you fancy yourself as more of a master with your voice box than with a guitar in your hands, you can play as you wish. It’s all got the same incredibly tight working mechanics that the developers are famed for.

While singing and guitar playing are just as you’d expect, it’s drumming that proves really tricky. Getting the timing right with both hands as well as a foot pedal can be really tricky until you start to get your head around the timing. Especially as Rock Band’s leeway for hitting the notes perfectly has been much tightened over the Guitar Hero games.

The obvious sticking point is the price. With the instrument bundle priced at well over £100, and then you still need to shell out for the game disc itself, rocking out certainly isn’t a cheap pastime.

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For single players, your Guitar Hero guitars will work with Rock Band, giving you the chance of just picking up the game for some immediate thrills. But if you stick with just that single instrument, you’re missing out on what makes Rock Band just so damn fun.

You’re missing out just as much if you don’t have any like-minded gamers to play around with. Yes, the online options allow you to team-up with band mates around the world, but there’s no better experience than cramming a group of you into your living room and playing a musical masterpiece.

That’s not to say you won’t have fun if you’re stuck on your lonesome. The same old Guitar Hero addiction remains fully intact. But you can knock a point off the final review score if you’re going to playing firmly on your own.

And while the tunes are almost universally fantastic, you might be best listening to the full track listing a few times before setting out. While it’s nice and easy to pretend you know a song and hit the right notes with a plastic guitar, doing the same with a microphone in your hands is much more tricky.

In addition there is tonnes of downloadable content promised, meaning that there’s bound to be a mass of tracks that a full band will know and love.

To recap

If you’re in a group, this is about as fun as gaming is ever likely to be. If you’re on your own without any gaming internet access, the full pack might seem like a waste of cash

Writing by Christopher Pickering.
Sections EA Xbox Games