Rockband - First impressions, turned mini-review.

So this week I took the plunge. I was planning on waiting, but it was just too tempting.  I did feel a bit awkward carrying this huge box to the counter.  But I knew the fun would out-weigh the guilt of my inner geek showing in public.

So i got the sucker home and it took about a half-an-hour to set up. Obviously the drums were the most complicated.

HARDWARE

The guitar is solid. Deffinitely more quality than Guitar Hero's Les Paul-- i think that was in intentional shot at Incognito from Harmonix (the game developers.. and if you're not in the know-- Harmonix developed Guitar Hero 1-2).  The fret buttons are awesome. I love the click feel they give. There is also a set of 5 frets for the solos (they are smaller and closer together). A sweet plus is the PS button lights up.  My only gripe is with the strum bar.. its mushy. If i could combine the fret buttons of the Rockband Fender with the strum bar of the Guitar Hero 3 Gibson, I'd have a perfect plastic game guitar.

The drums feel real.  They are pretty much the v-drums popular in the 80s. Im pretty sure they can take a beating, and the set breaks down for storage. Also included on the drums is a mini controller area that is essentially a playstation controller sans the R and L buttons. Great for menu navigation, etc. My only gripe with drums is the lack of included drum throne. Ive been sitting on a chair with books so my foot was at a half-way decent place for using the kick.

The mic is a mic. Nothing special except that its made by Logitech.

Both the drums and the Mic are corded, while the guitar (which doubles as the bass) is cordless. Thank goodness for the 4 USB ports on the PS3. Ive heard a TON of complaints about the USB hub for the 360. SUCKERS!

GAMEPLAY

I'm not going into how the game is played, so if you dont know, check out Gamespot and read up.

Decent songlist, however to unlock new content you have to play carreer mode. In carreer mode, you play the same songs over and over, which gets kinda lame. I dig the gems over the discs in GH. Star Power is called Energy, and you can add to your energy even if you're using it. If youre playing multiplayer, you can't get 8x unless everyone is doing it at the same time and you're both playing well.
You get to create your rock character which is pretty cool and you can buy new items as you get cash. You can also give your rocker different attitudes: Rock, Metal, Punk, and Goth (i think thats it).  The Goth is pretty funny actually.

Once you start a career and make a character, and select the instrument, you cant use that character for other instruments. Irritating, for sure.

The game mechanics are quite good. They feel pretty natural for both singing and the drums. The guitar is pretty standard if you've played GH at all, however they did at "effects" which are selected with, what would be, the pickup switch. You can only hear the effects when you are using energy.  If you're playing multiplayer and your band mate fails, you can use energy (if you've built your meter high enough to use it) to bring them back, however you get no score multiplier.

Overall the game is alot of fun, solo play or a full band (however at this point in time, there is no way to purchase another guitar so you can have BOTH a guitarist and a bassist- totally weak). The major downside (aside from the nuances listed above) is how much room all the stuff takes up.. especially if you live in tight quarters).  Hopefully you have some place to store your drum kit. I completely lucked out and had a faux leather ottoman with storage that fit the drum kit PERFECTLY (i think it was $80 at Target, and it looks great). Or you could just buy Harmonix's over-priced-almost-a-necessity $50 drum bag. Either way you pretty much have to spend more money to make your already expensive game less of a conversational geek-piece.

The rock rhythm games are my guilty pleasure. I admittadly feel like a completely lame gamer geek, but at the same time they combine my 2 favorite things in the whole world... video games and music. Rock music. Seriously, the Hives and Nine Inch Nails were calling my name.

Rockband Scores a 9/10 on the Shon-O-Meter and is a must have for any musician gamer (of which i most deffinitely am).