|Rock Band one-upped the very popular Guitar Hero music rhythm game (see entry 1017) by copying their toy-guitar-playing gameplay, and adding in vocals and drums as well, so if you have enough buddies over you can play a sort of full band, with someone singing, someone on lead guitar, another on bass guitar, and one on drums. The full kit for all the toy instruments isn't cheap, but that didn't stop the game from flying off shelves.|
I don't find digital guitar playing all that compelling, I suppose because guitar itself just doesn't excite me, but also because there's all those damn buttons you have to press, representing major chords, or something. Ooh and I'm left-handed, so the button presses I'm supposed to perform display backwards, since I hold the guitar thingy upside-down; Rock Band has a "lefty" option to flip that around so they're straight, but in a RB session you're always changing roles around anyway, and who wants to bother?
Each player can choose their own skill level, and I always choose Easy, because I suck! Also I hate failing. You have to match a certain number of notes that come along as the song plays, and if you miss too many, you'll be knocked out, and the rest of the band has to carry on without you, which can only go for oh a dozen seconds or so. However, if one of them hits a bunch of notes right and powers up their "Overdrive" meter, they can activate it, and this will "save" you, bringing you back into the performance. Overdrive is activated by jerking up the um long end of the guitar (I always miss notes when I do this), hitting the final note on a drum thrash free-for-all, or, for vocals, simply making a loud noise.
I like vocals. Not so much for the loud noise part, but simply because you're actually singing, which is fun, instead of playing a fake instrument. Also, although you're supposed to follow a scrolling "pitch meter" to match the original singer's voice, sort of, if you set it on Easy you can pretty much sing the song your own way; sing loud enough and you'll drown out the original singer's voice, and nobody will know the difference. *cough*
So it's a fun party game, at least for me as I don't take it seriously at all. I'd like it more if the songs didn't focus on the straight "Rock" genre from about the 1980's, which I'm not really into, and as a result I don't know (or particularly like) at least half the songs in the game. There are a lot, though, so there are at least a handful that I do like.