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Band Hero

Score: 93%
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Vicarious Visions
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 - 4 (Local); 2 - 8 (Online)
Genre: Rhythm/ Party/ Online

Graphics & Sound:

Years ago before the Guitar Hero craze, Karaoke Revolution was the king of singing games. Honestly though, I missed the difference in the song selection. I'm a huge rock fan, I love the tracks in Guitar Hero, but I have to admit that I enjoyed singing more pop songs every now and then. Well, now Band Hero satisfies that need and gives you the ability to play the other instruments as well!

Band Hero looks very much like the Guitar Hero games. There are characters from Guitar Hero like Casey Lynch, Pandora, and Izzy Sparks, and a new one, Quincy Styles. Fair warning though, all of them have gotten a massive makeover. They now look like a "pop" version of themselves, from various decades! Some of them, Clive Winston in particular, just look so wrong like that! Like in previous games, you can create your own characters as well. There are several genres that you can choose from, even Black Metal, and that just gives you the base character. After you choose genre, you can customize all the features just like before. You can have up to 20 custom characters.

Really though, the reason that we buy more music games isn't the characters or the graphics. We buy more games for the songs. Band Hero has a very nice range of pop songs from several generations. There are songs from as far back as Marvin Gaye's "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" and as new as Taylor Swift's "You Belong With Me" with a whole bunch in between from bands like Poison, Everclear, Filter, Duran Duran, Devo, and many more. I'd venture to say that there's something on here for everyone. There are 65 songs total and a whole bunch more that can be imported from Guitar Hero World Tour, Guitar Hero Smash Hits, and Guitar Hero 5 (some at a fee).


Unlike Guitar Hero 5, all of the songs are not unlocked at the beginning of the game, so I suggest that you start with Career Mode. Here, you'll start out with one gig and only a few songs to play. But the more stars you earn, you will unlock new gigs, songs, and fan requests. After you've unlocked the songs in Career Mode, they'll be available in Quick Play as well. In Quick Play, you simply choose the songs you want to play and play them. It's probably the best way to play after you've unlocked all the songs.

There's another way to just choose the songs you want and play. Party Play is the perfect mode if you have a bunch of people over. It allows you to add and remove people from the song and you don't even have to pause it. You can play any combination of instruments as well, even four drummers if you want. The only drawback to Party Play is that you don't get a score, but you also can't fail either. Sing-Along Mode is like Party Play, but meant for four singers.

You can even play Band Hero online in Competitive Mode, but you don't have to be online. You can also compete with up to 4 players locally. Either way you choose to play it, there are several different attacks that you'll be able to use against your opponents. I highly recommend you master all of them if you want to win! The other way you can compete is my personal favorite, Roadie Battle. In Roadie Battle, you'll need two guitarists and two Roadies (who will each need a DS). The guitarists are battling and while they're doing so, the roadies are helping. As a roadie, you play little mini-games where you can sabotage your opponent's guitar and equipment, and you also have to fix your guitarist's guitar and equipment. It's so much fun, and you don't have to be able to play the guitar at all to be an awesome roadie. The only thing I wish is that you could play it with less than four people so that I could be a roadie when I'm by myself.

Fan requests are unlocked as you play, but you'll have to get Band Hero for the DS to be able to play them. After you do, you can then "Bring your fans back to the Wii to unlock new characters!" There are hilarious requests like "Cheer up the Goths." Several of the requests are very short, things like get an 8x multiplier, so you only have to play until you get that instead of just playing the whole song. The first person you get is Memphis Rose, a character for Guitar Hero for the DS. You also unlock more fan requests when you get more fans. The only things you unlock with Fan Requests are characters and outfits, so it's really not necessary to complete the Fan Requests if you don't want to.


Band Hero has varying degrees of difficulty. You have to be careful though, because some songs are easier than others on different instruments. But they are nice enough to tell you how difficult each instrument is so that you'll know in advance that your singer is going to have a difficult time, or your drummer might need saved.

As far as the overall difficulty, I found it about the same as the Guitar Hero games. I did find that some of the vocals were a lot more difficult for me since I had never heard the songs, but that's to be expected. You get to choose from five different difficulty levels, 6 if you count some add on content, Beginner, Easy, Medium, Hard, Expert, and Expert+ (drums only). With this many levels, you can just play the songs you don't know on an easier level and learn them before you go up to a higher level.

Game Mechanics:

If you've ever played any of the Guitar Hero games then you already know how to play Band Hero. If not, well it's pretty easy to play. You can choose from four different instruments to play: guitar, bass, drums, and vocals. For the first three, you'll see notes scrolling up the screen as the song plays. For the guitar and bass, you have to hold down the button(s) that correspond to the notes and strum the bar when the note hits the line on the screen. On the drums, you just hit the corresponding drum pad when the note hits the line. Vocals will scroll across the top of the screen and you have to sing the words into the mic. Really though, you don't have to sing the correct words, you just have to hit the right pitch. You can have a lot of fun making up your own words if you want.

While you are playing, you get a number of stars, which are an indication of how well you have done on the song. In Career Mode, you want to get as many stars as you can to unlock more things. You can get up to 6 stars now, but 6 stars are only if you get 100% perfect. Otherwise, you'll only get up to 5 stars.

Band Hero is a really great new game. You get to play all instruments and still have a completely new set of songs that most of which haven't been on any of the Guitar Hero games before. If you're a fan of band games, you really need to get Band Hero today!

-Cyn, GameVortex Communications
AKA Sara Earl

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