For those familiar with the Guitar Hero series, Band Hero will feel like coming home, albeit you may feel like you are sleeping in your teenage sister's bedroom. The stylized graphics have not changed much in actual rendering, but the overall feel is far more glitz and glamour. Goodbye Headbanger's Ball, hello American Idol. From the staging to the characters, the look has been redesigned to meet the expectations of a different set of players. The game features guest appearances by several of today's biggest stars, including Taylor Swift, Maroon 5 and No Doubt. All of these performers were actually motion-captured for the game so that their movements on stage look like the real thing. Though somewhat meaningless (as I'm generally too hyper-focused on the dropping notes to see the stage show), it is a nice touch. Another nice touch is the ability to play as your avatar. Don't expect a massive leap forward in the graphics department, but Band Hero shows that the series producers and developers are still making small improvements with every new release.
Of course, the graphics in a music game are not really THAT important. What is important is the sound. It is a game based on sound after all. Band Hero includes 65 songs by 63 artists on the disc, all master recordings. In addition, 65 songs from Guitar Hero 5 can be imported into the game, along with most previous DLC. Both the Guitar Hero and Rock Band series have made huge strides in recent years in terms of sound, and this dedication to the music continues to show through. The songs all sound fantastic, even the older recordings. There is little question that my appreciation of the music behind the songs has increased dramatically as I have played through these various series and I find that I enjoy the songs that much more, having been more keenly exposed to the individual elements on a more intimate level. Though playing these games will never actually teach me to play the guitar or drums, I strongly feel that this new way of hearing the songs, even those that I have been a fan of for years, makes the time spent playing these games all the more worthwhile.