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Band Hero 360 Review

15/11/2009 Family Family Gamer Review
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Band Hero 360

Band Hero




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Band Hero brings the chart-topping success of classic and modern bands to the phenomenal Guitar Hero franchise with this incredible and accessible rhythm-action game. Focussing on making the experience as friendly as possible, Band Hero strips away the oppressive hardcore trappings of the usual rhythm games and gives players an easy and welcoming environment to enjoy themselves. With hits from Taylor Swift, No Doubt and the Jackson 5, Band Hero for the Xbox 360, PS3 and Nintendo Wii is the ultimate party game for friends and family.

From the moment you start the game itís obvious that Band Hero's intentions are dramatically different to that of other rhythm-action games. The focus of the game has shifted from the usual Rock Metal-centric songs and artists prevalent in previous Guitar Hero titles to the chart-topping hits from the likes of Taylor Swift and Adam Levine. This welcome change makes Band Hero the perfect party game for the younger audience and those wanting a much more accessible version of the popular rhythm-action game franchise.

Band Hero also benefits from the same technology that made Guitar Hero 5 such a great visual game. Rather than just keep that same style, it strips away the grimy and dungy feel of the Heavy Metal stages and gives itself a sheen and polish that wouldn't look out of place in a Hannah Montana music video. This is no bad thing as part of the 65-strong playlist contains many songs that should appeal to fans of Duffy or Lily Allen. But it also contains a good variety of popular music ranging from Jackson 5, David Bowie and, er, the Village People to more modern hits from the likes of No Doubt and Fall Out Boy.

What I liked most about Band Hero was how easy it was to get my family involved with the action.

The variety of the tracks is what makes Band Hero such an excellent party game and just as in Guitar Hero 5, the Party Play mode is what makes the game so accessible from the moment you put the disc in the drive. Being able to jump in/jump out of a song with just the click of a button makes the experience of playing Band Hero much easier to sell to friends and family.

In addition to Party Play, Band Hero also introduces a new Sing Along mode that puts the focus of the game towards karaoke. Although this mode is little more than window-dressing for what's already possible in any other part of the game, it really helped to bring the uninitiated into the rhythm-action fold. And this is what Band Hero does best - it brings down the walls surrounding the intimidating world of music games and encourages people of all ages and abilities to join in with the fun. Both the Party Play and Sing Along modes brought that 'pick up and play' attitude to the game that made for an exciting and free experience for everyone who played it.

What I liked most about Band Hero was how easy it was to get my family involved with the action. Usually the harsh and Rock-heavy nature of the Guitar Hero and Rock Band games puts them off straight away, but the welcoming and fun nature of the game meant they were much more receptive to giving it a go. With such a diverse set-list it was also good to see that all the songs were unlocked from the start - the mixture of nostalgic hits and guilty pleasures got my family into the game immediately. I mean, who doesn't like rocking out to the YMCA or Pat Benetar when they can get away with it? What made my experience really incredible was participating in some songs I never thought I'd have the stomach for. I have to confess that I was having so much fun with my family I didn't really realise that I was bellowing out a Taylor Swift song until it was too late - surely a sign that the game was working its magic charms?

I have to confess that I was having so much fun with my family I didn't really realise that I was bellowing out a Taylor Swift song until it was too late - surely a sign that the game was working its magic charms?

With the option to import tracks from Guitar Hero World Tour and other Guitar Hero downloadable content straight into Band Hero, you can have the complete experience from within this new game. As with all of the games from the Guitar Hero stable, much depends upon your individual opinion of the track list to decide whether or not it's worth a purchase. But the two new playable characters of Taylor Swift and Adam Levine from Maroon 5, both of which lend their likenesses to the game, give Band Hero a unique look and feel that makes it so accessible to everyone. If you want to play catchy modern and classic band hits with all the features of Guitar Hero 5, then Band Hero for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii shows that the music rhythm-game is far from dead.

Written by Andy Robertson

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Andy Robertson writes the Family Gamer column.

"Videogame reviews for the whole family, not just the kids. I dig out videogame experiences to intrigue and interest grownups and children. This is post-hardcore gaming where accessibility, emotion and storytelling are as important as realism, explosions and bravado."

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