Developers: Zoe Mode, HB Studios
Release date: Available now
Review by: James Dolbeare
You’ve played every song in Rock Band and Guitar Hero three billion times and you never want to hear those songs again, but now Konami has released Rock Revolution to entice you to drag out your plastic instruments once more. You can use your old guitars and drum sets with RR, but the game doesn’t feature any karaoke-style gameplay for singers, so you’ll have to find some other way to torture your neighbors.
Rock Revolution plays much like Guitar Hero and Rock Band. For those of you who have missed the music-game craze, the game works like this: bars are displayed on the screen, and colored dots move down along the bars. When a dot reaches the bottom, you strum your guitar while pressing the corresponding button on the fretboard, or strike the appropriate drum pad.
There are a few new tricks to the gameplay, one being the studio recording mode. In studio mode, you’re given a few chances to practice a portion of a song, and then you have to play it back from memory without being shown the notes. This adds a bit of realism and an unbelievable amount of difficulty.
Overall, however, RR is rather uninspired and seems to be a cheap attempt to cash in on a proven formula. I had a lot of trouble with lag, which made it difficult to properly time my movements. Also, the studio mode adds more frustration than novelty, particularly when playing a song you may already hate. After hearing the same bars of “The End of Heartache” 50 times, I felt like a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay.
Another problem is the set list itself. There are some great tunes, but some of the songs seem to be included to convince people you’re into rock, while others are songs that no musician in his right mind would ever publicly admit to enjoying. “Sk8er Boi,” if you haven’t heard, sounds exactly the way it looks on paper: written by 13-year-old girls for 13-year-old girls. If RR was supposed to be a teeny-bopper music game, Konami would’ve had my blessing. However, I fail to grasp why the developers thought the same players who love Avril Lavigne would enjoy “Holy Wars: The Punishment Due,” by Megadeth.
It appears that, in an attempt to make a well-rounded game, Konami has instead made one with very limited appeal. For gamers who are still unsure of their musical tastes or who simply love every song they hear, Rock Revolution may be a good buy. For everybody else, it would be best to stick it out and wait for another Guitar Hero or Rock Band expansion.