Rock Band: Band In A Box Review

Format(s): Xbox 360 exclusive in UK, PS2, PS3 (other territories)

You’ll get a great feeling from the moment you get Rock Band home – no doubt inspired by the replica Fender Stratocaster, the real drum sticks or the microphone.  If you have a few mates over, it will seem even more special.  If you’ve never been in a band just about to jam, then this is the closest feeling that you’re going to get.  It is a very good feeling indeed.

Let’s just say it outright – Rock Band is a lot of fun.  With more than 50 rock tunes to play along with, there is a plethora of various classics to give your all to.  Whether you like The Rolling Stones, Oasis or The Ramones there is something on offer here and you’ll be playing those drums into the night.

This is a game in the same tradition of the Guitar Hero 1 and 2 games, but plays in a slightly different way due to the fact that you have the other band elements available to you, such as singing or playing the drums.  Once again, Harmonix brings it to you in musical style.

If you have never played a rhythm-action game before (of which this is a particularly good example) then you must have been in a cave – a cave that doesn’t feature electricity or Dance Dance Revolution games.  However, the concept is incredibly simple.  When a coloured light appears on the screen, you press the button (or other action) that matches – so if the yellow appears and you’re ‘playing’ the guitar, push the yellow button at the right time.  The more you get right, the quicker your score goes up.  The more your score goes up, the better your reputation as the ‘next big thing’ in rock music.  The ‘Overdrive’ feature gives you even more points, especially when multiple band members enter ‘the zone’.

Each of the instruments has access to four different difficulty levels, the choice of which really depends on your skill level with the game.  If you haven’t played anything like it before, then only having to use 3 of the 5 buttons on the guitar for instance sure will make you life a lot easier.

For those of you who really want to rock out, you’re naturally going to be choosing the drums.  People who don’t buy the full ‘instrument pack’ can buy the drums alone.  The chances are that I think they will too, as this is the instrument in the game that most closely matches the real thing.

You’ll be playing the drums with real passion – so it’s a good job that the kit is made to quite a high standard.  You shouldn’t have any problems with it falling to bits – something that can dog games like this that are so heavily reliant on the peripherals used to interact with the game.

Of course, there’ll be just as many people grabbing the microphone I’m sure.  You know, those family members who just have to take centre stage – in this case literally.  You’ll be pleased to know then that similar to sing star you really only have to get the pitch roughly right and you should be on target to have a decent score.  Not only that but the shy amongst us (why they’ll be singing on Rock Band is anyone’s guess but you never know, with a few beers…) can take solace in the fact that your voice is layered along with the original vocal.

Overall, this is a hugely entertaining game that is rather special given that there isn’t anything else quite like it as a single game.  You’ll have hours of fun, especially if you’re the sort who has regular gaming sessions at your home.  Just be aware that space is a consideration, the whole kit is not exactly small.

The final real consideration in the purchase of Rock Band: Band In A Box is that it doesn’t come with the game.  So, you have to fork out around £160 for the full product.  This is four times the cost of a standard game.  Nonetheless, if you are a music fan who regularly has gaming sessions on the couch with friends then I’d certainly recommend this.

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