Rock Revolution Fails To Shift Rhythm Games
(Reviewers Note: The drum kit not provided for review and this reviewer does not have a PS3 Rock band drum kit so that option was not tried – I did see many of the 7 pad drum kit in the stores and it looks far more complicated than either the Rock Band or Guitar Hero versions.)
At home we are a Guitar Hero household, but I have played Rock Band on many occasions at the Game Industry News headquarters with my fellow reviewers, so I am familiar with the other games in the genre.
We have several PS3 Guitar Hero guitars so we where good on that front as Rock Revolution does not come with a guitar of any kind. The drum kit is sold separately from the game and you have the option of using your Rock Band drum kit instead of purchasing a Rock Revolution drum kit.
My first and biggest surprise with Rock Revolution was the lack of vocals. As you may know, Konami is also the publisher of the very popular Karaoke Revolution series and the developer for Rock Revolution is Zoe Mode, and they have put out SingStar and Disney Sing It. So I had assumed that vocals would be the focal point of this game, or at the very least a part of this title.
Without any vocals the game right off the bat is pretty lame. If Rock Band or Guitar Hero were not the megaselling genre dominating titles that they were, Rock Revolution might stand a chance without a voice. But as it is, you are probably going to be asking what the heck is going on if you can’t sing along? At least not in a way that is scored.
The basic setup of the game is very similar to Rock Band but in this case you only have your choice of Drum, Guitar or Bass and you play along with the songs by hitting the correct colored button when the note or colored circle passes across the correct part of the screen.
The closer you do to following along with the original song the better your score and the farther you progress along the career track, unlocking new content as you go. You all know the drill by now.
The exception here is that in Rock Revolution you have less time than in either Rock Band or Guitar Hero to hit the correct button based on the layout of the screen. So if you can’t creep above easy on either of those games, then don’t expect to burn up the stage here. You are probably going to be highly frustrated.
You do not get to create your own character in Rock Revolution; you are limited to selecting from a preconfigured list.
You do however get to name your own group at least. And you do get to see your band perform on stage. This is however less appealing when you have not designed your own character.
As far as I can tell the crowd animation is very limited. You get more reaction from the PS2 version of Guitar Hero, and that is highly scaled down from the more advanced consoles.
Like any good music title there are some generally good and some not so good songs, alas none of the songs in this particular title are performed by the original artist nor is the artist listed with the song. Here again, I think its going to be too little too late for Rock Revolution. The emphasis on master tracks is huge in the band game genre. Whereas a couple covers might be acceptable today, the majority of the songs better be masters. And most new rhythm games feature all master tracks now. Compare that with none here and you have a situation like with the vocals, where Revolution comes out late and with reduced features. Other than price, why would anyone really want to pick up this title?
One of two highlights in this game is that you can perform your own freeform solos. So you don’t have to run on a wheel and play the solo like the original group did. This is kind of like the drum roll ability in Rock Band, and it was fun to let it cut loose with the guitar.
The other bright spot is the inclusion of a mini recording studio, though mastering that can be challenging. There are studio type titles that do this better, but its nice to see at least some advanced feature in this game.
However, even taking those two things into account, in the end I found Rock Revolution to be sub par in a world with two giants. Konami might have wanted their revolution to start with a bang, but Rock Revolution is more of a pathetic whimper. I think the idea is to improve on existing gameplay, not come out years too late with fewer features.