Rock Band: Now with added drumsticks

September 30, 2008 § Leave a comment

The best thing about playing drums in Rock Band by Harmonix is just how much the drums manage to replicate their real-life counterparts. Rather than trying to emulate the 15 frets and 6 strings of your standard electric guitar with a measly 5 buttons (4 on medium, not counting additional soloing keys) the drum kit comes much closer with 5 drums, which could quite easily make up a real drum kit.

However this tight bond with real drums also extends to difficulty and in this respect the drumming side of Rock Band has a steep learning curve, forcing you to quickly get your head around the initially quite complex coordination required to drum. Fortunately though once you meander up this minor hill you’ll find yourself with an instrument that’s going to be funner to play than any plastic guitar.

My first reservations about the drum notation onscreen were instantly blown away as soon as our first song (Say it Ain’t So by Weezer if you must know) loaded up on the screen in a cacophony of feedback and cheering. Each of the four drum pads has a corresponding column on screen – much like the guitar notes – with the bass drum (the pedal) coming in the form of lines spread across the entire display (not the entire screen mind, just the drums portion of it). This interface makes everything incredibly easy to use and understand, something which is essential when later songs require you to concentrate more on coordination rather than note-reading.

Just like in real life however the drums do have a tendency to drown out the rest of the band by virtue that they’re the only instrument where you’re forced to actively hit a part of it. When playing with the television set to full volume this doesn’t pose a problem, but playing in the front room of a house in the middle of suburbia I found at times I had to soften the impact of stick on pad to keep from losing my place in the ensemble. Still though, the mere fact that I was indeed going to town on a plastic drum kit should be indication enough of just how much of a badass this game makes you feel.

If you’ve never picked up a pair of your drumsticks in your life before Rock Band it will initially be difficult to get to grips with. Bear in mind though that this is a consiquence of just how close the game is to a real kit, great rewards will come with with practise and perseverance, and you’ll soon find yourself loving the most hated of all instruments.

“Mummy mummy” a child once said, “when I grow up I want to be a drummer!”

“Nonsense,” his mother replied, “you can’t do both.”

With Rock Band however, I see no need to do the latter.

Peace out

Jon

Oh and by the way, if it’s a crazy rumour you’re after, try the rumoured PS4 system specs. Is that crazy enough for you?

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