Previews

Rock Band

We rock with the band sim that will just keep on giving.. until the peripherals break

People, i.e. Xbox World 360's production editor Jem, argue that Guitar Hero is a waste of time; that players should just learn how to play the guitar instead. But when was the last time you recall someone picking up a guitar, cramming 60 notes' worth of lessons into one day and rocking out to Freebird's solo before the stroke of midnight? Didn't think so. But with Rock Band there's an even greater incentive to play - it will actually teach you the skills to play a real drum kit. Result!

The prototype drums we glimpsed were reassuringly sturdy - after all, you can't start bashing the hell out of something if it's held together with twine and glue. The mechanics are very similar to GHII, but here each drum is colour coded and the pedal acts as a fifth note.

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Starting on Hard was a mistake as we promptly flailed about unsuccessfully, but as poor players are now 'resurrected' if the rest of the band performs well, we were promptly thrown back into the fray. It's a neat system that keeps songs flowing and doesn't heavily penalise groups with a weaker member. Which will be most of them.

BORN TO ROCK
Of course, if it's singing that floats your boat there's still plenty on offer, and for those lyricless bits, you'll need to tap along with the rhythm to keep the crowd all pumped up and hungry for more.

Harmonix have teamed up with music guru Steven Van Zandt (he's responsible for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band... and plays Silvio in The Sopranos, fact fans) to choose the very best tracks, including songs from The Who, Foo Fighters, The Hives, Metallica and more.

In fact, over 100 extra songs, including full albums, should be made available on Marketplace within a year of launch, so there will be plenty of choice to cater for most tastes. We're liking the look of this... a lot.

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