Deprived of football this past weekend, the husband and I resorted to a more traditional form of entertainment similar to that enjoyed by the pilgrims so many years ago: we rocked the house with Rock Band for the Xbox 360. Yup, after selling back 49 games, searching the couch for loose change and prostituting the cat, we were able to purchase this grand entertainment and engage in our long-held fantasy of being Meg and Jack White – but without the fake sibling part because that would be super weird.
Let me just get straight to the point here and say, this is a fabulous game. The fact that it allows you to play drums, guitar, bass or sing ensures limitless possibilities that I’m guessing will stave off game boredom for months and months. There’s nothing worse than mastering a game within a few hours (not that I’ve ever done that but I’ve heard stories) and having nowhere else to go with the experience. There is so much variety involved in playing this game – and so many songs, touring options, challenges and more – to take part in that it is well worth the rather hefty price tag. It has great multiplayer options and still allows you to have a ball going solo.
And best of all, for the non-musically inclined like myself, it is the closest we’re ever going to get to feeling competent with an instrument. One of my secret lifelong dreams was to drum, a dream that was dashed into a million pieces when I discovered I didn’t even have the rhythm necessary to keep my heart beating in perfect time. (I feel it lags on the quarter notes.) But joy of joys, Rock Band solves that problem with an easy-to-follow color-coding system that’s very similar to Guitar Hero and other music/rhythm games. Truly, when I was grooving on Gimme Shelter, I had visions of kicking Charlie Watts’ ass in a drum-off. He’d just have to agree to play on Easy.
The game is great, too, for duos or larger groups of people. Of course, we never have people over so I can’t truly attest to that last part, but for two people who are social shut-ins, it was awesome. We took turns playing guitar, bass and drums. And the cool part is that if someone starts bombing on their part, the other person can “save” their partner by kicking their own performance into higher gear.
So far, there are really only a few downsides to the game. First, on occasion, the instrument connections will randomly fail when starting up the system. It never happened during gameplay, but it did make getting set up kind of irritating. Also, you really need to be hooked up to Xbox Live to get the full effect of the game, which is kind of a drag if you’re like us and don’t have wireless. The game also requires you to play at increasingly higher levels of difficulty in order to win fans and unlock more gigs, which can be very frustrating if you’re not a fast learner. (Raising hand here…) That caveat forced us on more than one occasion to have my husband play on Expert while I kept plodding along on Easy, just to earn points.
Overall, though, I heart this game in a true and passionate manner reminiscent of the love Oprah and Stedman once shared. It is fabulous on so many levels and is just an absolute blast to play.
One last word of advice, if you do decide to buy this game, please stretch for a good five minutes or so before sitting down to the drums. Just trust me on this one. I didn’t, and I’m hobbling around like Tom Brady today all because of a Rock Band-inflicted hamstring injury. It’s incredibly embarrassing yet totally worth it. And that, my friends, is always the sign of a good time.