A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Band Hero is a music game with more family-friendly content compared to the songs found in the harder-edged Guitar Hero and DJ Hero games. Aside from a few sparse words that might raise an eyebrow, this game is great for kids of all ages. Some female characters move their body in a sexy way or show some "skin" but it's quite tame.
What's it about?
Rock, pop, country, and folk come together in BAND HERO, the latest in Activision’s mega-successful rhythm game franchises, following Guitar Hero and DJ Hero. As the name suggests, Band Hero lets you play guitar, bass, drums, or sing -- using plastic peripherals that resemble real-life instruments – to a set list of more than 60 No. 1 hits. Examples of the diverse set of tunes include Taylor Swift’s Love Story, Don McLean’s American Pie, Jackson 5’s ABC and Evanescence’s Bring Me To Life. Activision has added more social play options to encourage cooperative or competitive jamming -- in the same room or over the Internet -- including the ability for multiple gamers to play the same instrument, such as having two drummers and two guitarists or four singers (and an all-new karaoke-style Sing-Along mode helps there, too).
Is it any good?
Yes, but it’s no secret the market is saturated with these rhythm games -- not to mention family rooms piled high with plastic peripherals. But Band Hero attempts to stand out in its eclectic selection of hits, new playable characters (Maroon 5’s Adam Levin and Taylor Swift) and additional party modes for friends and family. Plus, the game lets you import songs from other games, such as Guitar Hero 5 (though it’s too bad it’ll cost a few dollars for the privilege). If you’re not yet burned out by these games and like the diverse set of songs and modes, Band Hero should be music to your ears.
Note: The Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of the game play out the same, but the Nintendo Wii and Nintendo DS versions offer some interoperability including the ability for Nintendo DS/DSi owners to change the band’s set list on the fly (on the Nintendo Wii), along with Wii/DS guitar competitions. Nintendo Wii owners can also import their Mii character in a freestyle mode.
Online interaction: Players can jam online with others, which means they can communicate with one another. This might be an issue for some parents because this interaction can be unpredictable.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether music games have run its course. Is the market over-saturated with dozens of rhythm games, sequels, downloadable content, and a pile of plastic peripherals? Could Band Hero be more innovative or do gamers want more of the same?
Why do you see musical instruments from real world companies in this game? Why do companies want to sell to kids?
For kids who love music
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.