What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that even though there are some mildly offensive lyrics, this game is appropriate for players 10 and older (despite the "Teen" rating). Some songs have offensive words bleeped out, while other lyrics are kept as-is, such as The Hives' "Main Offender" ("I'm stuck in ways of being an ass"). This game is best for social settings since players get different instruments to play. It can also be played online, which Common Sense Media doesn't recommend for anyone under age 12.
What's it about?
Similar to the Guitar Hero games, ROCK BAND players form a band and work their way up from rags to riches by pleasing fans and racking up points, and then unlocking bigger and bigger venues. In front of the animated band performing on stage is a kind of giant guitar fret board with a camera that sails down it as the song plays to show players which notes/drums to hit at certain points in the song. Color-coded buttons on the guitar neck and drum pads must be hit at the correct time, while the singer must follow the karaoke-style lyrics to hit the right note at the right time, for the proper length of that note. Play well and the virtual crowd cheers you on, but fumble too many times and you might just get booed offstage.
Is it any good?
The soundtrack in Rock Band is extraordinary, featuring nearly 60 classic and newer rock songs, mostly from the original bands. Highlights include The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again," David Bowie's "Suffragette City," Blue Oyster Cult's "Don't Fear the Reaper," The Ramones' "Blitzkrieg Bop," Nirvana's "In Bloom," and Bon Jovi's "Wanted Dead or Alive." Adding to its replayability, new songs can be downloaded each week for a couple bucks apiece. You can go with the pre-built musicians or use the integrated tools to create your own by selecting from hundreds of options.
Rock Band is the ultimate party game, best enjoyed with a group of friends. It's one of the most accessible and enjoyable games in recent memory, for all ages. Music fans, run -- don't walk -- to pick up Rock Band today.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how the developer built on a popular concept -- Guitar Hero -- and expanded on it by adding drums, bass, and vocals. What does this game teach you about being in a rock band? Does it seem easy or do you have a new appreciation for the work that goes into becoming a good rock band?