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Hands-On: 'Rock Revolution'

sjohnson
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Posted July 18, 2008 - By Stephen Johnson

If Rock Revolution had come out before Rock Band, we would have been very impressed… but it didn’t, and it’s impossible to talk about this title without comparing it to bigger music games. In short, I don’t think Rock Band or Guitar Hero World Tour will be crushed by Konami’s entry into the music-game field, but it may prove a nice alternative to the Guitar Hero and Rock Band juggernauts.

The game won’t ship with a guitar, just a drum peripheral, and the drum has six (!) pads and a kick pedal. That’s seven-inputs, friend. Check it out:

First, the good: The Revolution drum heads are “bouncier” than Rock Band’s kit, giving you nice rebound and feel. Overall, it feels more like real drums than Rock Band’s traps. (We don’t know about the new Rock Band 2 drums or the Guitar Hero World Tour: Haven’t had a chance to play them yet.) Each pad corresponds to one drum sound, unlike Rock Band and more like real drums. The placement of the “cymbals” is non-linear, like a real kit too.

While I like the non-linear pad placement for its realism, it does make playing drums more complicated. I didn’t have a lot of time to test it out so I’m not sure how it will work in the long run, but playing the Konami kit is complicated. I’m a fairly proficient Rock Band drummer—got halfway through the game on expert—but the Konami drums flummoxed me. I felt like I didn’t have enough arms and was constantly glancing down to make sure I was hitting the right pad. Practice will probably alleviate that, but there seems to be a little disconnect between the “notes” that fall on screen and the placement of the pads. The blips fall in straight lines, so the drum heads don’t correspond. It’s a little hard to instantly wrap your head around.

The charts, in this early build, seemed problematic. I played it on easy, and then tried it on medium, and maybe because of the non-linear placement of the pads or the note choices themselves, it feels more like stabbing at the right buttons and less like actually playing a drum. You don’t hit the kick every time there’s a kick in the song (at least on Medium), for example, so it’s not as much like keeping a beat. Perhaps, if you got used to the placement of the pads, it would prove fun, but I’m not sure you’d want to put up with the learning curve.

According to Konami’s rep at the show, Rock Band drums will work with Rock Revolution, so trying it out won’t require more plastic instruments and the expense thereof.

As far as song selection: They’re planning on shipping around 40 tracks with the game, running the gamut of rock from alternative to classic, most of which will be covers as opposed to master tracks. We’ll give you a list when it’s announced.

We played the PS3/360 version of this game and didn't get a chance to check out the completely different DS version or the Wii version.

Hands-On: 'Rock Revolution'
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