“Hey! Who’s up for another Guitar Rock Band Hero Aerosmith 2 game?” asked nobody at the Tokyo Game Show 2013.
I think it’s safe to say that the general consensus in the gaming community is that everyone is pretty spent on the Rock Band, Guitar Hero music rhythm games. But you know what they say, Rock & Roll will never die. In 2011, out of the smouldering ashes of a pile of discarded plastic instrument peripherals, a game called Rocksmith by Ubisoft was released. Instead of using a plastic toy with coloured buttons that resembles a guitar, you could use an actual guitar, have to play the actual notes and if you master the song in the game, then you can go down the street, sign up for open mic night, play the song on stage, and have with sex with hundreds of attractive women who worship you as their own personal Rock God. Yes, that will happen, every guitar player knows that.
Rocksmith came out, solid idea, plenty of flaws, a latency issue, but in the end, a decent enough game full of rock & roll goodness. They continuously released new songs for download and later added the option to play the electric bass guitar as well. All in all it built up enough of a following to warrant a sequel; Rocksmith 2014.
Today at TGS I was able to play Rocksmith 2014 and I wanted to see how the new version of Rocksmith 2014 has improved and most of all, had they fixed up the latency issue that ultimately turned a great game into an okay game. But wait a minute! As were walking around the X Box booth we came across a new Xbox 360 (also multiplatform) game with the same concept as Rocksmith 2014 called Bandfuse: Rock Legends. So now the question becomes which guitar playing game is better? It’s a battle of the band… games!
Playing the demo for Rocksmith 2014, they fixed the latency problem that plagued the original Rocksmith game. And the interface while you play is improved. The view of the “notes” are still coming at you like cars on the other side of the road on a highway. But unfortunately it’s still a generic colourful background. In the original Rocksmith 2014, when you do concert mode there is a crowd cheering you on and It’s kind of fun. I didn’t see that in this specific demo but I’d assume it’s still there.
What about the contender, Bandfuse? The basic concept is the same but it ends there. Instead of the interface with a coming-at-you-like-cars approach as in Rocksmith 2014, Bandfuse has a side scrolling method that feels a little more intuitive and seems to be more similar to how you hold the guitar. So everything is moving from right to left. Also the background is actually playing the music video from the band and it’s pretty cool. A step up from Rocksmith2014 which had nothing but karaoke style lyrics playing.
I played one song on each, Walk This Way by Aerosmith for RockSmith 2014 and Rebel Yell by Billy Idol for Bandfuse. It’s hard for me to say this as I recognize that Rocksmith has taken all the risk, laid the groundwork for this kind of game and overall has done and continues to do a great job. But in this battle of the band… games, I’m going to give Bandfuse: Rock Legends the 100$ and the record deal. It felt more intuitive, was easier to pick up and get going on, and it just looked a nicer.
As a guitar player, I really like these “real guitar” games. I think they’re fantastic and it takes the dreariness and monotony out of practicing. I know that I’m going to pick up both. But if you are a beginning guitar player, and you’re interested in picking up only one of these, I’d go with the new Bandfuse: Rock Legends which comes out this October.
There actually isn’t a wrong way to go. Rocksmith 2014 is still a fine game, I just felt that in the end Bandfuse was bit easier to play right off the bat. If you really need help deciding which one to get, you can always use the song list to be the deciding factor. Rock on!