Power Gig: Rise of the SixString Update - Hands-On With Guitar and Drums

How does a rhythm game work with a real guitar and invisible drums?

by

Though the rhythm game market isn't in the skyrocketing phase it was in just a couple of years ago, there are still some interesting new games to be found here and there. One of the most unique of these is a full-band game set for release this fall called Power Gig: Rise of the SixString. Developed by the upstart Seven45 Studios, this game uses a guitar peripheral outfitted with real strings that pulls double duty as a game controller and a real, functional electric guitar when plugged into an amplifier. We covered the game back in March for the Game Developers Conference, and with the Electronic Entertainment Expo right around the corner, we got another chance to play Power Gig and check out the newly unveiled drum peripheral.

Power Gig certainly has the leather pants and marching band vest outfits down.

What's New: Seven45 Studios showed its drum peripheral for the first time ever, and it's more or less the polar opposite of what we had in mind. While the guitar controller is all about being as close to a real guitar as possible, both in terms of form and function, Seven45 knew it couldn't get away with that for a drum kit because of living room size constraints. So instead, it took the opposite approach. The drum kit is a compact device made up of four waffle-sized circles and a kick pedal sitting on the floor. The circles emit LED lights, which register in the drumsticks you hold in your hands to tell where the two are in relation to one another. Then the accelerometers in the sticks tell the kit when you're swinging, and the result is one of the most technologically innovative versions of air drumming to date.

Power Gig's novel AirStrike drums.

Unfortunately, we had some problems with this hardware. The main issue is that the drums are rather finicky in the way they detect where you're aiming your sticks above the circles on the ground. You kind of have to imagine an invisible cylinder sticking up from each circle and try to drum within that area, though the kit itself doesn't seem to be terribly accurate at this early stage in development. If the developers can find a way to make the peripheral more reliable, then the whole thing stands a chance of being really cool, but right now there are definitely some wrinkles to iron out.

What's Different: We had seen the guitar before, but this time we got to play it. Unsurprisingly for a functioning electric guitar, this thing has some heft to it. But the act of plucking a string with a guitar pick rather than pressing a clicky fret button makes for a much nicer tactile experience. The only problem is that those who aren't seasoned guitar players may run into some issues with sore fingers, since pressing down on thin metal strings if you don't have calluses on your fingertips can take its toll after a while. But overall, we enjoyed the guitar portion of the game--much more than the drumming.

What's The Same: Everything else about the game is the same, right on down to a visual presentation that seeks to imitate Rock Band and Guitar Hero with images of hard rockers onstage in the background while you're jamming away. The user interface could stand to be cleaned up, but for the most part, the game sports an inoffensive look.

Here they are in action.

What Impression The Game Made This Time: We like the guitar, feel a little worried about the drums, and are indifferent about the game's general style. That leaves one thing: the music. Seven45's VP of marketing took to the stage to announce three artists appearing in Power Gig who haven't been in any music games previously. We were hardly won over by the first two, Kid Rock and Dave Matthews Band, but the third artist was Eric Clapton, and anyone familiar with his guitar work knows what a steal that is for a music game. All things considered, Power Gig made a variety of impressions on us this time--some good, some not--but at the very least, it maintains its status as an interesting endeavor in the music game genre.

Discussion

30 comments
TheBlastmaster
TheBlastmaster

@ shillagan Kid Rock popular? Do you live in 2001? I have not heard kid rock's name in over 2 years other than as a possible candidate for celebrity rehab... Clapton is a legend, but the other 2 artists makes it look like this game is being targeted at the "bro's" who will enjoy this in between sack-tapping and passing around the natty ice.

guitarshank007
guitarshank007

To be honest, many people have been waiting for DMB to be featured in a rhythm game, so I'm happy with this part. I've played many of his songs myself, and some of the chords he uses are... out there. He's not one of those artists who's constantly pulling out power chords. He actually knows how to use his knowledge as a musician to find unique chords to use in his music.

robeyblade
robeyblade

I say drop the drums to keep it a) A Guitar-only game (the reason anyway is interested in this anyway) and b) to keep the price down (I'm not paying for a dysfunctional drum set that I'd never use)

246824682468
246824682468

unfortunately this game reminds me of rock revolution.....thats not a good thing

shillagan
shillagan

Yea, I have to say Kid Rock and DMB are very good snags to get picked up along with Clapton. So i disagree with that part of the review. Dmb is one of the top grossing touring bands, and not many rockers are bigger then Kid Rock atm as far as popularity.

gslimjim08
gslimjim08

what i still don't get and know one raise this question, since the guitar is compatible with rb/gh will rb/gh drum-kits be compatible with this game cause that is the only thing holding me back from this game the guitar is nice but i may have to do a comparison between what madcatz is doing for rb3

Super_Amanda
Super_Amanda

A couple months back I thought this had potential, but I knew I needed to wait to see what RB3 had in store, and they did not disappoint! Having learned a little guitar, I'm excited to jump into pro mode! But this Power Gig game is gonna just fade away quickly, but on the bright side we may get some Rock Revolution like price cuts when it doesn't sell....their only hope to get some sales is to release it ASAP, like before November!

Shattermage
Shattermage

I sense many a problem coming with that air drum idea.

davek93x
davek93x

Maybe, just maybe, if the game includes a lesson mode, you know, for actually learning the songs it includes, it could enjoy limited success as a learning tool.. Thats a feature im hoping for in Rock band 3 as well.. Really for gameplay alone this game will undoubtably be overshadowed my Rock band

davek93x
davek93x

fester is probably right.. i read about rock band 3 last night and this today.. even if the drum technology is spot on why would you want to use that over a GH/RB drumkit?? sorry i'd rather wail on pads and know im hitting the proper pad than unrealistically wail into the air hoping im hitting the right pad let alone hitting along with the beat because you know with air there is no bounce back. you probably cant even raise the sticks above your head or click 'em together to create a simple beat. i sense alot of fail there. the game even looks like Rock Rev.. To be honest i give this game a 2% chance of not being a total flop

fester420
fester420

If the setlist is good i might consider it but rock band 3 is transitioning to real guitars anyway. This will probably share the same fate as rock revolution.

Draxido25
Draxido25

I thought this game would be a good start for people who wanted to learn playing the guitar, just like drums were on RB and GH, they help a lot getting into rythm before hitting the real stuff, but watching the guitar periferal which has colored segments on the top side of the neck just like rockband's and the note chart on the gameplay screen above it seems that it doesn't matter which one of the six strings you pick as long as your finger it's on that colored segment, so it's basically the same level of challenge than the actual button fret guitars but with a slight change on the experience, unless that on higher difficulty levels the colored circles have numbers indicating the string to pick but I seriously doubt it, the note chart would be a pain to read at high speed, so experienced GH/RB guitar players will feel a little weird at first but will get used to the strings pretty soon, and the air drum thing, it'll be stupid as it sounds.

Speuj
Speuj

@ 40Dribylf Oh I totally agree... the drums are indeed spot-on and are a GREAT way to learn despite the setup being somewhat different from a real kit (size difference, drum placement, etc). That's the case for the GH and RB kits, anyway... not so sure about this one. However, you at least still learn the basic concepts of rhythm in these games... which is essential for any musician (after 15 years on guitar I still struggle with that). So, I'm not saying these games are totally useless if you want to learn... just don't expect it to be a substitute. If you go into playing this with the concept of "fun" however, then for sure! They're great games! It just bothers me that people seem to think they're a musician after simply beating one of these games on expert.

40Dribylf
40Dribylf

To Speuj: I'm a guitarist myself, although with only 4 years under my belt, but I've be a drummer for about 15 years. I play and love these games (if the games are of good quality themselves, of course) yet I am a musician working on getting his music performance degree in percussion. I play these game because I'm an avid music listener and it's cool to listen to music and play along with them, with worrying about the sound of your guitar and how much you suck. You can play along with these songs, all fun, no worrying about skill (Although I play Expert on all instruments XD)

FrankenLife
FrankenLife

Nobody is more authentic than Kid Rock. Nobody!

Speuj
Speuj

Get yourself Guitar Pro and a real guitar if you want to learn... the sound of actually playing should be stimulation enough. You don't moronic-looking 3D avatars dancing around to flashy colors to enjoy playing an instrument. Just like in every other video game, you're "pretending"... not actually "doing". The same applies to music games. That being said... if you enjoy this sort of thing, well, power to ya! As a guitarist myself, though, I can say NOTHING beats the real thing. Comparing that to a music game is like saying having sex is the same as beating off to internet porn.

ThePurpleBubble
ThePurpleBubble

Well... If you want to learn guitar through a video game, this may be your chance... Pretty cool, actually... But if you want to learn drums... well, you're gonna have to get an actual kit, and an actual teacher. ;)

rojorock
rojorock

I like the guitar idea, but I think that invisible drums is a stupid idea.

47gunner
47gunner

How does a rhythm game work with a real guitar and invisible drums? It doesnt work!

Dominuss
Dominuss

I'm kinda worried about the pricing on this one... It can't be cheap what with all the peripherals involved... that plus shipping is gonna be quite a sum...

Dominuss
Dominuss

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

pokemondude2012
pokemondude2012

i have always wondered if they would make a guitar for a game with actual strings

El_Zo1212o
El_Zo1212o

I always liked that Guitar Hero had taught you to play a fictional instrument in the same way you learn to play a real one. This has great potential.

Bobzfamily
Bobzfamily

I don't care much about the drums, I'm interested in this due to it utilizing a fully functioning guitar. I've been playing for a few years and remember how difficult I found it at first so I'm concerned about people picking up this game with no prior guitar playing experience. Power Gig might be punishing for them.

pycho22solid
pycho22solid

It's a very good idea, nice way to teach some real guitarist too, but I can see how this might just fail in terms of sales and reception.

missonrs
missonrs

I personally wish it would allow you to use a guitar you already have (i have enough crap in my living room as it is), but o well. The drums sound like a big flop to me, but the guitar sounds good. The only problem is that this could make gameplay way to complex for people with no (guitar) experience.

Strategygamer22
Strategygamer22

Wait, so are the guitar notes going to be the real song, because that would be near impossible without alot of practice. If they aren't, that alienates actual guitarists. It'd be nice if you could just plug in any electric guitar too. Good idea, but I can't see how this will work.

younglinkx
younglinkx

mmm i dont no about that invisible drum thing but that guitar idea does sound good

hedlesschickn
hedlesschickn

I"m waiting to see how good the guitar actually is. My elec got stolen a couple years ago and I'm wanting to replace it. If it's at least decent, I may end up picking it up.