2.5

Quite simply, Rock Revolution in new clothes.

I went in buying this game knowing full well that it was not going to be a direct competitor to Rock Band or Guitar Hero, but I thought that it would be somewhat fun, especially since the company invested a lot of time in developing an actual stringed guitar to use. Even if the game was sub-par, the guitar would be fun to play with anyway.

Sadly, I was mistaken. I should have taken the sign that no reviews existed online that the game was no good...if Seven45 Studios knew they had a potential winner on their hands, they would have sent out pre-release copies to all of the media outlets they could. Instead, all I could find online were months-old previews that never really went into any detail. And, after trying this game out and seeing how awful it is, I can understand why they wanted to keep things quiet in order to pull in those who were impressed by what they'd head from trade shows. Of course, the associate at the game store was gung-ho for me to drop the cash on it, so he was nothing but positive when I mentioned my apprehension.

Essentially, this game is very close in presentation to Rock Revolution. The menus are very simplistic, the note highway scrolls from top to bottom and lacks any visual flair, the venues and characters are bland as can be, there's some sort of unique-but-ultimately-lame gameplay tweaks that detract from the fun, and there's even a crappy air-drum controller available.

The tracklist is pretty awful from the start. There were more bands on there that I didn't recognize than ones that I knew. It's got some tracks that sound like they'd be fun to play, but they're locked away in the "story" mode. Which I would have really tried to play, had it not been for...

Calibration issues. I have never, ever ran into any sort of issue involving video or audio lag with any rhythm game before. However, tweak as I may, I just could not get anything in this game to match up visually or audibly. It was a frustrating case of trial-and-error that I was never able to resolve.

And then we have the guitar itself. It's a controller-sized instrument, so the frets are smaller and the neck has a very small circumference. That would be suspected, I suppose. But the fretboard sensors that allow the controller to work as a gaming peripheral are terrible. I could barely get the thing to recognize what "button" I was pressing, and the strumming action on the strings was shoddy at best. I didn't even make it halfway into my first song before I turned it off and went back to my Guitar Hero controller.

So after trying the game, I thought I'd try to actually play the guitar as an instrument. The strings would not hold tune at all. I'd tune them up, and the tuner would say they were right, but when the strings were fretted, it was completely out of whack. Nothing sounded right. I understand that this is a plastic instrument and not a full guitar, but one would think that it would at least act as a decent instrument. No dice. In the midst of loosening and tuning the strings, one broke. I'm sure they're cheap, and I'm gonna try replacing them with some name-brand strings, but I'm not holding out much hope.

All in all, this was a complete bust. Maybe give a rent for some easy Cheevos, but I'd avoid buying it until it's in the bargain bins if you're even mildly interested. I wish I would have. I don't even know if I'll ever play it again.

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