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BandFuse: Rock Legends  



E3: I'm an official BandFuse: Rock Legends groupie


2:30 PM on 06.09.2012
E3: I'm an official BandFuse: Rock Legends groupie photo



Does the market really need another guitar game, and one that teaches you how to play guitar at that?

The answer is "yes." I'll tell you why in only two words: Zakk Wylde.

Given that Rocksmith and Rock Band 3 have opened new avenues for learning how to legitimately play guitar, drawing comparisons between the systems is inevitable. Personally, I've only played Rocksmith, as I'd hoped to hone some long-neglected skills from childhood.

As a teaching tool, BandFuse: Rock Legends by far surpasses Rocksmith. While Rocksmith didn't seem to care about providing a user-friendly interface, BandFuse always keeps the beginner in mind. Having formally studied music and self taught an instrument here and there, I know a good beginner's music tutorial when I see one.

BandFuse does the player a huge favor by arranging the virtual guitar neck horizontally instead of vertically, as it more closely mimics the reading of sheet music. It also has both the chord and tablature markings, encouraging the player is learn music theory as they go along (a healthy amount of teaching materials are also provided). The interface is bright and inviting, lending itself to a user friendliness that will likely be more comfortable to new players.

And if that weren't enough to establish this game's superiority, a number of celebrity guitar gods have been recruited to tutor and motivate the player as they work through the game's music genres, from Slash (its main instructor) to Nancy Wilson from Heart, to Zakk Wylde from Black Label Society.

A large emphasis is placed on training in particular guitar playing styles that suit the player's interests and needs. Whether you want to learn blues or rockabilly, there's a set of songs and lessons established specifically for it. Instructional recordings from a wide range of professional guitarists are also on hand to provide guidance in the chosen style. In fact, watching the company CEO play -- let me tell ya, the man can shred -- I got the impression that on a functional level, the game is more responsive.

I had to give up Rocksmith within a mere month; many of the notes eventually refused to register. I originally attributed it to lack of tendon strength, but having seen BandFuse: Rock Legends, I have my doubts. Maybe I wasn't willing to admit that Rocksmith had a crappy response time (and not the best equipment). That the developers spent at least seven figures on the note detection technology may also be a major factor.

The game could have easily stopped there and still maintained its superiority over other instructional guitar games, but instead, they expanded the fun by having a number of additional modes, including a tour mode where your band pursues rock stardom by performing local gigs and expanding across the map as they increase their popularity.

Players can also record their own songs! The Studio Mode will allow you to record and layer up to four different parts. As the game will support vocals, bass, guitar, and eventually drums and keyboard, the potential is astronomical. Finished recordings can even be shared across social networks through the game's menu. All performances, in fact, are recorded and can be played over in a collaboration for up to four parts.

Another feature -- probably my favorite -- let's you assign players to the game's many supported instruments and form a band. You can name the band, use them in the tour mode, and save them for future play sessions. Leaderboards and achievements will also be available.

If you're already a bit of a guitarist and don't need to be babied through the basic chord progressions, you'll be happy to know that the game can be easily picked up by those who already have skill, as well. Your guitar and microphone will easily plug directly into the system with a special adapter, thus negating any need to buy fancy new equipment (though by all means, do so if you must).

Downloadable content is definitely in the works -- both paid and free -- and will include songs, videos, and learning materials. The game is fully finished and right now the developers are aiming for an end-of-the year release on Xbox 360.








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