Konami Gamer’s Night ’08: Rock Revolution

Given the historical relationship Konami has had with rhythm and music games in the past, it’s no wonder that they’re looking for ways to earn back the fame that games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band usurped from them. Like every little boy and girl out there, developers also crave the opportunity to be a more talented and better-looking rock star amidst their competitors. To outshine the lesser-thans in lieu of becoming the greater. And just like every child born in the good ol’ USA has a chance to become America’s Next One-hit-wonder Idol, Konami still has a chance to create Gaming’s Next Top Music Game, right?

Due sometime this fall, Konami’s newly announced game, Rock Revolution, for the Wii, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and the Nintendo DS, lets players feel like a genuine rock star as they play through a variety of classic and modern rock ballads on the drums, guitar, or bass.

Sound a little too familiar? Hit the jump to see what Konami has in store to lasso the crown for the best rhythm game back to into their court.


Guitar, Bass, and Drums. Wait, isn’t that just Rock Band without vocals?

Rock Revolution introduces an entirely new drum peripheral with six pads and a bass pedal, and in an attempt to better emulate a true drum kit, Konami has added pads for the hi-hat as well as the ride cymbal. The peripheral is designed to be more sturdy and solid than the current Rock Band drum set, so it won’t budge when you’re drumming away, and the drum pads are coated like a real practice pad to reduce the amount of sound that might bug your upstairs neighbor.

The intention is that with the addition of two extra pads, the player will truly be able to learn how to play the actual drums. When playing along on medium to a song — following a gaming interface that mimics Rock Band (with the exception of the two extra nodes) — I’ll admit that my first go was no more “feeling like a real drum player” than “feeling totally disoriented by the extra notes.” This is to be expected, however, when upgrading from a four-pad peripheral to a six-pad one, so it was hard for me to judge whether the long term gameplay consequences would actually feel more “realistic.” All of the notation is designed by professional drummers for the drum sequences, as well as professional guitar and bass players for the string sequences, with a range of five different difficulty levels to test yourself at.

The guitar and bass modes and peripherals, however, do not differ from what is already available. While the guitar peripheral used during the hands-on sessions looked to be a Guitar Hero wireless guitar, the Konami representatives would not reveal whether already available peripherals would be compatible with Rock Revolution.

Okay. So, what about the gameplay?

Players will be able to choose several modes of play, differing between the various consoles. For the Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii versions of the game, players will be able to engage in a career mode option for any one of the instruments. Career mode is meant to train the player to be a more advanced and proficient musician by gradually completing 8-track challenges per level. While some of these challenges may involve scoring high on a song, some of the tests will include unique pattern tasks, such as “Poison Note”, where the track will present harmful notes that are not part of the song in order to train you to memorize a song’s melody or beat completely. At the end of your career, you will be able to assemble your very own set list for a final performance.

Rock Revolution will also let you play together and compete with your friends online, so never fear — they’ve got that base covered, too. The DS version of Rock Revolution will feature some similar playable modes, but gameplay is re-iterated to use stylus gestures for rythym matching, and multiplayer mode can be enabled through wireless play.

Players on the Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii will also be able to spend their off-hours in Jam Mode. While Jam Mode was not displayed at the event, it will enable players to create and record up to 8 separate tracks of their own in a multi-track studio. If successfully realized, this feature may be the key to distinguishing Rock Revolution from its competitors.

But will my Rock Star experiencing their Rock Revolution truly Rock?

No customizable avatars this time around, folks. Rock Revolution features a stock of 15 different fashionable pre-designed characters to choose from, with names like Riker and Duke to verify their proper shades of rock star. The venues in the game are no less than epic, with immense backdrops such as the ballroom of a mansion, a stage beneath a city highway, or a deep purple nightclub. During my drumming demo, I noticed that the characters seemed to be a little stiff on stage during their performance, as the syncing seemed a tad off, and the guitarist’s fingers were noticeably not on the correct frets. It’d be no surprise if they were still a little nervous from all that intimidating pressure they might be picking up on from competing games.

A total of 40+ tracks will accompany the game (20+ for the DS), with a “promise” that song DLC will be available as soon as the game is released. All of the current available tracks are covers, the following of which I managed to quickly write down as we were sifting through the song list:

“All the Small Things” – Blink 182
“Sk8er Boi” – Avril Lavigne
“Dr. Feelgood” – Mötley Crüe
“Bad Reputation” – Joan Jett
“Joker & The Thief” – Wolfmother
“Pain” – Jimmy Eat World
“Paralyzer” – Finger Eleven
“Somebody Told Me” – The Killers
“Walk” – Pantera
“We’re Not Gonna Take It” – Twisted Sister
“Magic Man” – Heart
“Round and Round” – Ratt
“Pull Me Under” – Dream Theater
“Highway Star” – Deep Purple
“Cum on Feel the Noize” – Quiet Riot
“Dirty Little Secret” – The All-American Rejects

Overall, I was a bit underwhelmed by the prospect of Rock Revolution. The song selection thus far provides nothing new or refreshing in the venue of music game tunes. I also have to admit that I think not having customizable characters at this point takes the “I want to be a Rock Star” glamour away from the player’s personal gaming experience. Sure, the new drumming peripheral may turn out to be a better drumming device than what Rock Band currently offers, but with Guitar Hero on its way with its own drum kit, who’s to say this one will just go quietly unnoticed?

What do you think? Does Konami have what it will take in Rock Revolution to trump the likes of Rock Band and Guitar Hero, and successfully reclaim the music game genre?