Get your Rock on

You may already be a Guitar Hero, but can you back that up with bass, drums and even vocals? Rock Band allows gamers to try out being four different members of the band as they play along to classic rock songs — many of which are performed by the original artists.


 

Rock Band — Special Edition
Publisher: EA/MTV Games
Platforms:
PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2
Reviewed on: PlayStation 3
Rated: T
— Teen
Game type: Music
Rating: **** 1/2 (out of five)

 


What’s the premise?

 

You may already be a Guitar Hero, but can you back that up with bass, drums
and even vocals? Rock Band allows gamers to try out being four different members
of the band as they play along to classic rock songs — many of which are
performed by the original artists.

 


This game is most similar to…?


Guitar Hero, Karaoke Revolution.



Is it suitable for younger gamers?


There’s some naughty lyrics in some of the songs that might put some parents
off, but more importantly, I just don’t think younger kids could keep up with
the pace of most of the ditties and have much success.



One player or more?


The Special Edition comes packed with guitar and drums controllers, along
with a microphone, so you’re all set to invite over a couple of friends to form
a trio. You can also rock out online on the PS3 and Xbox 360.



What’s missing?


The original studio version of Radiohead’s Creep. “You’re so very special?”
Sheesh!



The (not-so) secret to success is…?


Try and remember that you’re not the Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl and you likely
cannot play any instrument and sing in perfect tune. It will take a while to
learn how to use all of these devices (although those familiar with Guitar Hero
and/or Karaoke Revolution will be ahead of the game), so be patient.



And in the end?


It’s not revolutionary, but Rock Band is still a guaranteed crowd
pleaser.


Cranium Kabookii
Publisher: Ubisoft
Platforms: Wii
Rated: E —
Everyone
Game type: Party
Rating: *** (out of five)



What’s the premise?


It’s all of the excitement of the best-selling board game, Cranium — on your
Wii. Use your Wii-mote to play along with 15 different activities ranging from
trivia to word puzzles to charades.



This game is most similar to…?


Ummm… Cranium?



Is it suitable for younger gamers?


The game can be played by people of all ages, however the often-finicky
controls will no doubt encourage kids to get back to Super Mario Galaxy in a
hurry.



One player or more?


Cranium Kabookii is a definite party game. Honestly, there’s no point even
trying to play it by yourself.



What’s missing?


The use of the Wii-mote for many of the activities isn’t nearly as intuitive
as it could have been.



The (not-so) secret to success is…?


Choose a smart partner before the game begins.



And in the end?


Cranium Kabookii is a fine rental game for that Friday night you want to stay
in, but not really much of a keeper.


 
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