When I rented out Rock Revolution from my store last week, my co-worker said, “I must be obsessed with guitar games for renting out that piece of ****.” I replied to him that I do it so I can review it, and make a comparison to the three guitar games out there, so I plopped myself down and fired up the game, ready for whatever experience they throw at me.
Then I plopped back up a few hours later, wanting to burn the disc in front of me for being so terrible. Thank god I got to play this for free, only a moron would pay for this crap to begin with. So if you sadly are one of those morons, do yourself a favor and turn away, I am going to be extra harsh to a very bad game that has few redeeming qualities.
Konami’s attempt to catch lightning in a bottle with the guitar craze is really poorly made, thanks to gameplay and aesthetic choices that, while designed to set it apart from the two giants, Guitar Hero and Rock Band, fail to make a good game that people will play. Almost everything in the package reeks of a “high quality’ rush-job, it’s almost embarrassing that it was put out.
The game allows you to play drums, bass, or guitar only (with vocals sorely lacking) through a large career mode and quickplay sessions, as well as an online session and song-recording mode. It is basically the bare bones of Guitar Hero: World Tour, which I already reviewed as an average game. Rock Revolution takes all of the fundamentals and cocks it up to the point where you can barely recognize what your doing.
The cardinal sin here is the old school style note scrolls. Instead of using the tested and well-proved forward note scrolling, Rock Revolution has a top-down, flat note scroll, making it impossible for you to precisely hit every note unless you have the hand eye coordination of Maverick Mitchell. It also doesn’t help that the notes are really ****ing small, to the point where you can’t even tell which are the hammer-on’s and pull-offs, let alone regular notes.
Another design choice gameplay wise was the career modes progression. In an attempt to make things semi-real, you had to play through a set of four songs at each level, as the difficulty rises. You also need to play two “challenge” modes, a poorly implemented feature that makes the game unnecessarily long, (as if it wasn’t long enough.) to earn a platinum album. These challenges would have been fine and innovative if they weren’t so retarded though. The only one worth a damn was the difficulty challenge, which increases the difficulty at certain points in the song. Being an expert player that wasn’t a problem, but the others were just putrid examples of what not to do with a rhythm game.
The poison-note challenge was a pain because it add notes that you can’t play, and since the notes are scrolling quickly on a shitty track from the top to the bottom, and you have almost zero reaction time to even hit the damn notes, you will likely miss chords on purpose just to avoid losing life. Another pain was the memory game. They have you play a section over a few times and then try by memory to hit ALL THE FUCKING NOTES that are now invisible. I know some people can memorize an entire song without looking, but again, because of the gameplay design it is really hard to accurately hit everything.
And scoring is no help either, to let you know how you’re doing. I noticed that despite hitting 97% on “Blitzkrieg Bop” I got 3 ****ing stars for it, which really was mind blowing if you ask me. I played it again and noticed something strange; the multiplier only goes up a spot if you get a “perfect” hit. It’s like in the arcades with those DDR games that all those spastic Asians play, if you don’t hit a perfect your score will be low, and the score ties into your star count. That really pissed me off from a design standpoint, because feedback from the score is how one can improve, knowing what you miss and what you “sort of hit” is too much and really ridiculous in a game like this. I also thing using the games “star power” is a waste, because it seems to fill up whenever it wants and lasts for about two seconds before going away. I guess it was embarrassed to be invited to this band’s gig, and wanted to slip out as quickly as possible into some obscure gameplay mechanic that doesn’t help much with the overall score.
And just like Guitar Hero, the sound recording sessions are limited in what you can make in terms of length, sound and complexity. Add to that poor gameplay and you have an even crappier version of the sound studio in World Tour, one that is only worth using for the achievement whores out there. (Who will play this game for an extra 1,000 points anyway, ****ing whores.)
I will say this, if the game does have one saving grace, it is their stadium arenas. The only venues worth a damn are the major concerts you put on, where you can pick and choose songs from your “albums” and play them back-to-back to back, for an ongoing score. While it is tiresome to play the songs back to back, it makes it more real and is really kind of fun. And from a guitar standpoint, these venues are a blast because they give you “freestyle” sections where at a certain point in the song you can just rock out like crazy, mimicking the solo or making your own. THAT is the only real bright spot of playing, and if nothing else, I hope to see this in the big two sometime soon as well.
Graphically, the game is actually ok. It’s not horrendous, but it’s not pretty either. It is more ground in realism then anything else, and while the characters look real enough, they still act like automatons onstage. The venues are also fairly boring, and the crowds look like they were copied and pasted over and over again, but that’s not a new complaint anyway.
The sound is perhaps the most disappointing. While there are some gems to be found in the soundtrack (“Cum on Feel the Noize” “Pain” and “Am I Evil” come to mind.) all the songs are covers. Two years ago this wouldn’t matter, but the growth of the rhythm game industry has made this obsolete. What’s worse is that the covers are really terrible. It’s like they got three guys and a girl from the janitorial staff at Konami and asked them to sing for the mics. Almost all of the songs are unbearable, with some exceptions. It also doesn’t help much that over half of the list has been released in other games, with master recordings of them as well.
Well we can finally say that the rhythm genre has a whipping boy, as Rock Revolution is as pure of a turd as you can get. The few redeeming qualities it has are overshadowed by the putrid design choices that flaw the entire gaming experience as a whole. Please, do yourself a favor and avoid this game. And if you have it, destroy it so it doesn’t take up space next to E.T. After all, we wouldn’t want to insult a classic.
Final Score- D