There is no required special mode to play around with different amp tones because you can hear your guitar while in every menu of the game, not just when you're playing a song. You can also control the speed and difficulty manually for every song at all times, and when you do poorly there aren’t any annoying noises or sounds of a crowd booing to take away from the experience. Unlike games that overlook the vocal aspect and incorporate it as an afterthought, Bandfuse: Rock Legends allows you to use amp tones to modify your vocal styling as well as your guitar. Couple that with the fact that every song is accompanied by the original music video and you've got one kick-ass karaoke machine.
Better yet, the notes are displayed in a traditional tablature format most guitarists should be familiar with, especially if you ever used websites like ultimateguitartabs.com to look up how to play a song. The six-string display scrolls from right to left with each string displayed in front of you from the low E-string on the bottom all the way up to the high E-string. Having come off of primarily playing Rocksmith the past year, it was a little difficult for me to adjust back to reading traditional tabs, but within the span of about twenty minutes I got the hang of it. All I had to do was lower the difficulty setting for a bit to get a feel of where a majority of notes were in a song before rasing the difficulty and continuing.
The notes in the tab layout are also color-coded in reference to the Rock Band guitar controller so that it will be familiar to the players coming from that background. So you not only get a designated number telling you which fret and string to play a note on, but you also have a color associated with it that will let you know which finger to use when playing it. This function will help get players used to proper hand placement and movement when playing different songs.
Other features that I particularly liked were the practice modes. You can break up each section of a song and practice them individually however you want by controlling the speed more freely than any game has every allowed before. The Note for Note mode was the one I liked the most—a no-frills playback mode that stops each time you miss a note and waits for you to play it correctly. There’s also a series of Skills Lab videos that show a real guitarist performing certain basic and advanced techniques, so you can see the full view of how someone normally performes them accompanied by a slowed-down view displaying the exact hand motions that are necessary. The videos in this section have a unique personal style to them I appreciated, especially since I’m used to getting most of my guitar tips from YouTube videos these days.
Bandfuse is exactly what guitar players of any skill level should be looking to buy if they want to work their way up or just hone their talents. Considering that Bandfuse: Rock Legends is incredibly accessible and can be played with up to four players from the start—two guitars, one bass, and a vocalist—you’ll be well on your way to a proper jam session if you get this game when it launches this Fall holiday season on Xbox 360 and PS3.