Band Hero (Microsoft Xbox 360, 2009)
Although guitar heroics often take the lead in modern popular music, rock & roll has always been a group activity, and Activision's Band Hero aims to gets the whole crew into the act. As its title proclaims, the continuation of the genre-founding Guitar Hero series sets center stage for the whole band -- drummers and vocalists as well as lead and bass guitarists -- and is designed to let gamers play along with a diverse selection of contemporary and classic rock and pop songs, using their favorite instruments in their own style. To keep the focus on fun, Band Hero offers "No Fail" gameplay modes for instrumentalists, and a "Sing-Along" mode for karaoke-style parties, allowing players to open up and express themselves, without worrying about keeping up with progressions or scoring points. The game's "Party Play" mode allows players to drop in and out of a song at will, as the music keeps playing.<br><br>Hardcore console rockers looking for a challenge can still find it, in the game's more traditional modes of play. Bands can battle in "Rockfest" competitive modes such as "Elimination," "Do or Die," "Perfectionist," and "Pro Face Off," that can be played with up to four others on the same console, or as many as eight over an online connection. For veteran guitar heroes, the game is also compatible with previously available Guitar Hero content, with updates that allow players to perform any instrument part and take advantage of new Band Hero features with many of the earlier downloadable songs from the Guitar Hero: World Tour edition of the game. Also building upon the series' World Tour release, the high-def console editions of Band Hero include a fully featured "GHTM Studio," allowing players to remix with new samples, patterns, and playing styles.<br><br>The console disc edition of Band Hero offers more than 65 popular songs. Top-selling country crossover star Taylor Swift is prominently featured in the game, with the inclusion of three songs from her first two original albums, and the artist's performances were motion-captured to bring her in-game persona realistically to life. Guitarist and singer Adam Levine of Maroon 5 was motion-captured, as well, for his appearance in the game as a playable character. Band Hero's play-along soundtrack also includes timeless tracks such as David Bowie's "Let's Dance," Devo's "Whip It," the Jackson 5's "ABC," "Mr. Roboto" from Styx, and original hit singles from a diverse selection of artists, including Aly and AJ, Cheap Trick, Fall Out Boy, the Go-Gos, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Roy Orbison, Tonic, the Village People, and many others.