Band Hero is a spinoff video game as part of the Guitar Hero series of music rhythm games, released by Activision on November 3, 2009, for the PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii and Nintendo DS consoles. The game is structurally similar to Guitar Hero 5, and supports full band play (lead and bass guitar, drums, and vocals) including the drop-in/drop-out and in-song instrument and difficulty change menus, and additional multiplayer modes as Guitar Hero 5. The console versions use instrument-shaped game controllers, while the DS version uses either the "Guitar Grip" introduced with the Guitar Hero: On Tour series or a new Drum Skin that comes with the game. Like previous games, virtual avatars of Taylor Swift, Adam Levine, and the band No Doubt are presented in the game. The PlayStation 2 version is based on Guitar Hero World Tour, using the same gameplay UI as Guitar Hero: Metallica, Guitar Hero: Smash Hits and Guitar Hero: Van Halen, albeit with a different Rock Meter design.

Band Hero
The game's logo "Band Hero" sits in the center of a white background, with a rainbow of colors beams going out to the edges; figures of a guitar, drum kit, and microphone are placed around the logo within the rainbow color scheme. Text details about the game (included bands and songs) are listed at the bottom right of the box.
Vicarious Visions (DS & Wii)
SeriesGuitar Hero
Platform(s)Nintendo DS, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Wii, Xbox 360
  • NA: November 3, 2009
  • EU: November 6, 2009
  • AU: November 25, 2009
Genre(s)Music, rhythm
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Band Hero received mixed reviews from journalists. Some considered the game to be an appropriately flavored version of Guitar Hero 5 for the "Top 40" pop rock hits, while others felt the game was strictly aimed at teenagers or children. They also contested the cost of the full game, featuring only 65 songs compared with 85 songs in Guitar Hero 5, and considered if the content would have been better in downloadable form. A day after the game's release, the band No Doubt sued Activision, citing similar misuse of their avatars to the Kurt Cobain avatar in Guitar Hero 5.

Gameplay edit

Main version edit

The game is functionally similar to the features of Guitar Hero 5, including bands composed of any combination of four instruments, drop-in/drop-out play, in-song menus to change difficulty and instrument, and additional multiplayer modes compared to Guitar Hero 5's "Rockfest". Band Hero also retains the Band Moment and the Band Revival feature from Guitar Hero 5.[1] Taylor Swift, Adam Levine (of Maroon 5), and the band No Doubt are playable avatars in the game.[2][3][4][5] Artists performed motion capture for their in-game avatars.

Band Hero also introduced an updated revision of the drum kit that shipped with Guitar Hero World Tour. Many changes were made to address weight and size concerns that made assembly difficult, and the stand's crossbar was moved to the bottom to improve leg room and allow the bass pedal to be supported by it. The cymbals were changed to a circular shape from the previous triangular design, and the sensitivity of the drums themselves were adjusted. An in-game sensitivity adjustment feature is also supported. In the United States, the new controller was, for a limited time, exclusive to the game and instrument bundles of Band Hero on Wii. The Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of the controller were released at a later date; Band Hero bundles for these platforms in the U.S. included the World Tour drum controller.[6]

DS version edit

The "drum skin" for the Nintendo DS Lite is used to allow Band Hero players to simulate the console-based version of drumming.

Band Hero for the Nintendo DS features the ability to play the same instruments as the console-based versions. Though the game is compatible with the DS, DS Lite, and DSi, only players on the DS Lite will receive the "full band" experience due to the nature of the hardware extensions for the unit.

Guitar and bass parts are played with the same "Guitar Grip" previously created for the Guitar Hero: On Tour series, though this unit will not work on the Nintendo DSi and Nintendo 3DS due to lack of a GBA slot. The gameplay for guitar and bass is considered to be the fourth iteration of the Guitar Hero On Tour design by developers Vicarious Visions, and have further improvements to meet with different strumming styles.[7]

A new "drum skin" that fits over the bottom half of the DS unit provides four "pads" for drumming that map to the unit's directional pad and face buttons; this design was selected over use of the touch screen due to the inability of the touch screen to recognize near-simultaneous taps, a factor that would have interfered with the drumming experience.[7] The drum skin is limited to the Nintendo DS Lite due to the skin's form factor. The decision to design towards the DS Lite rather than the newer DSi was due to the much larger volume of DS Lite units that have been sold relative to the DSi.[8]

The DS microphone is used for vocal parts. The DS has 30 of the songs from console versions. The game also supports up to four player multiplayer in a similar manner as Guitar Hero 5 using the DS's local wireless connections, allowing any combination of instruments.[9]

Development edit

A television advertisement, featuring Taylor Swift, Pete Wentz (Fall Out Boy), Travis Barker (Blink-182), and Rivers Cuomo (Weezer), was created for the game by director Brett Ratner in the same manner as previous ads for other recent Guitar Hero games, initially paying tribute to the scene in Risky Business with Tom Cruise dancing in his underwear to the song "Old Time Rock and Roll". Though it appears as if all four performed together, Wentz stated that Swift performed her parts separately using a green screen to impose her into the footage of the other musicians.[10]

A three-song demo was made available on Xbox Live on October 15, 2009, and included "Paralyzer" by Finger Eleven, "Picture to Burn" by Taylor Swift and "Walking on Sunshine" by Katrina and the Waves. The demo was solely the Party Mode, with the three songs playable in random order.[11]

Soundtrack edit

Console soundtrack edit

Band Hero for consoles features 65 songs from "mainstream acts".[12][13] The game also allowed Guitar Hero World Tour’s downloadable content to be used within Band Hero, as well as Guitar Hero 5.[1] In addition, some on-disc songs from Guitar Hero World Tour and Guitar Hero Smash Hits were importable into Band Hero, with music licensing limiting those that can be transferred, prior to the 2014 shutdown of DLC and exports.[14] Furthermore, 69 of the 85 on-disc songs from Guitar Hero 5 can be imported into Band Hero; similarly, 61 of the 65 songs from Band Hero can be exported for use in Guitar Hero 5 and Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock.[15][16] All DLC works with Band Hero, along with all earlier on-disc songs marked as exportable, unlike Lego Rock Band which only allows DLC and exports marked as "family friendly".

Year Song Title Artist Venue Genre Order Exportable
2005 "A Million Ways" OK Go 01. Mall Of Fame Tour Pop Rock 4 Yes
1970 "ABC" Jackson 5The Jackson 5 02. Smoke & Water Festival R & B 14 Yes
1971 "American Pie" Don McLean 11. Hyperspace Classic Rock 65 Yes
1996 "Angels of the Silences" Counting Crows 07. Everpop Awards Pop Rock 43 Yes
2009 "Back Again" Parachute 09. Paris Pop Rock 58 Yes
1981 "Bad Reputation" Joan Jett 03. Club La Noza Rock 21 Yes
2004 "Beautiful Soul" Jesse McCartney 07. Everpop Awards Pop 44 No
2007 "Believe" The Bravery 02. Smoke & Water Festival Rock 9 Yes
1990 "Black Cat" Janet Jackson 05. Harajuku Rock 34 Yes
2005 "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" KT Tunstall 09. Paris Rock 56 Yes
2003 "Bring Me to Life" Evanescence 01. Mall Of Fame Tour Industrial 5 Yes
2005 "Dirty Little Secret" The All-American Rejects 03. Club La Noza Pop Punk 15 Yes
1982 "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me" Culture Club 01. Mall Of Fame Tour New Wave 2 Yes
1995 "Don't Speak" No Doubt 07. Everpop Awards Pop Rock 47 Yes
1988 "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" Poison 05. Harajuku Rock 29 Yes
2008 "Fascination" Alphabeat 07. Everpop Awards Pop 45 Yes
2008 "Gasoline" The Airborne Toxic Event 10. Amp Orbiter Rock 61 Yes
2003 "Hands Down" Dashboard Confessional 08. Red River Canyon Pop Rock 50 Yes
2007 "Hang Me Up to Dry" Cold War Kids 01. Mall Of Fame Tour Modern Rock 1 Yes
1967 "Happy Together" The Turtles 01. Mall Of Fame Tour Rock 3 Yes
1969 "Honky Tonk Women" The Rolling Stones 04. Summer Park Festival Southern Rock 27 Yes
1968 "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" Marvin Gaye 02. Smoke & Water Festival R & B 13 Yes
1979 "I Want You to Want Me" (Live) Cheap Trick 06. La Luz De Madrid Rock 40 Yes
1996 "If You Could Only See" Tonic 03. Club La Noza Pop Rock 18 Yes
1983 "In a Big Country" Big Country 06. La Luz De Madrid Rock 38 Yes
1995 "Just a Girl" No Doubt 09. Paris Pop Rock 59 Yes
2000 "Kids" Robbie Williams and Kylie Minogue 09. Paris Dance 57 Yes
1974 "Kung Fu Fighting" Carl Douglas 08. Red River Canyon Disco 51 Yes
2008 "L.E.S. Artistes" Santigold 03. Club La Noza Pop Rock 16 Yes
1983 "Let's Dance" David Bowie 01. Mall Of Fame Tour Pop Rock 6 Yes
2009 "Lifeline" Papa Roach 09. Paris Pop Rock 60 Yes
2007 "Like Whoa" Aly & AJ 08. Red River Canyon Pop 52 No
2006 "Lips of an Angel" Hinder 02. Smoke & Water Festival Pop Rock 10 Yes
1983 "Love Is a Battlefield" Pat Benatar 05. Harajuku Pop 31 Yes
2008 "Love Story" (Pop Mix) Taylor Swift 04. Summer Park Festival Pop 26 Yes
1983 "Mr. Roboto" Styx 04. Summer Park Festival Prog Rock 28 No
2006 "Naïve" The Kooks 10. Amp Orbiter Pop Rock 62 Yes
2003 "Ocean Avenue" Yellowcard 05. Harajuku Pop Punk 30 Yes
1964 "Oh, Pretty Woman" Roy Orbison 01. Mall Of Fame Tour Rock 7 Yes
1981 "Our Lips Are Sealed" The Go-Go's 02. Smoke & Water Festival Pop 12 Yes
2007 "Paralyzer" Finger Eleven 06. La Luz De Madrid Hard Rock 39 Yes
2006 "Picture to Burn" Taylor Swift 08. Red River Canyon Country 53 Yes
2007 "Pictures of You" The Last Goodnight 04. Summer Park Festival Pop Rock 23 Yes
2006 "Put Your Records On" Corinne Bailey Rae 05. Harajuku R & B 32 Yes
1982 "Rio" Duran Duran 08. Red River Canyon Pop Rock 55 Yes
2002 "Rock Star" N.E.R.D. 02. Smoke & Water Festival Hip Hop 11 Yes
1995 "Santa Monica" Everclear 03. Club La Noza Pop Rock 19 Yes
2004 "She Will Be Loved" Maroon 5 05. Harajuku Pop Rock 33 Yes
2003 "So Yesterday" Hilary Duff 02. Smoke & Water Festival Pop 8 No
1999 "Steal My Kisses" Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals 04. Summer Park Festival Alternative 25 Yes
2005 "Sugar, We're Goin Down" Fall Out Boy 05. Harajuku Pop Punk 35 Yes
1999 "Take a Picture" Filter 07. Everpop Awards Rock 46 Yes
2008 "Take Back the City" Snow Patrol 04. Summer Park Festival Rock 24 Yes
2006 "Take What You Take" Lily Allen 03. Club La Noza Pop Rock 20 Yes
2006 "The Adventure" Angels & Airwaves 06. La Luz De Madrid Rock 42 Yes
1997 "The Impression That I Get" The Mighty Mighty Bosstones 10. Amp Orbiter Ska Punk 64 Yes
2001 "Turn Off the Light" Nelly Furtado 07. Everpop Awards Pop 48 Yes
1985 "Walking on Sunshine" Katrina and the Waves 06. La Luz De Madrid Pop Rock 41 Yes
1996 "Wannabe" Spice Girls 03. Club La Noza Pop 17 Yes
2008 "Warwick Avenue" Duffy 06. La Luz De Madrid Pop 37 Yes
2002 "When I'm Gone" 3 Doors Down 06. La Luz De Madrid Rock 36 Yes
1980 "Whip It" Devo 04. Summer Park Festival New Wave 22 Yes
1978 "Y.M.C.A." Village People 07. Everpop Awards Disco 49 Yes
2008 "You Belong with Me" Taylor Swift 08. Red River Canyon Country 54 Yes
2004 "You Had Me" Joss Stone 10. Amp Orbiter Funk 63 Yes

Nintendo DS soundtrack edit

The Nintendo DS version of Band Hero features thirty songs (per regional version from a forty-five song combined setlist) of the same genre as the console-based soundtrack. Although they feature some of the same artists from the console version, the tracks themselves are different.[13][17]

Song Title Artist North American
Mainline game(s) featured
"All You Need" Sublime Yes No
"A-Punk" Vampire Weekend Yes No Guitar Hero 5
"Believe" The All-American Rejects Yes No
"Boots of Chinese Plastic" The Pretenders Yes No
"Call Me When You're Sober" Evanescence Yes Yes
"Club Foot" Kasabian No Yes Guitar Hero Live
"Crazy Little Thing Called Love" Queen Yes No Guitar Hero 5 (DLC)
"Everything About You" Ugly Kid Joe Yes Yes
"Excuse Me Mr." No Doubt Yes Yes Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock (DLC)
"Fascination" Alphabeat No Yes
"Feel Good Inc." Gorillaz No Yes Guitar Hero 5
"First Date" Blink-182 Yes Yes Guitar Hero: Van Halen
Guitar Hero 5 (DLC)
"Fly Away" Lenny Kravitz No Yes Guitar Hero 5 (DLC)
"Get Free" The Vines Yes No Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock
"Girlfriend" Avril Lavigne Yes Yes
"Golden Touch" Razorlight No Yes
"Grace Kelly" Mika No Yes
"Hungry Like the Wolf" Duran Duran Yes No Guitar Hero 5
"I Predict a Riot" Kaiser Chiefs Yes Yes
"In Too Deep" Sum 41 Yes No Guitar Hero 5 (DLC)
"Let's Get It Started" Black Eyed PeasThe Black Eyed Peas Yes Yes
"Lump" The Presidents of the United States of America Yes No
"Manhattan" Kings of Leon Yes Yes
"Monkey Wrench" Foo Fighters Yes Yes Guitar Hero II
Guitar Hero: Smash Hits
"Munich" Editors No Yes
"My Favourite Game" The Cardigans No Yes
"No One Knows" Queens of the Stone Age Yes Yes Guitar Hero
Guitar Hero: Smash Hits
"Our Truth" Lacuna Coil Yes No Guitar Hero World Tour
"She Will Be Loved" Maroon 5 No Yes Band Hero
"So What" Pink Yes Yes Guitar Hero World Tour (DLC)
"Song 2" Blur No Yes Guitar Hero 5
"Spaceman" The Killers Yes Yes
"Suddenly I See" KT Tunstall Yes Yes
"Take What You Take" Lily Allen No Yes
"The Age of the Understatement" The Last Shadow Puppets No Yes
"The Great Escape" Boys Like Girls Yes No
"Thnks fr th Mmrs" Fall Out Boy Yes Yes Guitar Hero 5 (DLC)
"Tripping" Robbie Williams No Yes
"Troublemaker" Weezer Yes No
"Two Princes" Spin Doctors Yes No
"Under My Thumb" (Live) The Rolling Stones Yes Yes
"Wannabe in L.A." Eagles of Death Metal Yes No
"Windows" N.E.R.D No Yes
"Yellow" Coldplay No Yes Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock (DLC)
"You Better Pray" The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus Yes No

Importable content edit

On release of Band Hero, 35 of the songs from World Tour and 21 from Smash Hits are importable into Band Hero for a small fee (approximately $0.10 per song), and are treated as downloadable content for the game playable in all game modes. Furthermore, 69 of the 85 tracks from Guitar Hero 5 will be importable into Band Hero. All transferred songs will also be playable in Guitar Hero 5 and will be free if downloaded in either games. However, Guitar Hero 5 or Band Hero is not backwards-compatible with World Tour nor any other Guitar Hero game. The transfer process requires the player to enter a unique code from the World Tour or Smash Hits manual to be able to redownload available songs in a pack (on the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3) or individual songs (on the Wii) that have been updated to include the new features. Players on the Xbox 360 can delete individual songs after downloading the pack. Some songs are not transferable because of licensing issues—not technical issues—according to Bright. Tim Riley, the head of music licensing at Activision, stated that the company will continue to seek licenses for more songs from previous games and downloadable content to be exported into Band Hero, but cannot guarantee that these songs will be licensed for future Guitar Hero games.

Downloadable content edit

While Band Hero does not have its own separate library of downloadable content, it supports downloadable content from the Guitar Hero 5 DLC library. However, as of March 31, 2014 the downloadable content has been removed by Activision with no evidence it will be made available again.[18]

In addition, 152 of the 158 available downloadable songs for Guitar Hero World Tour are forward-compatible with Guitar Hero 5 and Band Hero; the existing content is automatically upgraded to include all features new to these games and was immediately available to players upon release of Band Hero.[14][19][20] Downloaded songs can be used in all game modes, provided all participating players have the song, including in the game's Career mode when players are given the option to select any song to play. The entire Band Hero DLC library is also available in Guitar Hero 5, and vice versa, so both games embrace the same DLC library. Some DLC songs have specific focus on Band Hero, like the "Celebrity New Years Track Pack" which includes Taylor Swift, Maroon 5 and No Doubt songs, and the "Band Hero Track Pack" with Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, and Selena Gomez & the Scene songs.

Reception edit

Band Hero has received mixed to positive reviews from gaming critics. Most recognized the game as having the same feature sets as Guitar Hero 5, including any benefits or flaws that may come from that. Reviewers praised the reuse of the Guitar Hero 5 features such as the Party Play mode that allows for players to jump in and out, the improved Career mode, and the improved GHTunes.[23][25][28] Some identified that the target market of the game appears to be towards teenage girls, such as the featuring of Taylor Swift, the color schemes used in the game, and other parts of the song selection.[26][27] Reviewers noted that setlist would be the strongest measure of whether players should purchase the game.[24][26][27] The reviewers also commented on the smaller setlist, which contains only 65 songs compared to Guitar Hero 5's 85.[25][28]

Review did note that the "Top 40" songs do not always make for challenging songs, as many featured simple chord repetition throughout the song or simply following pre-programmed electronic keyboard or drum beats.[24][26][27] However, most songs were found to feature at least one difficult instrument portion that would be fun to play.[24][26] Reviews also noted that the censoring of songs in order to affirm a family-friendly rating is awkward, such as censoring the word "whiskey" from Don McLean's "American Pie" (8 times), and can ruin the enjoyment of some songs.[25] Greg Miller of IGN further noted that these censoring are at odds with the straight-up inclusion of other songs such as "Gasoline" by The Airborne Toxic Event which, Miller claims, is about sex.[28]

Some reviews saw Band Hero as a good addition to the Guitar Hero franchise, and pointed out the strength of the game is improved in part due to the ability to import and export songs between Band Hero, Guitar Hero 5, and content. Justin Haywald of, in consideration of the equivalent nature of featured, considered that players now had a choice of "'Top 40' Band Hero or 'Hard Rock' [Guitar Hero 5]" skins to select for playing the music on, and positive direction for the series.[23] However, others saw the simple rebranding of the game, and that some may see the product as little more than a "full-price track pack".[25][27]

The game has sold 596,000 units in North America through January 2010, according to data from NPD Group.[29] Prior to the end of 2009, Activision had expressed plans to publish a sequel to Band Hero in 2010.[30] However, as a result of overall decline in music game sales, in part due to the large number of SKUs released by Activision during 2009, such plans have been shelved and Activision only released sequels to Guitar Hero and DJ Hero in 2010.[31]

Lawsuit by No Doubt edit

A day following Band Hero's release, the band No Doubt filed a lawsuit against Activision. In a similar manner as Guitar Hero 5, where the avatar of Kurt Cobain could be used to play any of the songs in the game and leading to questionable virtual performances, the same was found to be true for the No Doubt avatars in Band Hero. No Doubt's lawsuit claimed their contract limited their performance to the three songs within the game and that they were never told their avatars would be used in that manner. Activision argued that it believes that the manner of use of the band's avatars in the game is within the bounds of the contract.[32][33] Activision subsequently filed a counter-suit against the band, alleging contract breaches; Activision claimed that it was "publicly known" that in-game characters in the Guitar Hero series, once unlocked, could be used for all game modes, and that No Doubt's request came well after the game's code was finalized.[34] Courtney Love, who has expressed an intention to file legal action for Cobain's appearance in Guitar Hero 5, said to NME that she will join No Doubt in their lawsuit against Activision.[35]

In April 2010, the Los Angeles County Superior Court denied Activision's motion to dismiss No Doubt's rights of publicity claims under California's anti-SLAPP law.[36] In February 2011, the 2nd District Court of Appeal upheld the Superior Court's ruling, allowing No Doubt's case to proceed against Activision.[37] In May 2012, the Superior Court denied Activision's motion for summary judgment, though it also denied a preliminary injunction sought by the band.[38] In October 2012, on the eve of trial, the case was settled for undisclosed terms.[39]

Notes edit

  1. ^ Ported to PlayStation 2 by Budcat Creations

References edit

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  39. ^ "No Doubt, Activision settle lawsuit over 'Band Hero' video game, use of musicians' likenesses". Associated Press. 2012-10-03. Retrieved 2012-10-03.[dead link]

External links edit