Sunday, 10 June 2012

E3 2012: Bandfuse Xbox 360 Hands-On

Last year, Rocksmith taught players how to play real guitar. Rocksmith was a great starting point for people new to the instrument, but there were several shortcomings, most notably, the lag, the long loading items, endless tuning of your guitar, the inability to create your own music and lack of bass support. Bandfuse seems to improve upon the Rocksmith experience by featuring guitar and bass support, real music tabulature, an open ended career and the ability to record your own music. Bandfuse is hoping to offer the most authentic experience to date. 

Rather than having coloured notes scrolling down the highway, Bandfuse uses real guitar tabulature. The coloured notes are now replaced with numbers corresponding to the fret and string you need to play. The interface is a lot different from other music titles. Rather than having animated characters on screen, you're treated to the music video for the song playing in the top left hand corner of the screen. The interface looks refreshing after years of playing Guitar Hero and Rock Band. The game features several difficulty levels with the easier one's having you only play a few strings. The hardest difficulty makes you play an exact note for note transcription of what the guitarist for that particular song played.

I got a chance to play through a few songs in the game. As you play, you'll have two scores: one which corresponds to pitch, while the other corresponds to timing. It took some time to get used to the new interface but after a few minutes I felt right at home.  My only complaint from playing the game was that I wish there was more on screen feedback on how well I was playing. I got through a song thinking I played well only to have played 60 percent of it correctly. I fell back to my usual excuse of telling the developer "I'm a drummer, not a guitarist."

The career mode the developers showed off seemed quite different to what I've seen in other music titles. The Developers appear to be going for more of an open ended kind of experience. You can orient your career based on your taste in rock music. So, if you're a fan of heavy metal you can play through the career playing only heavy metal songs.

One of the coolest features shown off was the games music studio which lets you record and produce your own music (with vocals). This is a new direction we haven't really seen in other games. The developers also hinted that after the game ships they would be looking at supporting electronic drums and keyboards.

The game will ship with 50 plus songs featuring artists such as Slash, Pearl Jam, Blind Melon, Heart and Coldplay. After launch, the developers indicated that they will support the title with DLC releases.

Bandfuse will ship in January of next year for both the Xbox 360 and PS3.

- Siddharth Masand