Although Rocksmith has had some success, the market for music/rhythm games has been in decline for some time. Harmonix this year ceased DLC support for its Rock Band series, and this came on the heels of lukewarm consumer reaction to Rock Band Blitz. Activision jumped out of the market some time ago, retiring the Guitar Hero franchise at least temporarily. Just Dance sales, while still strong, seem to have plateaued.
Enter BandFuse: Rock Legends, a game that’s as much a teaching tool as it is an entertaining experience. Utilizing the talents and experience of musicians including Slash, George Lynch (of Dokken fame), Bootsy Collins, and Zakk Wylde, BandFuse looks to offer something new to the music game genre. If you’ve never learned to play guitar, BandFuse can teach you how courtesy of video lessons from the rock legends in the game and through the use of actual guitar tablature that can be learned at the player’s pace. If you’re already skilled, you can play along with or even supply your own effort for any of dozens of master tracks ranging from Pearl Jam and Rush to Pantera and Judas Priest.
While I didn’t get a chance to play BandFuse myself, I did watch the staff play in real time with guitar and bass lines. Having the master tracks allows certain instrument parts to be completely dropped out and replaced by the instrument(s) being played at the time.
For example, while playing Pearl Jam’s “Alive”, the guitar track can be played along with for beginners or it can be completely dropped and replaced by whatever input the connected guitarist supplies. As a singer myself, it’s also cool to see that the same thing can be done for vocal tracks. There’s a pitch judge mechanism that seems to be similar to Rock Band for game purposes, but you can also just sing to the tracks in the game, karaoke-style.
I’m very curious to see how BandFuse turns out, as it has the potential to be a fun, multi-purpose release when it hits stores later this year. Whether you want to play it as a game and experience Career Mode, you want to learn or improve your guitar or bass playing skill, or if you want to learn the secrets and tips of some of the more notable legends of rock & roll, BandFuse can fill those wants and more.
Keep an eye out for BandFuse: Rock Legends, fellow musicians. BandFuse shows real promise – and talent.