It's a mystery as to why it took Konami so long to release a rhythm game of their own. After all, the publisher's Bemani games paved the way for titles like Guitar Hero and RockBand. For 2008, Konami plans to change this in hopes of taking back their crown with Rock Revolution – a multiple instrument rhythm title that offers certain treats that the others don't.
Just like RockBand, Rock Revolution will feature a guitar and drums setup, with the guitar including bass playing. Konami plans to offer 40 songs on the game disc, spanning across many genres, in addition to a horde of downloadable content that'll arrive in intervals after the game's release.
My favorite feature of Rock Revolution is one that was never given to us in RockBand or Guitar Hero – a freestyle Jam Mode. Pick up your guitar/bass or drums and jam away freely, putting together your own riffs, melodies, and then recording them. You'll be able to record across eight different tracks/layers, by utilizing the game's in-game multi-track studio. What does that mean? You can record various layers per track, such as layering a solo or melody over the guitar rhythm and drums, and etc. After you save your work, we suspect you may be able to share it with others via PlayStation Network, but Konami hasn't confirmed that yet.
Interestingly enough, Konami is touting authentic venues for your performances, as well as unique ones. By authentic, we're inclined to believe they mean real locations, such as Madison Square Garden, to smaller places like Irving Plaza or the Hammerstein Ballroom. Expect the venues to be well lit and boast a horde of visual eye-candy. On the stage of each venue will be your band, which partly consists of the game's 15 characters.
Practicing, an integral part of rhythm games can be done in the game's Rehearsal mode, where you'll be able to practice songs in parts, or in full, at varying speeds. When you're ready, take it to the Career mode and let your skills run wild. In the Career mode, you'll be taught techniques, in addition to creating your own set lists for performances, and completing challenges. Gameplay will also allow for some improvisation without penalty, and that's certainly a big plus.
While all of that sounds great, we suspect that a lot of people will be turned off by the game's awkward looking drum peripheral. Activision heard my cries of a more realistic drum set that features high-hats, but Konami didn't seem to care. The drum peripheral for Rock Revolution features six face pads, none of which are laid out ergonomically, like the RockBand or Guitar Hero IV drums. We'll reserve final judgment until we play on the piece, but we already know that this thing will lack satisfaction, simply because it looks nothing like an actual drum set.
Lastly, multiplayer will boast offline and online offerings such as Versus, Co-Op, and Band Battle. Scoreboards will track performance of gamers, and allow them to compare with others all around the globe.
Look for Rock Revolution to launch this Fall 2008.