The popular Guitar Hero series lightens things up for the Radio Disney crowd with the release of Band Hero. While the Guitar Hero series mainly focused on Rock acts with edgier songs and lyrics, Band Hero cleans it up a bit with mainly Pop Top 40 hits from the past 30 years or so. This collection of pop-tarts ranges from the Jackson 5 all the way to Taylor Swift.
The game plays exactly like Guitar Hero: World Tour, so do not expect much in the way of gameplay enhancements. This one is really all about the music and getting the whole family up and rockin’.
The songs mentioned in this review are for the console versions of the game. The DS version of Band Hero has a different collection of songs and is not part of this review. To get a complete song list for all consoles and the Nintendo DS, check out the Band Hero Wikipedia site at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Band_hero.
What Parents Need to Know
There is not any violence on-screen. Lyrically, while not as dark as the rest of the Guitar Hero franchise, Band Hero does have a bit of shade. For example, “Gasoline” by The Airborne Toxic Event has these lyrics; “And you scratch and turn / And say, "let's burn ourselves up 'til we scream / Like gasoline.” Also, “Hands Down” by Dashboard Confessional says; “My hopes are so high that your kiss might kill me / so won’t you kill me so I die happy.”
But for the most part, the song choices are much lighter in fare than in other Guitar Hero games. Mainly there are songs about love gained (“Beautiful Soul” by Jesse McCartney, “Happy Together” by The Turtles, “Love Story” by Taylor Swift), love lost (“So Yesterday” by Hilary Duff, “Picture to Burn” by Taylor Swift, “Every Rose Has its Thorn” by Poison) and the occasional empowering rock anthem (“Black Cat” by Janet Jackson, “Love is a Battlefield” by Pat Benatar).
Being that this game is rated E10+ by the ESRB, the language is fairly clean, but what the ESRB chose to censor is interesting. In some songs, they allowed words like “damn”
and “hell” to be played, but in the 1971 classic, “American Pie” by Don McClean, the ESRB decided to censor the word “whisky” in the line, “them good ole boys were drinking whisky and rye / singin’ this will be the day that I die.” So when the song is being played, it’s like this: “them good ole boys were drinking _________ and rye / singin’ this will be the day that I die.”
Some of the female characters in the game are wearing midriff baring tops, low slung pants and mini skirts. Song choices here are clean and do not contain any overt sexual lyrics. One song does dabble a bit in infidelity (“Lips of an Angel” by Hinder).
There is nothing offensive in this area. There are some songs that have a “spiritual-ness” to them in that they cry out for someone or something to save them (“Bring Me To Life” by Evanescence, “Lifeline” by Papa Roach).
I am a huge fan of the Guitar Hero and Rock Band series of games. They are fun to play at parties and I get to be interactive with the songs I like. Band Hero does a good job of opening up to a broader audience by including artists like Taylor Swift, Maroon 5 and Jesse McCartney, but still kept the adults in mind by throwing us a little Don McClean, Devo, and Marvin Gaye. If you have a kid that has been begging for some Guitar Hero, but you were a little hesitant because of the song choices, then Band Hero is a good alternative to buy. The song choices are clean and most of the cursing is kept to a minimum and censored.