BandFuse: Rock Legends was released this week as yet another offering in the real-guitar music games. Bandfuse isn’t just a game. It offers a complete series of lessons starting with the basics and progressing through string bending and finger picking.
The first stop inside the game is Shred U. This is a very detailed school for any level of guitar player. My daughter was very excited to see that Slash is the instructor for many of the lessons with advice from some great guitarists including George Lynch, Alexi Laiho, Zakk Wylde and more. Shred U is broken up into five sections: Skills Lab, Lick Lab, Practice, Backing Tracks, and Legends.
Skills Lab starts with Slash identifying the parts of the guitar, suggesting how to hold the guitar and the basics of the game. Slash goes into great detail about the tablature interface. Check below for a video of the interface. It works well, and I found it easy to read and understand. From there you can progress through different skills with scales, strumming, hammer-ons and pull-offs, and much more. I found the arrangement of the menus a little strange, but the grouping of skills and lessons made sense once I got into them a little.
The Lick Lab is exactly as it sounds: Learn to play your favorite songs, one lick at a time. You’ll be given the opportunity to play each section of a song multiple times. It starts out with a note-for-note play through to get you familiar with the chords and picking, then runs through the lick at 60, 75, 90, 100, and 110% speed until backing off to 100% for five times. I found this to be great and it was easy to keep repeating the lick until I got it right.
Practice mode allows you to play the song through at 60 to 110% speed. You can also pick song sections to play, loop the sections, and enable a metronome. I didn’t spend much time here, but can see this will be very useful when I start to tackle the game mode itself. For now I’m content just working through the lessons, scales, and playing an occasional song for fun.
Backing Tracks gives you a few dozen original tracks to play along with in a bunch of different styles. I didn’t get into this, but it looks like it would be fun for jamming and just playing around with new techniques or scales.
Lastly, Legends organizes the content from each of the featured guitar legends into a single area. If you’re interested to learn more about Alexi Laiho of Children of Bodom, you can find all of his videos and interviews here.
Shred U alone is a significant amount of content, and coupled with Quick Play is plenty fun, but the game really gets interesting when you go on tour. The Tour works like many other music games. The object is to master the songs, complete concerts and challenges, and claw your way up the ranks. I haven’t made it past the opening act yet, but this should be interesting.
The game supports up to two guitars, a bass, and a microphone. I didn’t have the official BandFuse microphone, but the Rock Band mic worked well enough, but with some latency. I’m certain that the BandFuse mic adapter features the same low latency as their guitar adapter. BandFuse also includes a few digitally modeled amplifiers, digital effects pedals, and a multi-track recorder, making it possible to just tune up and rock out at the menu.
I’m very impressed with this game. The combination of game play, low latency adapters, and flawless audio detection make this a lot more fun and a lot more educational than Rock Band, and a lot easier than Rocksmith. I never quite adapted to Rocksmith‘s notation and always felt a little learning curve if I put the game down for a few days. With BandFuse the standard tablature was instantly readable and never confusing. I’ll be introducing my daughter to the lessons this weekend and will report back in about a week for how she’s doing.
Available now from Amazon in a few different formats. The BandFuse: Rock Legends (Artist Pack) includes the game and one USB guitar adapter for about $70. There will also be a BandFuse Band Pack available with two USB Guitar adapters, a microphone and powered USB hub, but no game; this one appears to be back-ordered on Amazon.
For some idea how the interface works, check out the video below, then check out the BandFuse website if you want to see more.