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For Those of You About to Rock Band: We Salute You

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For many of you, this week is all about Turkey Day. For others, it's still all about The Strike. For me? This week will go down in history not because of the strike or Thanksgiving, but because the most awesome video game of all time, Rock Band, was released yesterday. I got my kit set up and ready to go within minutes, and began rocking out almost immediately.

First impressions? The drumming element is the most difficult part of the game: those of you who have never sat behind a rig before will probably struggle for a little while to get used to the kick drum pedal, but once you get into the groove, it is wicked fun.

The peripherals are very nicely crafted -- the drums are sturdy, and the new Fender Stratocaster guitar is beautiful. It feels more substantial than the GH guitar, and includes another set of frets at the bottom of the neck for those super-fast solo passages. I haven't tried out the vocals yet, but I am very excited about singing along to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, New Pornographers, and Radiohead's "Creep." Furthermore, the wide world of downloadable content has only just begun to be exploited -- the list of upcoming tracks available through XBOX Live includes packs of three-song sets from Metallica David Bowie, Queens of the Stone Age, and Black Sabbath.

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Which is more difficult overall? Guitar Hero III still rules when it comes to playing a challenging guitar simulator; the "hard" level on Rock Band was cake for me, even though I can't beat GH on hard yet. However, the added element of drums really pushes the new game into a whole 'nother stratosphere of Rock God Total Awesome Amazingness, and makes it into a completely unique challenge.

CNet News had this to say about the face-off between the two games:

it will be very interesting to see if Rock Band can come anywhere near the first-week sales figures of Guitar Hero III. My guess is it won't get there, only because of the name-brand recognition of the latter. But I'm willing to be surprised. There's definitely something to be said for true bloodlines, which is what Rock Band and Harmonix have going for them, even if they doesn't have the hit name anymore.

Both Rock Band and Guitar Hero are phenomenal games that appeal to even the most casual gamer. If you haven't tried them out, trust me: the entire family can enjoy this game, and I'm even taking it home for Thanksgiving with me. But if you're only going to buy one game and you're not a hard-core gamer? Go with Rock Band -- especially because it's a great party game to have when friends come around. $170 may seem pretty steep at first, but considering that you get the game with all three peripherals (guitar, drums, and microphone), it's a great deal, and definitely worth hours and hours of fun.
Photo of striking Rock Bander by Sonny I. LaVista for LAist.