I feel like I am having déjÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â vu all over again. Another year and yet another Rock Band and Guitar Hero have landed, both being what you would expect. Along the same lines we also have another music game that is attempting to take the genre into a whole new direction. Power Gig: Rise of the SixString is the latest attempt to break into the music genre with a new hook: the ability to play on a real guitar. Well seeing as we once again did not have access to the hardware for this review, what we are left with is one poor attempt at recreating the magic.
Power Gig feels generic from the outset. From the moment I powered on the game I got the same vibe as I did when playing last year’s Rock Revolution. Anyone who had the misfortune of playing Konami’s feeble attempt knows that this is certainly not a compliment. The note highway scrolls vertically and on the right hand side in single player for guitar, and is connected with lines so you know where the next note is going. Sounds good in theory, but in practice it makes for one sloppy interface. You will consistently miss notes thanks to the poor layout, and some of the charts are downright broken.
Amazingly the story is even worse than the game’s mechanics. The single player mode is called Unite the Clans and it places you in a world where music has been outlawed. The goal is to play various sets in order to unite the three main clans and thus stand strong against an evil dictator. Yeah I am not sure what that has to do with music either. At least when Guitar Hero did it, they wrapped it around a ridiculously awesome song by rock legends Rush. This mode also feels overly complicated for what it does. Venues must be chosen properly in order to gain more fans and thus reach “Mojomorphosis”. However, by the time you figure out how it works you won’t care anymore as the setlist leaves a lot to be desired.
Most music games are defined by the songs found therein. Power Gig does bring some strong exclusives to the table with the likes of Eric Clapton and Dave Matthews Band, but it also fails to even it out with a nice variety of tracks. There are some strong tracks to be found including the likes of No Doubt, Ozzy Osbourne, Smashing Pumpkins and Stevie Ray Vaughn, but it is also flooded with a bunch of no-name bands and songs that simply are not fun to play.
Amazingly it gets worse from here. First up is the fact that the loading times are absolutely atrocious. It can take up to thirty seconds to load a song, which is unheard of for the genre. Factor in the disruptive menu system and it takes far too long to find a song, get it loaded and attempt to have a good time. The multi-player also takes a nose dive. You can only have three players at a time, one guitar, one drummer and one singer. There is no option to play bass guitar and the game forces you into a co-op scenario. There are no guitar battles or anything like that. If all of that wasn’t bad enough the game also lacks online support. Just one more example of how the gimmick of playing a real guitar was truly the only focus.
As far as the visuals are concerned at least they kept with the trend here. The character animations are awful. They will often times resemble the robot animals at Chuck E Cheese. You are also limited to the characters in the game as no creator is in sight. As I mentioned earlier the actual note highway is also terribly designed leaving players very little time between notes. The venues are uninspired and the game overall just has a generic feel. At least the music sounds good though.
Power Gig is another prime example of why you need to leave this genre to the professionals. It seems developers think a quick gimmick can make gamers overlook a cheaply made game, but at $180 for the guitar bundle, I guarantee you will be seen in the clearance rack alongside Rock Revolution before January. If you are looking to play real guitar I suggest looking into Rock Band 3’s much better option or simply go grab a Gibson and jam out yourself. There is no real benefit to purchasing Power Gig.
Review copy provided by publisher.