Published on December 8th, 2009 | by Greg0
Put Away The Plastic Tree, Pick Up a Plastic Instrument
We’ll get this out of the way right upfront- if you don’t already have Rock Band 2 or it’s companions on some platforms, and you like music and own a gaming console, then you should stop reading and get it. Unless, of course, your friends already have it, and you live above your landlord and below your mother. Anyway, you can use the instruments that are included in the box set, or purchase the game by itself and put together a more expensive but more personalized set of instruments- or you can simply add a guitar or bass to your collection.
Whatever you do, we suggest looking at MadCatz- about a month ago, we reviewed our Rock Band / Guitar Hero Instrument of the Year, the large and sturdy bass, which offered only a few tweaks to being our bass of choice. We had high hopes for today’s pick, the Mad Catz Wireless Fender Telecaster Player’s Edition Replica for the 360 (link goes to PDF of the announcement, since the item doesn’t appear on the MadCatz main site). But, despite the promising butterscotch color (the other option is sunburst), and the neat-looking picture showing a distressed style, the instrument didn’t end up fully satisfying our guitar fetish.
First, the warning- don’t get this if you are a lefty, as the fret buttons don’t quite cover the entire neck. They took some getting used to, requiring more pressure than normal. We liked the touch-sensitive overdrive feature quite a bit, allowing you to simply move your hand near an area above the strum bar to activate Starpower or Overdrive, which definitely helped us get to higher scores and avoid missing notes when trying to tilt the guitar just so. You can still fool about with tilting, but you won’t want to once you try this- and we didn’t really have any issues with it setting off inappropriately either. The strum bar here was quite solid, and clicked like the RB1 guitar and some others, another nice note on a unit that did feel a bit cheap (and look that way too, unfortunately). The strap is excellent- similar to and just as good as the one on the bass we liked. There is a high-quality whammy bar, versus the knob on the bass, and it works just fine though it’s a bit large. It works with Beatles Rock Band and Lego Rock Band, as well as the previous titles in the series. Our main issue was simply that it seemed to require major adjustments in how we played- without exception, people would pick it up, try it out, and want to change instruments. Despite the cool touch feature and great strap, it wasn’t as much fun to play as some other guitars, and strained your fingers pretty quickly. And it doesn’t look that great either- the distressed look just doesn’t quite work here in real life. For some folks, this would be a great choice- we simply recommend that you try it out before buying if possible, to get a sense of look and feel. At $165 or so, it also seems just a bit too pricey- but it is large, solid, and realistic.