As ten minutes listening to any Top 40 radio station will tell you, timing is far more important than talent in the music business. If Led Zeppelin was just arriving on the scene today, they’d be lucky to open for Katy Perry. Rhythm action band game Power Gig: Rise of the SixString is another great example. Three years ago, its licensed soundtrack and creative guitar and drum controllers might have made it a player. But its timing is awful and it’s here now, far too late to become legendary. In fact, it’s more Justin Bieber than John Lennon in the talent department, too.
Power Gig: Rise of the SixString is available as a standalone game, a game and guitar controller combo, and a “band kit” that adds in a drum controller and microphone as well. And as luck would have it, those three variations deliver radically different experiences. So I’m going to take a slightly different approach and review the game, the guitar, and the drums individually, then wrap it all up into one combined score for the database. You ready? Then throw on a black concert t-shirt and let’s hit the stage.
Opening Act: The Game
Let’s say you, like 900% of the gaming audience, really can’t justify dragging yet another set of plastic instruments into your living room. We get it. But Rock Band and Guitar Hero’s instruments also work with Power Gig, so should you maybe just buy the game? Yeah, maybe – but probably not.
The mechanics of the game are identical to Rock Band or Guitar Hero. Gems move along a track onscreen, and you hit the corresponding colored buttons in time with the music. It works okay, but Power Gig only supports three players (one singer, guitarist, and drummer) – and there is no online play.
Also, the 70-song setlist is respectable, but the online store still isn’t up as of this writing, two weeks after the game shipped. For all we know, these may be the only songs you ever get. Plus, while this is the first game to feature music from Eric Clapton, Kid Rock, and Dave Matthews, there are a whopping three songs by each of those artists – so only a fool would pay $60 solely to get them.
Most of the other songs here are fairly fresh though, which you can read as “they tried to get songs that weren’t played out” or “they didn’t want to pay for better known songs”. We prefer to view this as a plus, but your mileage may vary. Here’s the full setlist if you’d like to take a look.
Finally, there’s a hokey plot about an oppressive, evil empire that has made music illegal and a ragtag group of rebels who discover how to use “mojo” – a mystical force that permeates the universe – and set out to make things right. If it sounds familiar, that’s because it’s basically Star Wars and/or Dune dressed in Hot Topic and written as Cliff’s notes. But it doesn’t mess with the gameplay like the faux-mythological lunacy in Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock does, so at least it’s harmless.
Game score: 5