When we got a chance to take a look at EA's rather extensive lineup yesterday, it was like jumping into a time warp to old E3: loud noises, terrible ventilation and too many bodies in too small a space. However, Rock Band was there, and I had to make a pilgrimage. And yes, it's cooler than everyone I know by at least a factor of 11.
Amazingly enough, there wasn't a wait to hop onto one of the four instruments - drums, vocals, guitar and bass - so fellow compatriot Dana Massey hopped onto a guitar and drum set and made our way through "Vasoline" by Stone Temple Pilots. It felt like putting on a comfortable pair of shoes.
The game itself plays just like Guitar Hero in every way that matters. There's five buttons, indicators scroll down the screen at varying speeds, and it's all a matter of timing. Only it's cooler because you and three friends can rock out to the same song, and since four is twice as big a two, Rock Band is twice as good at Guitar Hero at being a party game, which is it what it ultimately is. And that's what makes these games so much fun.
What really sold the game for me is what sold Guitar Hero a couple years ago. As soon as our singer broke into the chorus on "Vasoline," everyone in the rather large crowd joined in, as did I. It's karaoke on steroids, but better because the songs are all good. And I'm not just saying that because I'm in the band.