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‘Band Hero’ tops ‘LEGO Rock Band’

While music games have a healthy following from adults, I know scores of children around the globe also play the games.

If you really want to see something amazing, then go to YouTube and search for kids playing “Guitar Hero.”

But even though children play music games, two companies released rhythm-based band games aimed at youths on Nov. 3.

“Guitar Hero” parent company Activision released “Band Hero.” Warner Bros. and Harmonix released “LEGO Rock Band.” Both games feature Top 40 hits and pop music personalities, but the games are very different.

“Band Hero” feels more like a complete game than “LEGO Rock Band. “Band Hero” has 65 songs, about 20 more than its competitor.

In “Band Hero,” you get pretty much everything you expect from a game from Activision, developer Neversoft and publisher RedOctane. It shares many similarities with the previous games from the “Guitar Hero” catalog.

The set list certainly won’t be for everyone — like adult men — with groups like the Spice Girls, Janet Jackson and Hilary Duff. But there are certainly fun songs for everyone like Carl Douglas’ “Kung Fu Fighting.” Also, “Band Hero” features cameos from Taylor Swift, Adam Levine of Maroon 5 and No Doubt. “Lego Rock Band” has David Bowie, Queen, Iggy Pop and Blur, by the way.

It’s a little insulting that “Band Hero” is branded as a new franchise in the family, but offers little to nothing and is structurally different than the recently released “Guitar Hero 5.” This game costs the same as “Guitar Hero 5,” but has 20 fewer tracks and gives no new gameplay innovations.

While noting that the game isn’t for everyone, I give credit to the developers, who knew exactly what they wanted out of “Band Hero” and stayed true to the style of the game.

While I think “Rock Band” has a general better formula for the games and certainly seems more committed to releasing a ton of music, the “Guitar Hero” series always oozes style. Whether it’s “Guitar Hero: Metallica,” “DJ Hero” or “Band Hero,” Neversoft and RedOctane make sure that they immerse gamers in the world they have created.

The venues, songs, cinematics, instruments and challenges in “Band Hero” are all specifically tailored to pop music and the game.

On the other hand, “LEGO Rock Band” is a mess.

It has no continuity, particularly not for a game aimed at children. Some of the game’s songs fit into that category, others don’t. Perhaps the creators were just trying to fit the “Rock Band” brand to the LEGO formula that worked for the “Star Wars,” “Indiana Jones” and “Batman” properties. If that’s the case, then that’s fine.

You’ll get 45 new songs to play. But there’s little else when it comes to substance. The greatest part of “LEGO Rock Band” is that you can export the track list (for a cost of $10) to play with the rest of your downloadable content for “Rock Band.” But even with that, you can’t choose which songs you want to export.

If there was a way to just get the songs from “LEGO Rock Band” into the “Rock Band” catalog, then I’d recommend it. But I can’t recommend buying it alone, particularly not when better options — “Band Hero,” “Guitar Hero 5,” “The Beatles: Rock Band” — are available.

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