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Ultimate Band review

Ultimately, this is nowhere near as good as Rock Band or Guitar Hero

Needless to say, this isn’t exactly the most compelling recreation of an actual live musical experience we’ve played. Luckily, it’s all so easy that accurate controls aren’t that important. And while the emphasis on psyching up the crowd with non-musical onstage antics – there are even “flourishes” and “grandstanding” moves – is different and novel, it’s not as much fun as a more realistic playing experience, or even the same experience with solid, reliable gesture recognition would be. It’s a novelty that has somehow become more important than the music.

Amazingly, Ultimate Band on Wii lacks the DS version’s impressive recording studio – probably because the faulty controls would make it harder to stay on the rhythm. There is a much deeper setlist, with around 35 songs from bands ranging from Cheap Trick and Devo to Weezer and the Killers. And of course, these are covers, which is totally lame. However, this has enabled the developers to add in a male and female vocal line to every song and tweak the lyrics to match the singer’s gender. This is always strange and it sometimes sounds terrible as well.

There’s no online support other than checking the leaderboards, but Ultimate Band does support four players in one room. Plus, if you have the DS version as well, a fifth person can run your lightshow using the DS. That’s pretty cool, if also kinda useless. So is the super-excited, earnest story of your band winning the chance to play at a big rock festival.

Granted, Ultimate Band is cheaper than competing music games like Rock Band 2 and Guitar Hero: World Tour, and that would normally be a big plus. But when one considers just how much more game you get with those titles, how much longer they’ll last you, the savings isn’t really worth it.

Dec 9, 2009

More Info


While the DS version of Disney’s rocktacular music game has a weak song list and strong controls, the Wii version flips the script with more songs and broken controls. It’s not remotely as good.


PlatformWii, DS
US censor ratingEveryone 10+
Release date25 November 2008 (US), 1 January 1970 (UK)


I was the founding Executive Editor/Editor in Chief here at GR, charged with making sure we published great stories every day without burning down the building or getting sued. Which isn't nearly as easy as you might imagine. I don't work for GR any longer, but I still come here - why wouldn't I? It's awesome. I'm a fairly average person who has nursed an above average love of video games since I first played Pong just over 30 years ago. I entered the games journalism world as a freelancer and have since been on staff at the magazines Next Generation and PSM before coming over to GamesRadar. Outside of gaming, I also love music (especially classic metal and hard rock), my lovely wife, my pet pig Bacon, Japanese monster movies, and my dented, now dearly departed '89 Ranger pickup truck. I pray sincerely. I cheer for the Bears, Bulls, and White Sox. And behind Tyler Nagata, I am probably the GR staffer least likely to get arrested... again.
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