Giant Bomb Review


PowerGig: Rise of the SixString Review

  • X360

It's too little and far, far too late for this shoddy, low-rent rhythm game also-ran.


The timing could not be worse for PowerGig: Rise of the SixString. This is a rhythm game in the band-style format, not far from what Rock Band and Guitar Hero have been doing for a few years now, and its primary selling point is that it comes with a real guitar that you can play the game with. Not a fundamentally bad idea. Problem is, PowerGig has the misfortune of going up against Rock Band 3--an already established and recognizable franchise--which effectively did the same thing, and did it way, way better. Actually, even if the competition weren't so fierce, PowerGig is a substandard product across the board. The story mode, the song selection, the presentation, the number of players it supports--everything about PowerGig feels awkward and listlessly realized, as though the developer was unaware that there were already two, fiercely competitive franchises chasing after the same customers.

As it's one of the defining characteristics of PowerGig, let's talk about that guitar. The underlying notion that using an actual instrument can make the mock-and-roll experience feel more real seems sturdy enough, but PowerGig fails utterly to make good on this promise. Disregarding the three-quarters size and the chintzy plastic body for a moment, this is an actual, functional electric guitar. It feels cheap and it's a difficult instrument to keep in tune, but these facts aren't really material to this review, or the game. What is material, though, is that playing PowerGig with this guitar is uncomfortable as hell, and the game itself never really capitalizes on the fact that you've got a real guitar in your hands to justify that discomfort. 

By default, PowerGig is a five-button guitar game, not unlike what you'd expect from Rock Band or Guitar Hero, though it uses its own style of notation that's difficult enough to read that it kind of explains why Activision would be willing to pay Harmonix the licensing fee to use that familiar note highway. There is also a power chord mode, which expands on the complexity a bit by recognizing the individual strings and asking you to make some simple two-finger power chords. Even in this power chord mode, though, you're still limited to the five frets you use for standard play, and the game makes no pretense about any of this being useful for actually learning how to play guitar. I feel like this should be implicitly obvious, but in case it's not, you cannot use the PowerGig guitar to access the pro mode functionality in Rock Band 3, not that that's a reasonable expectation.

You can choose to play PowerGig with a standard Rock Band or Guitar Hero compatible controller, which is certainly a more comfortable, if less authentic, experience. Even with a better controller, there's still the unique quirk of not being able to use those controllers' built-in tilt functionality to trigger PowerGig's version of star power or overdrive, instead requiring you to press the select button. As a baffling counterpoint that flies in the face of the authenticity that PowerGig's six-stringed controller seems to strive for, Seven45 Studios has produced its own AirStrike drum kit that uses special drum sticks, and, I dunno, lasers I guess, to interpret your Metallica Drummer routine into actual gameplay. I won't even get into the fact that the bounce-back from striking something is an integral part of the real drumming experience, because the rarity of the AirStrike drums means that I've never actually handled a set myself. As far as I can tell this hardware is being made available almost exclusively through the developer's website. Smartly, PowerGig supports the drum controller you probably already have in your home.

In addition to guitar and drum controllers, PowerGig has microphone support. But in another move that can only be characterized as deliberately befuddling, there's no discrete bass guitar part, limiting your band play to a three-piece. Before you can get to the sub-par plastic band action, though, you must first suffer PowerGig's weirdo fantasy story mode, which is corny and self-serious in equal measures, and spends way, way too much time exhaustively explaining the tribal power structure in this stupid, rock-inspired universe. Without a library of downloadable content to rely on, PowerGig really lives or dies by its on-disc track listing, which is 100 percent leftovers. There are some recognizable artists in the mix, including folks like Eric Clapton and Dave Matthews who have up to now been staunchly opposed to the whole plastic-band idea. I suppose it's only fitting that these luddites would end up hitching their wagons to this lame horse. But even when it's bands you've heard of, chances are the songs themselves aren't the ones you'd want. 

After some serious consideration, I cannot come up with a single good reason why someone would buy PowerGig: Rise of the SixString. Even morbid curiosity is hard to justify.
164 Comments Refresh
Posted by MThand3d


Posted by leejunfan83

wow purge

Posted by BONK


Posted by Jeffsekai


Posted by Twinblade

ouch. i can't remember the last time a game got a 1/5 on this site.

Posted by sissylion

If it has Kid Rock and Dave Matthews Band as a selling point, you know that it must be terrible. 

Posted by GlenTennis


Posted by rjayb89

Wow, what the fuck.  Didn't expect this.  Happy Thanksgiving, folks.

Posted by Marz

this is like the first 1 star game review I've seen so far

Posted by MysteriousBob

I've never seen the 1 star Ryan picture before.
Its... fucking horrible.

Posted by august

Nothing is more authentic than Ryan Davis puking on your crappy game.

Posted by supercubedude

Nothing more authentic.

Posted by AngriGhandi

...a more comfortable, if less authentic, experience.

Just couldn't resist, could you.

Posted by JTHomeslice

I agree on most points, except for the soundtrack. This game has plenty of songs I wish were in GH or RB.

Posted by MysteriousBob
@Twinblade said:
" ouch. i can't remember the last time a game got a 1/5 on this site. "
Tony Hawk Ride, I believe.
Edited by Hadoken101

Damn, this is the ONLY one star review this year, the last one was Tony Hawk Ride almost exactly a year ago O.o

Posted by ThatFrood

Oh wow, I haven't seen a Ryan 1 star in awhile.

Posted by KaiUnderneath

This all seemed ill-advised from the get-go. 
Turns out it totally was.

Posted by Driadon

Nothing is more authentic then bad rhythm games.

Posted by Solh0und

If you buy this for someone, You're a fool..

Posted by supercubedude
Posted by RagOnAStick

why in gods name would you even waste the time to review this piece of shit.

Posted by Jayzilla

are those chunks of turkey i see in that projectile vomit?

Posted by wolf_blitzer85
@solh0und said:
" If you buy this for someone, You're a fool.. "
God just imagine all the heartbroken kids who asked their grandparents for RockBand 3 this holiday season and got this shit instead...
Posted by RYNO9881

I love how this game got reviewed. happy thanksgiving 

Posted by NickNorman

The most authentic review! This game is garbage.

Edited by Brackynews

First use of mock-and-roll I have seen. But then I'm not really on the lookout...
I've already started using the uncapped term powergig unironically for other topics. Time we take it back. 
"Pardon me shopkeep, I require a memory chip with at least four powergigs. No no, the racing car please."

Edited by takua108
@Twinblade said:

" ouch. i can't remember the last time a game got a 1/5 on this site. "

There's been a few in the last year or so, actually... they're just so bad that nobody remembers them: 
  • Tony Hawk RIDE
  • G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
  • Velvet Assassin
  • Fable II Pub Games (this was the first 1-star review on the site)
Posted by ssj4raditz

Too bad, it seemed to have so much potential.

Posted by lolgreg

I demand a Quick Look!

Posted by ch3burashka

I guess it was... 

Posted by mtmckinley


Posted by FritzDude

Should i be ashamed for not knowing this game?

Posted by PixelGorilla

I guess a Quick Look of this clearly high quality product is out of the question.

Posted by Ryax
@wolf_blitzer85 said:
" @solh0und said:
" If you buy this for someone, You're a fool.. "
God just imagine all the heartbroken kids who asked their grandparents for RockBand 3 this holiday season and got this shit instead... "
that thought literally sent shivers down my spine. poor kids
Posted by zombie2011

GB baffles me sometimes on the choice of games they decide to review. 

Posted by Legend
Posted by CornBREDX

Wow. This review was unexpected. I kind of thought after the whole "authentic" hilarity Power Gigs time was up. That whole thing was pretty telling of how bad this game would be in some ways.
Good on you, at least for taking one for the team Ryan. Reviewing bad games is probably the worst. A bad rhythm games, to me, seems like torture.

Posted by Lukeweizer

Projectile vomit is never a good thing when talking about a product.

Posted by RedRocketWestie
@Legend said:
" "
Why'd you have to go and put a human face on this? Buzzkill ;)
Posted by MegaGoat

PowerPuke: Rise of the Six McRibs

Posted by Darkstar614

I can't believe this wasn't scrapped, they had to have known they weren't going to make any money off of this product. Why even release it??

Posted by Burrobean

It amazes me that the makers of Power Gig didn't  A) Look at the dwindled fortunes of the two huge franchises dominating the genre, then B) Look at their crappy game, and then C) cut their losses and cancel the whole damn thing.  Instead, they actually took it to production, and spent even more money on lame PR stunts like dumping a bunch of guitar controllers into a volcano.  The non-thinking involved just leaves me stunned.

Posted by Jeffmoocow


Posted by generalen

Aww, that's too bad. I thought I finally would purchase a rhythm game, but I guess not.
I think many people who actually play the guitar, including myself, have been put off by the simplicity of the five-button plastic stuff that we have seen earlier. I just want a game that I could plug my real guitar into. I thought RB3 was gonna be that, but it wasn't. Then I heard about this game, and this is not that either.

Posted by Th3_James

Ryan's got alcohol poisoning......or bulimia 

Posted by tracerace11

wait.... I have seen this cartoon of Ryan Davis puking....  (looks at Whiskey Media member shirt).... there he is!!!!

Posted by scarace360
@solh0und said:
" If you buy this for someone, You're a fool.. "
What if it was a joke gift.
Posted by MetalGearSunny

lol "drum kit"

Posted by bybeach

Ah well...and I agree with clapton, wonder why he reversed track for this one.