MOVIES: Opening Dec. 13, “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” (not rated yet), “Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas” (PG-13), “Saving Mr. Banks” (PG-13); coming Dec. 20, “Walking With Dinosaurs 3-D” (PG).

“The Wizard of Oz,” 5 p.m. today, Central Library, Lafayette Square.

CONCERTS: The English Beat with the Pinstripes, 7 p.m. Friday, Buffalo Iron Works, 49 Illinois St.

Will Holton’s Night of Stars featuring Chauncey Northington, Bruce Wojick and Kissena Frazier, 8 p.m. Saturday, Tralf Music Hall, 622 Main St.

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas, 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Shea’s Performing Arts Center, 646 Main St.

Leon Redbone, 8 p.m. Sunday, Tralf Music Hall, 622 Main St.

Colm Wilkinson: Broadway, Christmas and Beyond, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, UB Center for the Arts, North Campus, Amherst.

Dave Koz and Friends Christmas Tour, 8 p.m. Wednesday, Riviera Theatre, 67 Webster St., North Tonawanda.

THEATER: “Madeline’s Christmas,” 7 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Theatre of Youth, 203 Allen St.

“It WAS A Wonderful Life,” 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, chapel at Forest Lawn, 1411 Delaware Ave.


With “Rock Band” and “Guitar Hero” now dwindled away to distant memory, some new competitors have stepped up in the music/rhythm genre, providing a more realistic approach to rocking out, instead of using a plastic instrument. Last month, Ubisoft easily grabbed the helm with “Rocksmith 2014,” a much-improved model of its previous release, with a variety of excellent mini-games and quality performance overall. Not to be outdone, Mastiff has decided to give the genre a go with “Bandfuse: Rock Legends.”

Like “Rocksmith,” “Bandfuse” sets out to educate. It provides over 50 songs spread across a multitude of decades.

Yet, despite such a stacked package, I couldn’t help but think that “Bandfuse” fell a bit short. Part of the problem is the interface. It’s not broken, by any means, but it seems like it’s trying to be too … “Guitar Hero.” Where “Rocksmith’s” interface offers intuitiveness and depth, this just seems to go by the numbers. For some, that’ll be enough, as they can learn grips and where to place their fingers after a few run-throughs. For others seeking a bit more knowledge on those placements or strums, however, they might be slightly disappointed by the lack of depth.

Still, the system works, even at a minimal extend, and the audio setup is fairly easy, even if there is a slight bit of latency here and there. It’s best used with a stereo system, if you’ve got one set up. If you’ve got a guitar (which you’ll need to play the game), you probably already have that covered.

Anyway, aside from gameplay, the game does have some interesting features. Shred U provides you tips on how to get the most out of your guitar performance, featuring a number of legends showing you the ropes. However, I wish these were more interactive. Also, the multiplayer is a fun reminder of the “Rock Band” setup, as up to four people can take part in a jam session, complete with singing and rock licks. If it weren’t for the expensive equipment on hand, I could easily call this the next favorite bar game.

In the end, “Bandfuse: Rock Legends” isn’t a bad game if you’re looking to get your shred on, but considering the limitations that hold you back from reaching your true potential, Ubisoft’s user-friendly “Rocksmith 2014” deserves higher consideration.



“Don’t put anything you do on YouTube until you are 21.”

– Mindy Kaling, in an open letter to teenagers, posted in “Rookie: Yearbook Two”