Power Gig: Rise of the SixString is a 2010 rhythm game developed and published by Seven45 Studios. It aimed to get players to “rock for real” by including a real electric guitar with the game, as opposed to Guitar Hero and Rock Band's plastic instruments.
Why It Sucks
The game was released when the popularity of instrument-based rhythm games was waning; even the established Guitar Hero and Rock Band franchises were struggling in 2009 and 2010 due to over-saturation.
The game was released one week prior to Rock Band 3, hoping to capitalize on ill-informed parents.
The game had questionable and arrogant marketing, attacking both Guitar Hero and Rock Band as well as their respective fandoms, thus alienating their potential userbase. There was also an infamous video where Power Gig's developers dumped hundreds of third-party guitar controllers into an Icelandic volcano.
The SixString guitar is terrible both as a game controller and as a standalone instrument.
It is very difficult to operate the guitar when playing the game, especially for those who never played an actual stringed guitar. A "string lock" device had to be implemented, or the game would otherwise register several false inputs.
When using it as an actual electric guitar, it sounds very cheap. For the guitar bundle's original price of US$180, it's better to buy a used guitar from a more reputable manufacturer (e.g., Fender, Gibson, etc.) if you want to learn to play guitar for real.
The game barely encourages the player to learn real guitar, making the presence of an actual stringed instrument pointless.
The AirStrike drum controller's concept had merit on paper, using sensors to air drum rather than hitting physical pads for a more compact and more quiet experience, but its execution was flawed.
The AirStrike had poor hit detection due to a lack of tactile feedback.
The AirStrike relied on infrared sensors, which are too imprecise for fast input such as drumming.
The player cannot use their own drumsticks with the controller. The sticks supplied with the AirStrike contain IR transmitters, and the sticks had to be held in a specific way in order to communicate with the IR receivers in the base unit. Also, if the sticks are missing or broken, the controller is rendered useless.
The AirStrike required 6 AA batteries to operate.
The air drumming concept of the AirStrike conflicts with the real guitar concept that the game is touting.
When using a Rock Band or Guitar Hero guitar controller, the player cannot use the guitar controller's tilt sensor to activate "Mojo", the game's equivalent of "Star Power" or "Overdrive"; this is due to Power Gig's SixString controller lacking a tilt sensor. Also, the whammy bar can't be used to manipulate sustained notes and inexplicably acts the primary activation trigger for "Mojo".
When using a Rock Band or Guitar Hero drumset, it is virtually impossible to activate "Mojo" at will without breaking combo, since its activation trigger is mapped to the Back/Select button, and the AirStrike uses a separate pedal for this purpose.
Some achievements/trophies explicitly require Power Gig's peripherals to unlock.
No practice mode.
Difficult to use calibration screen.
No playable bass guitar track.
No online multiplayer.
Clunky UI and overall bad graphics.
Note charts for guitar and drums are presented in a flat 2D perspective instead of the slanted 2.5D perspective used by Rock Band and Guitar Hero, making it difficult to anticipate notes on higher difficulties.
Even when an instrument is not being played, its interface is still visible on the screen, whereas Rock Band and Guitar Hero only display active instruments.
For guitar, there is a colored string attached to all of the notes, which can be distracting.
For drums, the kick pedal uses a gem in the center rather than a special long gem spanning the target zone; this can throw off players accustomed to the Guitar Hero drumset, which uses five pads plus the kick pedal.
Character models look ugly and animations look bland and stiff.
Inaccurate note charting.
Roughly two-thirds of the soundtrack is locked from the start, forcing the player to play through the story mode to unlock additional songs; both Guitar Hero and Rock Band dropped this trend a year prior to Power Gig's release. There is also no "unlock all songs" cheat code for quickplay.
Idiotic plot. It centers around collecting “mojo” to unite three rebel clans in order to defeat the evil Headliner, who has outlawed playing music in public.
Story mode progression is convoluted. Instead of simply beating a set of songs or earning enough stars, fans, and/or money to advance, players have to play specific songs with specific symbols as the game's story dictates; this is particularly problematic in the first act, when only one-third of the soundtrack is available.
On Xbox 360, notifications can block the target zone for both guitar and drums.
The game only had one DLC pack with three songs: "Beer" by Reel Big Fish, "The Impression That I Get" by the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, and "Dashboard" by Modest Mouse.
No character customization, as there are only six playable characters, who are locked into their instruments.
The Only Redeeming Quality
The game has a large setlist with some decent songs, including some by Eric Clapton and the Dave Matthews Band, who had never appeared in a rhythm game before, although Clapton would later appear in Ubisoft's Rocksmith, a game which can use almost any guitar using a 1/4" amp input and is a more adept teacher than Power Gig, while the Dave Matthews Band had DLC in Rock Band 3.