Here’s the situation: You’re in a groove, about to pass Iron Maiden’s infamously-difficult ‘Run to the Hills’ on Expert Drums for the first time. Suddenly you hear a loud crack, and to your dismay, you view a broken bass pedal beneath your feet. If you haven’t figured it out yet, this was the case for this unfortunate PSU journalist.
Although Electronic Arts’ customer service is fairly snappy, we weren’t searching for a quick fix that would create issues again a few months down the road; we wanted something durable, effective and just plain rockin’. Behold — The Destroyer.
The folks over at RockBandPedal.net were kind enough to send us a pedal to review. First off, know that this pedal can take a beating. It’s metal obviously, so that fixes our primary concern about the standard Rock Band pedal. Made from actual bass pedal parts, this beast won’t snap under any circumstances. Ever.
It’s relatively simple to set up. Plug it in and it should work from the get go, but what we love about The Destroyer is its ability to be customized to fulfill any specific personal preferences. The pedal works when the magnet on its right-hand side passes by the sensor. As a result, you’re able to loosen the screw above the pedal and slide it left or right to adjust the distance between the magnet and sensor, thus changing its sensitivity.
After finding our own personal sweet spot, we started playing and immediately noticed several serious differences between the default Rock Band pedal and The Destroyer. The Destroyer is approximately a half-inch thinner than the standard pedal. This isn’t necessarily a positive or a negative as it simply comes down to preference. Initially, the rebound on The Destroyer felt awful, but it proved to be only a learning curve. Mastery of the lighter rebound equates to easier double hits — Tom Sawyer on Expert is a prime example of the benefits of the lighter pedal resistance.
All isn’t perfect however, as The Destroyer, being hand-crafted from real pedal pieces, can’t connect to the base of the drums like the standard pedal. Instead, it must be placed directly in front of the two bars at the base of the drums. This didn’t cause any distance concern for us, but another huge factor immediately came into play. Depending on the surface it’s used on, the pedal may slide around during usage, which in turn, ruins the entire intent of the pedal to improve the Rock Band experience. This issue is actually easily remedied with the purchase of some sort of mat to keep the pedal in place. We snagged a $15 rubber "outdoor mat" which ended up keeping the pedal in place quite nicely.
This brings us directly to our second concern. At the initial price point of $64.99 USD, do you really want to be spending more money to get The Destroyer to stay in place? Even if you’re already playing on an appropriate surface area, the price is nothing to scoff at.
In the end, it comes down to how much you want to improve your Rock Band experience. With The Destroyer, we definitely noticed a discernible difference in our skills, getting consistently higher scores and passing harder songs than when playing with the original pedal. With a price point rivaling that of a full retail game, the decision does get a bit tricky though. If money is no object however, we recommend that you give The Destroyer a shot.