Rock Band 2 Review

August 11, 2009 at 2:16 am | Posted in Reviews, Xbox 360 Reviews | Leave a comment
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Link to review

Bedroom band rockers takes a hiatus…

Opening Were getting to that stage in gaming where everyone’s at least once had a go at a Guitar Hero, or a Rock Band or some sorts, from the Hardcore to the Casual, everyone gives it a go.

The franchises have been incredibly successful taking on new ways to make the game appeal to more people and make it all that much better, but have we, or more correctly### have Harmonix reached their limit?

I feel if I went into too much detail into Rock Band 2 on how it works and how it plays I’d be insulting you. Not that I’m being lazy, more to the fact the game plays exactly how Rock Band 1 and the Guitar Hero series before it did. There’s no change in the way we play this game, which whilst being a good thing, begins to take its toll in the long run.

Rather than the traditional play setlists of 4/5 songs and progress onwards, Rock Band 2 has adopted its ‘World Tour’ series as the main tour for the game, so rather than playing each song once to progress, we will be jumping back and forth between city and country to play the next bunch of setlists, earning stars and fans varying from random set lists to set songs. Unlocking harder and more songs as we progress with our band.

As you go through making your band more successful, you’ll have to earn roadies and technicians to enable you to play in bigger better arenas. There are also people who you can hire to join your team. However out of all the staff you’ll unlock. You can only have ONE at a time, and they seem to virtually have little to no effect in your fan or money status when you have them hired. A nice touch, but a little pointless in the sense of building a useful road crew.

Something Rock Band’ers may have felt a little disgust in was the difficulty in being able to switch instruments easily whether in the solo tour or online with world tour without having to reset the console to allow you to re-connect the instrument you wanted as player one. This now is a lot more easier, as now being able to take your band and play through the modes offline, online or with any instrument you want makes this a simple task rather than the sluggish chore we once had.

Unfortunately, as good as Rock Band one looked, RB2 see’s little to no advancement in the graphics department, whilst playing the game there are a few new visual effects, but these can take a turn for the worse in successfully managing to distract you or give you a massive headache.

If your not taking part and watching, you will have a few new good things to watch when the band are just playing together, set pieces like your bassist, guitarist and singer all huddling towards the camera singing the song at the same time is pretty cool, but if your playing the game, chances are you’ll miss it.

So, the sound is probably where it most matters right? We’ve got the good graphics; we’ve got the gameplay down to a tee, so this is where we dish out the awesome tracks to leave Guitar Hero World Tours reportedly below bar song list in the dust.

…Yeah not quite.

For a game which is pretty much an oversized and over priced karaoke machine you’d expect by now, we’d have a healthy new batch of songs people have heard of and will already fairly know? Not the case here I’m afraid.

There’s something greatly lacking in the department of songs on Rock Band 2, don’t get me wrong, there are some cracking tracks, but they seem to be pushed right to the end of the game, meaning you’ll have to play through 50 hideously painful songs about 10 times each before I get to grace my speakers with some good music. Coming from someone who has an incredibly open range in music, this says a lot.

Thankfully, we can bring in the tracks from RB1 into the game, which much be downloaded and moved over through your song cache.

Harmonix also seem to feel that after bringing us Rock Band 2 late again despite EU uproars from the first, the 20 free tracks downloadable from each retail game are enough to shrug off our wait as an ‘Oh Harmonix, you shouldn’t have’ moment. Shame those heavy majority of those tracks are just as poor as the rest of the set list.

With the standard play through for each instrument gone, the World Tour see’s a lot more of a lengthy game to come back to, meaning you’ll be playing a lot of the songs a lot more than normal whether you like them or not. Add this in with online and the challenges and you have yourself a lengthy game. Not to mention DLC always coming each week.

Overall, game play wise, this IS what Rock Band really should be. However, the track list just isn’t there this time round. Rock Band 2 is more of a advancement on making game play more fun and easier rather than a brand new game, and should definitely be avoided at full price. Better luck with round 3.

Rating 6.5


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