Rock Band 2

October 13, 2008

Last November the gaming industry was rocked to its core when Rock Band made its way onto retail shelves across the nation. Rock Band 2 embodies the same concept as its predecessor with all-new features, 84 brand new original master tracks, and new superior hardware to boot. At this year’s E3, Harmonix was very particular about emphasizing that the original release of Rock Band was geared towards innovation and that the sequel was all about perfection.

Ultimately, Rock Band 2 is not all that different from the original release. As a matter of fact, if you were to compare the actual game play of the two you would more than likely not even notice the difference unless you were a die-hard Rock Band enthusiast. Most of the changes in the game are in the form of new tour challenges, game modifiers, all new set list, and online world tour. Tour challenges are mini-campaigns which are focused on a specific instrument, genre, album, or artist. Game modifiers are unlockables that can be enabled to alter the game play in one fashion or another. The most notable modifier is the no-fail-mode which disables the ability to fail a song; this is suitable for people who want to enjoy the game but are not good enough to actually complete the songs, like small children. One of the other more publicized modifiers is a juke-box-mode which allows you to enjoy all of your Rock Band songs without having to actually play them. The world tour in the original Rock Band was limited to people who were physically in the location of the game, but Rock Band 2 brings world tour mode online. Friends can now play together in a band via Xbox LIVE no matter where in the world they are.

A failure point in the original Rock Band was that when you created a band you were required to create characters for that band. That in itself was no issue, however, for some unknown reason the game was developed with the logic that each character you created was tied to a particular instrument, and at that, a band leader was also designated who was required to play a show. This might not seem like a big deal, but let me assure you when you attempted to sing with a character who happened to be the lead guitarist, Rock Band would not have it. Thankfully, this has been rectified in Rock Band 2. Characters are no longer tied to an instrument, band leaders do not have to be present, and more importantly only one player has to be present to play a show. Additionally, characters have been loaded into the game so if you choose to not create a character for your band, or jam session for that matter, you have the option to choose from a few default ones.

Rock Band 2 also introduces a new drum trainer geared towards accustoming the player with the drum beats they will encounter through the game (or in real life for that matter) on various difficulties. Aside from the available beats, there is a free mode in the trainer which allows players to make up their own drum patterns, or at least try. In this same fashion, they will have the ability to play songs stored on their Xbox 360’s internal memory (not in Rock Band) and drum along with them. Keep in mind this is merely for entertainment purposes as no notes will actually scroll across the screen for these songs.

Queue the music. Rock Band 2 brings with it 84 all new master track recordings (that means no more covers) for rocking your face off enjoyment! Rock Band developers have always done a great job at providing great set lists for the game and have in no way failed this time around. The game’s new track list ranges from 70’s classics A

Score: 5/5

Questions? Check out our review guide.