Review: Rock Band 2 by Ryan Gray
September 17, 2008, 1:31 am
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , , ,

[By Ryan]

Well, I finally got through all of Rock Band 2. It was a somewhat lengthy, partly frustrating, but mostly hell of a fun journey. It took me a bit to get through every ounce of it, but I’m finally done. Is it worth you’re 60$ (or 189.99$ if you’re buying the whole kit) ? Hit the jump to read my final verdict.

Believe it or not, I had a lot of mixed feelings coming into Rock Band 2. I thought it would be the same game, different songs. Nothing special. I was definitely wrong, this game delivers in every way Rock Band didn’t and then some. When you first boot up the game, you’re going to be greeted by a nicely stylized menu system. It’s much more visually appealing, and cool little art designs like tigers with wings or what ever mythical creature may pop on the side, it’s awesome to look at. Anyway, you’re going to notice most of the same features are back from the original. You have the main attraction, “Band World Tour”. The one we all know and love. But now you can run through it by yourself. That’s right, finally. If you can’t always get all of your buddies together, or if you’re like our Editor-In-Chief and don’t have friends (Just kidding Ant, we know you have friends, don’t get rid of me), you can play through the whole world tour by your self. It’s an awesome addition and I really did enjoy being in full control of all expenses and song choices, but I do recommend playing with friends, It’s much more enjoyable. This brings us to game play.

The game play this year is pretty much the same stuff as last year. You have you’re vocals, guitar, bass guitar, and my personal favorite, drums. It’s just as fun as it’s always been and has been made even better by the spectacular track list concocted up over at Harmonix. Songs such as “Pinball Wizard” by The Who, “Master Exploder” by Tenacious D, “Give It Away” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Let There Be Rock” by AC/DC and more are a blast to play. And the other 80 or so ain’t to shabby either. Then I came to “One Step Closer” by Linkin Park and wanted to call up Harmonix and just ask why they would do this to me. But I’ll give them a freebie, the game is awesome regardless. There is also drum solos now which made drummers like me very happy. I drum expert, so I didn’t really need to check out this option but I did for the sake of a good review. There’s a training mode for those of you who want to learn how to become better, or just suck and absolutely need to get better. I did find myself connecting beats better after roughly a half hour of training though, so it’s great to have. You’re going to want this training if you play on expert anyway, cause some of the later songs will kick your ass, laugh at you, and kick you some more. A few songs are completely ruthless, but when you finally reach the end of that one song that’s been paining you, you’re going to feel like a rock god.

Presentation wise the game shines just like it had before. The menus are slick and easier to get around. The quick play options menu is much more straight forward, just a listing of the tracks from A-Z, by difficulty, Artist, Album, etc. The games HUD is exactly the same. I’m not kidding here people, I don’t think I can find one major change to the HUD. Is that a bad thing? Absolutely not. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. It just would’ve been nice to see something a little different.

The online modes are admirable. They really took this game into greatness with the online compatibility. There is now online Band World Tour, so you and your buddies can rock from the comfort of your mothers basements, and there is also Battle Of The Bands, which adds a new competitive edge to the experience. Both are very much appreciated additions and will keep you playing for some time. There are also daily challenges from Harmonix to keep you busy until Rock Band 3 or Guitar Hero World Tour if you’re getting it.

Although there isn’t much to say here, I’m going to have to point out a few negatives of the experience. When there’s achievements on the Xbox 360 and no trophy support on the Playstation 3 it just isn’t right. Achievements/Trophies give you something to strive for, and the PS3 not having it is just dumb really. The game also had nothing done to it graphically. This was no Metal Gear Solid 4 or Gears of War from the first game, I just feel they could’ve done more to it. It just pains me when a little more effort from a developer can really change an experience and make it even more of a fresh experience from it’s predecessor, and they decide not to.

Were gettin' the band back together.

The band is back in town.

To finish it off, the new peripherals are somewhat of an improvement. The new drums are much better than the plastic pieces of crap shipped with the last game. The drum pads now have velocity recognition (you hit it harder, louder sound and vice-versa). The drum pedal is reinforced with metal so it won’t BREAK this time (for those of you who read my impressions). The guitar has a new coat of paint…..yay? It’s pretty much the same old piece of crap that shipped with the last version. But if it’s your only option, it will do what it has to, just don’t expect a great peripheral like Guitar Hero 3’s Gibson Les Paul. The microphone is the same thing as last year, which is good. The mic has always worked well and this is no different. If you’re loaded as hell with cash and want to drop a good 300 USD on a drum set, pick up the ION drum set. I haven’t gotten a chance to play it, but through other news stories and common sense, your going to get quality with that beast.

Regardless of the few negativities, this game is still awesome. It is definitely worth you’re money regardless of whether you’ll be buying the disc or the kit. If you had the first one with the kit, just buy the disc. If not, pick up the kit. On a scale from 1-10 I’m going to give it a 9.1 and a definite editors choice.


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