Rock Band 2 Review

People are often hesitant with sequels, especially when there aren’t too many changes on paper. Dubbed Madden Syndrome, the process of merely updating a list (roster, songs, whatever) in a game is generally frowned upon-but for some reason the burgeoning American music genre doesn’t have that stigma. Guitar Hero 2, 3, and eventually 4 are all popular games despite the fact that they are-for the most part-full price expansions with songs.

Rock Band 2 is much the same. While it features a few improvements I’ll touch upon in a bit, for the most part the game is purely a vehicle for the 80 new songs to come in. When you consider that 80 songs via DLC will cost you somewhere between 150-200 bucks, paying 60 for the disc sounds like a great deal.

My favorite change from Rock Band is the ability to play solo in World Tour. The thing I hated most about Rock Band was the fact that unless you had friends over, you couldn’t further your band’s career or unlock more things; you had to play the solo tour, which wasn’t nearly as fulfilling and often led to an even greater number of replaying the same songs over and over and over again when friends DID come over. And even if you don’t have friends readily available now, you can rock out with the World Tour mode online. It took a sequel to get the feature most people wanted, but it’s finally here.

The other major addition to the game was talked about extensively in our E3 coverage, and that’s the Battle of the Bands. Rather than have a gigantic leaderboard where a handful of addicts will lead from day one until today, Rock Band 2 will offer daily, random challenges to bands where you can compete for the high score among the community or your friends. A kin to the Battle of the Bands, the new challenges also offer a nice diversion from the World Tour mode. Unfortunately, unlike the first game where you could play the tour and unlock the full setlist from the least difficult to the most difficult, to unlock everything in Rock Band 2 you really need to complete the challenges, which leads to even more replaying disliked songs for those trying to unlock more choices for when friends come over.

Outside of the actual new additions, everything in Rock Band 2 just seems…better. The menus are more streamlined, the note charts are a nice balance between Guitar Hero’s difficulty and the original Rock Band’s oversimplification, and the graphics have gotten a minor overhaul. The new costume choices are superior to the options in the last title, and animations of the guys on stage just seem smoother and more entertaining on the whole.

So is Rock Band 2 more of the same? Essentially, yes. If you didn’t love Rock Band, Rock Band 2 isn’t going to change your mind or make you a believer. It’s ultimately an updated setlist with some minor additions and tweaks here and there, but don’t let that stop you from buying it if you’re a fan of the genre. Rock Band 2 is easily the best music game since Rock Band came out last year.


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Author: Brendon Lindsey View all posts by

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