Release Date: 9/14/2008
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The Good: More solid peripherals, Band World Tour!, importing Rock Band 1 songs, new modes are fun, still the same solid game play
The Bad: Still the same game play, same graphics, same looks, customization hasn’t changed, $5 fee for Rock Band 1 importing
Rock Band stole the grown from Guitar Hero as the best rhythm game and broke the boundaries with the drum peripheral and the excellent multiplayer to really make you feel like you’re in a band. I’m not going to explain how Rock Band is played since most people have already played it, so I’m mainly going to focus on improvements and updates.
Well everything here that you loved about the first game is still here, but improved. I’m going to start with the hardware which is actually much better than the original and the most noticeable are the drums. The first game’s drums were poorly designed with pieces constantly coming apart and A LOT of plastic parts. Rock Band 2’s drums have a metal cover on top of the kick pedal, it’s bigger, the drums are quieter thanks to the pads being a softer material than just rubber, the base of the drums actually stay together since there is a whole locking mechanism on these so moving your set won’t make the base come apart. Other than that everything on the drums is the same; there are however; three extra colored plugs for the cymbal attachments (which are very poorly designed and NOT recommended) along with the drum sticks being a couple of inches longer. The best part about the drums is that they are wireless and the batteries last forever. With three AA batteries I only changed them once in a five month period and I played A LOT.
On to the guitar it is also now wireless, with a wood type texture on the next (instead of that ugly plastic) and the buttons are a little further apart so you can feel which button you’re hitting. For some reason the bottom buttons are still the same and I still find these useless. The microphone is a little bit lighter, but otherwise I found no difference from this than the original. While all the hardware is well designed it’s also more solid, stable, and more responsive.
On to the game now, when you start the game up you’ll notice a nicer menu, more modes, and a longer World Tour. The first mode you’ll want to try are the training modes (if you haven’t played Rock Band before), but there is also the new drum trainer mode. You can work on your rhythm or just hit along to your own songs via the Xbox Guide which I found fun and great. I know a lot of people tap things to their favorite songs so now you really can while choosing several different drum set sound schemes. When you pop into the World Tour you’ll notice there’s a venue in almost every city in the world it seems. I bought this game in February and it’s now June and I still haven’t finished the World Tour (and I play several set lists everyday).
While the fan, set list, and star system is still in tact with a new manager element added. You can hire new managers that gain you extra fans, cash, or something along those lines. While there are 25-30 cities in the game there are at least 2-3 songs plus 3-5 set lists in each city. By the time I got around to unlocking the hidden cities (including the endless set list which is an 84 song marathon) I had thirty million fans and over 2,500 stars. Yes that is A LOT of playing and the World Tour is actually almost impossible to beat. The best part about Rock Band is the multiplayer and Rock Band 2 adds some greatness to it with a few new modes.
There is now (the long awaited) Band World Tour so you can take your whole band through the World Tour and complete it that way. While the other modes are still here (Tug of War, Band Duel, Co-Op) nothing else has changed. There are some other cool modes such as “Never Fail” and “Break Neck Speed” these are cool modifiers for people who are really bored. On to customization, there are more items including the new Thrifty section, but everything else is the same. The graphics are exactly the same, and customizing hasn’t changed. You can create a band logo, but it’s not any deeper than you’re familiar with. Now my favorite feature about the game is you can import songs from Rock Band 1 into the game (for a $5 fee of course), but this is well worth it.
When you’re done with that head to the store which has 500+ songs available to download with every genre imaginable on there. After you get bored with songs on the disc buy some songs! Rock Band 2 is such a great rhythm game; it’s solid, smooth, fun, heavy with songs, and has lots of quality.