PSP Review: Rock Band Unplugged

Can Rock Band work on the PSP without any instruments?

Guitar Hero and Rock Band. The two greatest music franchises in the industry try to outdo each other. Guitar Hero tackled the DS with an add-on, while Rock Band introduced new instruments other than the guitar, taking the competition directly to Activision. Rock Band has now taken a new step in the handheld market, the PSP? Yes, it sounds like it could be a disaster but Rock Band Unplugged proves you don’t need plastic instruments to enjoy yourself…
For a handheld game, Rock Band Unplugged has some great songs and quite a few of them. It would have been nice to have more, but I imagine that the team simply ran out of room on the UMD. Here’s what songs to expect…

Rock Band Unplugged Full Track List:

AFI – “Miss Murder” *

All-American Rejects – “Move Along”

Audioslave – “Gasoline”

Black Tide – “Show Me the Way”

Freezepop – “Less Talk More Rokk”

Jimmy Eat World – “The Middle”

The Killers – “Mr. Brightside”

Lacuna Coil – “Our Truth”

Lamb of God – “Laid to Rest”

Modest Mouse – “Float On”

Queens of the Stone Age – “3’s and 7’s”

System of a Down – “Chop Suey!”

Tenacious D – “Rock Your Socks”

3 Doors Down – “Kryptonite”

Alice in Chains – “Would?”

Blink 182 – “What’s My Age Again”

Foo Fighters – “Everlong”

Judas Priest – “Painkiller”

Lit – “My Own Worst Enemy”

Lush – “De-Luxe”

Mighty Mighty Bosstones – “Where’d You Go?”

Nine Inch Nails – “The Perfect Drug”

Nirvana – “Drain You”

The Offspring – “Come Out and Play (Keep ’em Separated)”

Pearl Jam – “Alive”

Smashing Pumpkins – “Today”

Social Distortion – “I Was Wrong”

Soundgarden – “Spoonman”

Weezer – “Buddy Holly”

Billy Idol – “White Wedding Part 1”

Bon Jovi – “Livin’ on a Prayer”

Dead Kennedys – “Holiday in Cambodia”

Motörhead – “Ace of Spades”

The Police – “Message in a Bottle”

Siouxsie & the Banshees – “The Killing Jar”

Boston – “More Than a Feeling”

Jackson 5 – “ABC”

Jethro Tull – “Aqualung”

Kansas – “Carry on Wayward Son

Rush – “The Trees”

The Who – “Pinball Wizard”

It’s quite an impressive list with the likes of Pinball Wizard, Ace of Spades and Livin’ on a Prayer (My personal favourites) So how does the game work without any instruments or add-ons? Well, it’s simple. You use the left and up buttons on the d-pad as well as triangle and square to hit the notes. X starts the star power and the shoulder buttons switch you through your band to hit their notes. The game requires you to do a little bit of each and then quickly flip over to the next available band member to play their side of things.
I grant you, it’s not the same as banging the drums or singing your heart out, but it’s a different experience and one that’s quite addictive. Mainly because you have to maintain each member’s performance or the song will sound incredibly odd. The sound quality is excellent and I cannot recommend using headphones enough. The speakers on the PSP just aren’t upto the job, so put in those headphones!

As with all Rock Band games, you can create your own band and customise them to your heart’s content. It’s simple and easy to do, but it doesn’t really add anything extra to the game. You’ll be more focused on playing the songs in a more arcade style while maintaining its core gameplay of nailing as many notes as you can.

The Verdict

Rock Band Unplugged is a great extension of the series for PSP owners. It’s rewarding, enjoyable and most of all, just damn fun to play. The sound quality is great and the track list is good too. This is a great way to experience Rock Band without splashing out a load of cash for instruments.