Xbox 360 Review: Rock Band 2

Can Rock Band 2 burst GH World Tour’s bubble?

The Rock Band 2 soundtrack will feature over 100 songs with over 80 songs on disc plus an additional 20 bonus tracks which will be made available for free download this fall. This builds upon the unparalleled depth and diversity of Rock Band’s original set list and its ever-expanding library of downloadable tracks. Comprised entirely of master recordings from some of rock’s most prolific and untouchable artists, including AC/DC, Guns N’ Roses, Bob Dylan, Metallica, Pearl Jam and more, Rock Band 2 will deliver the most impressive and largest music catalogue of any music-based videogame ever.

Rock Band 2 for Xbox 360 Features:

After 14 years since Guns N’ Roses last official music release, Axl Rose selects Rock Band 2 to debut official new track “Shackler’s Revenge” from the highly-anticipated album Chinese Democracy.
Rock Band 2 is the first and only video game to feature the music of AC/DC. It includes their epic rock anthem, “Let There Be Rock.”

For the first time ever, music from American music icon, Bob Dylan, is featured in a video game with “Tangled Up In Blue.”

Rock Band 2 will feature backwards compatibility with all Rock Band downloadable music content released to date.

Owners of the original Rock Band will have the ability to export most of the Rock Band disc tracks and upgrade them into Rock Band 2 gameplay-the first time ever in videogame history!

With ongoing weekly DLC releases including individual tracks, track packs and full albums, the Rock Band music library will feature more than 500 songs by year’s end!

Being in Europe, we only got the first Rock Band a few months ago. So it’s fresher for us, while we hadn’t seen a Guitar Hero game since last year. Since then we had another Guitar Hero which earned an impressive 8.8 score from yours truly. The question is can Rock Band topple World Tour?

In many ways it does, yet it remains almost identical to the first that we got our hands on just a few months ago. Sure, it does have plenty of new features like Battle of the Bands, an expanded band world tour and the option to customise a playlist so you can play whatever songs you want on each tour, even during solo…which helps if you don’t like certain songs that the game has. It all comes down to your own taste in music to decide which the better game is, I personally don’t like many of the songs in Rock Band 2, yet I’m sure others will really like them.

I’m more into the old style of Rock from bands like Duran Duran and The Who, the Punk side isn’t really my thing. Maybe that’s the great thing about Rock Band 2, which it can appeal to almost anyone with its vast amount of different music. The core gameplay remains the same and you can use the same instruments from Rock Band 1 for those who don’t fancy splashing out big bucks on the new and improved instruments. Sadly, I didn’t get any to test out so I can’t say how improved they really are.

The real problem with Rock Band 2 is that it feels more of an expansion than a true sequel. The interface looks identical, although you can customise your character a bit more…the visuals haven’t been improved either and look just like the original. The impressive thing however is that you can play songs from both games without swapping disks, even you’re downloadable content from Rock Band 1 will work with Rock Band 2.

Playing as a band is a great experience even now, just don’t expect much to be different from the original. World Tour added in a music studio and tackled the other instruments quite well; Rock Band 2 on the other hand plays it safe with the same features with minor improvements, almost like one of EA’s sports titles. I’d hate to think that a game that had such a great start becomes nothing more than a yearly updated game, but I can see it happening.

The thing that goes in Rock Band 2’s favour is downloadable content, which is frequent and fairly cheap…although it could work out very expensive in the long run. There will be a total of more than 500 songs by the end of the year, which is very impressive. It would be nice if the team made deals for more new songs or songs that gamers want instead of what they think we want, I personally would like some of Coldplay’s songs on there but maybe there’s some deal somewhere that’s stopping them from bringing Viva La Vida to the fold.

The Verdict

Rock Band 2 had the potential to once again topple Guitar Hero. It does a good job but they play it safe with what looks like an expansion pack, it has plenty of content but we’ve seen it before only a few months ago in Europe. It’s a great game, just far too similar to be considered a true sequel.

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