Jeff Markiewicz On September 25, 2008 at 7:45 am

The sequel to the music game that set the industry on fire is upon us. Rock Band 2 is out or nearly out for your platform of choice. Packed to the brim with new content and some new upgrades to boot but is it worth it? Read on rocker, Harmonix has created another treat and you can get it before Halloween.

Starting up Rock Band 2 is a real treat, for the first time in gaming, content you have purchased for the predecessor is available from the get go in the sequel. And the best part is, you don’t have to do anything, go to play a song and they are already there, waiting to be played again. You can even import nearly every song from Rock Band 1 with a small 400pt ($5) charge, which considering how much content is there, is worth it if you don’t wish to take an intermission to switch disks. The play mechanics in Rock Band 2 are exactly the same as its predecessor but this is not a bad thing. They worked flawlessly the first time. Now, if you played Rock Band 1, you know all these songs could be a chore to traverse but Harmonix has your back and has incorporated some improved sorting functionality. As you’re looking for what to play you will now be able to see the album art and the difficulty on the left which will make you take a second look if you’re playing a song on expert that’s brutally hard. On the other hand, if you can’t even handle easy or you have children who have difficulty playing, turn on the "no fail" modifier and the band keeps on playing even if the digital crowd wants you off. There is a new mode called Drum Trainer which will teach you some basic beats to keep you on track when you freestyle in the game. If you struggled to recover after those times or if it threw your friends off beat, this can help but overall, while it is nice it doesn’t add anything to the songs. It would’ve been nice if you successfully executed beats close to the song during the freestyle events that you’d get a bonus but this is not the case and hence unless you’re trying to master the drums, you’ll probably skip this feature.

If you actually looked at the crowd and your characters rocking out with fancy filters spicing up the screen, you might be slightly disappointed to know that there is very little difference. There are a couple new filters and a couple new costumes for single player but overall little noticeable difference. But most people probably didn’t care about that’s because the entire time you’re deeply focused on color bars scrolling down the screen. Overall the graphics won’t blow you away, but in a music game, you didn’t notice them anyways.

Every song is a master recording, essentially meaning the sound is simply fantastic. Missing a beat can be easily heard so when you perfect a song, it’s just that much better. The song selection is awesome. After reforming the band, we sat for about 15 minutes just scrolling through the new songs with everyone getting excited and trying to prevent us going further because there could not possibly be a better song than this one and then a few songs down it’d already be topped. The selection is a bit more varied than the original and should appeal to more people but the list is available on the internet, its impressive 84 song load out might clog the tubes though. Not to mention this fall another 20 songs will be released free which pushes it over the 100 song mark. For free. If this was pure DLC, it’d probably cost over $200 considering individual songs go for 160MS points ($2). Overall sound is awesome, song selection is great, and you get a butt load of songs for your $60.

Rock Band 2 is here but is it time to get everyone back for the reunion tour? The game comes with some minor upgrades, ability to immediately play all of your downloaded songs plus the ability to import nearly every song from Rock Band 1; it seems that the game hinges on its content. And let me tell you, the content is good but don’t let me dictate your exquisite tastes, check out the song list and if you see at least 30 songs that you like, the game has paid for itself not even considering the extra upgrades and the other 54 songs. Plus your already downloaded content can be used so you have not lost content and if you’re too lazy to switch disks, you can just import most of the songs off of Rock Band 1 (and then trim the fat if you especially hate a certain song). Unfortunately I didn’t get to check out the new hardware but I can tell you is that the old equipment work flawlessly so unless you had a major issue with something, no need to upgrade. Overall the package is a great value. Gameplay is exactly the same as before, which was perfect. The graphics have gotten a slight improvement but nothing special. And most importantly, the audio is awesome and you have a wealth of content to dive into and keep you busy. Basically, if you loved the first one, this one is a must buy.


Same as before, which means it’s still perfect. Could not ask for much more.


A minor upgrade over the first one but still nothing special but considering this is a music game, you didn’t care about the graphics in the first place.


Every track is a master track. Simply put the sound is fantastic. If you miss a beat, you’ll know it.


Call up your friends, this one is worth it. 84 great new songs that span the music spectrum, 20 more FREE this fall, all your DLC works immediately, and you can import your songs from Rock Band 1. It’s ridiculous the amount of content you’ll have at your fingertips for your reunion tour.

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