Thursday, September 18, 2008

Tech: Rock Band 2

"Rock Band 2," a music game from Harmonix, is a good example of a "more-of-the-same" sequel. It uses the same game engine as the original, and thus it really doesn't change the existing "Rock Band" gameplay. You still have guitar, bass, drums, and vocals, with all the music game conventions fans have come to expect. The game even reuses the vast majority of the existing art assets:



The biggest reason to plunk down your hard-earned $59.99 are the 84 new songs included on the disc. There are some incredible, iconic rock tracks here - everything from "Pinball Wizard" to "Everlong." Even the pop-rock songs are good this time around ("You Oughta Know" by Alanis Morissette is an inspired choice, especially for bassists).

But going to this new game doesn't mean abandoning your old songs. In a smart move, Harmonix has rigged it so both downloaded songs from the first "Rock Band" as well as 55 of the 58 on-disc songs can be ported seamlessly into the new game. The practical upshot is that RB2 is bursting to the gills with songs - my personal library has over 250 tracks.

For a "Rock Band" virgin, RB2 is the undoubtedly the best place to start. But for people who've already got their mileage out of their fake plastic instruments, you may be disappointed if you were expecting another rock revolution.

Rating: 80/100

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