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Rock Band 2 (Xbox 360)

91
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
4.2
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  MasterMegid (897)
Written on  :  Jul 16, 2009
Platform  :  Xbox 360
Rating  :  5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars

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Summary

"It's All Part Of My Rock And Roll Fantasy...."

The Good

Vicarious Living Through Videogames

After, Guitar Hero, caught fire, it was inevitable that others would follow, it’s lead. And when former Guitar Hero developer, Harmonix, left Activision to make there own game, Rock Band. Followed by it’s sequel, Rock Band 2.

I am far from a causal gamer. I have always considered myself more of a hardcore gamer.(For lack of a better word.-MM-) But I do enjoy some casual games. Like Virtua Cop. How would a jaded gamer like myself respond to this type of game?

As the name implies, in Rock Band, you make your own band. The game includes, a guitar, drum kit, including a bass petal. And a microphone. If you want to play bass, you must buy a second guitar. And either playing by yourself with A.I. band, or a group of friends you band goes from nothing to stardom. You can even play online, but more on that later.

This game is pure fun. More so with real people. But it is decent when playing alone. When playing Guitar, you must match cords with those on the screen. It is color coded. You also have to use the strum bar, to strum the cord. There is also a whammy bar, and you can change the sound of the guitar, via, the switch. Some songs allow a big finish , in which you strum wildly to gain a point bonus. The bass plays exactly the same, except, it sounds like you are playing a bass. There are also solo’s to do, and bass grooves.

Playing the drums is similar. Hit the color coated drum heads. And you also have to use the bass petal. If you are not used to drums this takes some practice. I actually find it a little harder than actual, drum playing, at least at first.

Singing, is not as easy as you might think. You have to say the lyrics, but more importantly you must hit the same tenor of the original song. So deep voiced people like myself, will have some trouble matching a high pitch. And vice versa.

Each, player can activate “overdrive” mode. You see you build up your overdrive meter, by hitting special glowing cords, or notes. Then you unleash it. With the guitar you throw the guitar’s neck up quickly. Vocal’s must blow into the mic. But most fun of all is the drums. You wildly hit a drum combo, and activate the last note, and there it goes. Much more fun than with the others instruments. You can also use you overdrive meter, to bail out a struggling band member. But if one fails you all fail. It’s perfect co-op game.

That’s My Band, Sexual Chocolate

What good would a rock game be without great tunes? Rock Band 2’s set list would be best called eclectic. I am a bit a music snob. Or to put it more delicately, I know what I like, and I know what I hate. There are a lot of well know acts, Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Bob Dylan, and U2. There is off-beat stuff as well. From Beck, The Talking Heads, and Speck. There is also some rubbish, like Bon Jovi, AFI, and The Main Drag, among others. But you have to take the good with the bad I guess.

You can also upload all your songs from Rock Band 1. And you can download, additional songs via Xbox Live. All and all there are some 200+ songs. And new ones are added weekly. In some cases you can even download whole albums.

Another bonus, for Xbox 360 gamers, is the backwards compatibility, of the instruments. So you can use your Rock Band stuff with Guitar Hero and vice versa. This cannot be done on the Wii, or PS3.(Heeh, Ha!-MM-)

You can also play online. So my band, Sexual Chocolate, could play yours via Xbox Live. No cross platform play unfortunately.

The graphics are okay. But take a backseat to the gameplay. The sound is amazing as you might expect. Especially with surround sound. Dolby 5.1. Hell yeah.

The Bad

The game can be a bit to sensitive at times. And not count you hitting a note. This is particularly noticeable when singing.

This game invited a lot of wannabes and posers to the gaming world. AKA casual gamers. But at least it shows that both can come together, and coexist. Even a twisted, bitter soul, like myself can have fun here. I even talked some of other jaded friends into playing this with me.

Now, were is Funk Hero? And Jazz Star? I am not kidding. And why can you not load up your Mp3’s from Xbox Live? And why no making your own music. Of course this is nothing is particular just my random thoughts of life.

The Bottom Line

If hardcore gamers can get past there preconceptions, and casual gamers not be little wankers, me can all play together, or not I don’t care. This game harkens back to the days of arcade games, when the videogame was king. Only it is not the 80’s again.(Yeah!-MM-)