Rock Band 2

The video game that made plastic guitars a staple of living rooms everywhere.
Cameron Nutter - Staff Reviewer

Content at a glance:


Computer Platform: Xbox 360 (Microsoft)
Produced by: Harmonix
Price Range: $51-60
Learning curve time: 31-60 min.
Age level: All Ages
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
Patches / Upgrades: Yes, free on Xbox Live

Reviewed By: Cameron (Evileye)

Overall Rating: ★★★★½
Genre: Other Music Simulation
Rating: 4 of 5 (good)
Gameplay: 5 of 5 (excellent)
Violence: 5 of 5 (none)
Adult Content: 3 of 5 (mild)

Rock Band 2.  Illustration copyrighted.

May or may not apply to Rock Band 2 on the PS3. Most gameplay aspects do not apply to Rock Band 2 on the Playstation 2 or Wii.

Made by the original developers of Guitar Hero, (the video game that made plastic guitars a staple of living rooms everywhere), the first Rock Band broke ground in the music video game field. Rock Band added two new dimensions: a microphone, and drums. It was a huge hit, but since Guitar Hero was such a big name, Rock Band did not outsell its main competitor, Guitar Hero III. Now we have Rock Band 2, a repackaging of the original with some minor upgrades and some new and (for the most part) improved instruments.

The gameplay has stayed the same from the original. For those unacquainted with the series, notes flow down the screen on a virtual fret board in tune and time with the beat while the player has to hit them in that correct order on the the plastic guitars or drums while the vocalist sings along karaoke style.

Rockband 2

The single player experience has changed a bit. Now it takes you through the World Tour mode that was multiplayer only in the last iteration. The World Tour mode is a non-linear way of progressing through the songs as you guide your virtual band across the globe. You'll build up your popularity and advance to more exotic locations with more difficult songs, but the game does a good job of letting you play the songs you want when you want. Any song in your library works itself in this mode, be it songs from the first Rock Band if you own it or any of the extra songs downloaded.

There are lots of other modes, as-well. There's a quickplay mode that lets you play a single song either alone or with your friends. There's also an online multiplayer mode, with a mix of competitive modes. There's also a few modes that you probably won't play, like a drum trainer that teaches you how to do basic beats and a free play mode for the drums, which lets you invent your own drum beats.

Rock Band 2's biggest selling point is the song lineup. As of the review date, there are almost 500 total songs available, with over 300 songs available for download for both Rock Band 1 and 2. They are all priced fairly decently at about $2 a pop (or 160MS points). For a $5 fee you can import all but 4 of the Rock Band 1 songs into Rock Band 2 if you own the original.

Rockband 2

With regards to those plastic instruments, the drums get a nice upgrade. They're both quieter, and pressure sensitive now, which responds well. The guitar stays about the same, with the squishy strum bar. The buttons also have the habit of sticking. It's not a deal breaker but it is a shame, especially for those that have been fans of the series for a while that have a closet full of guitars they'd rather use.

Any objectionable content in Rock Band 2 is going to come from the songs themselves. The harsher profanity is all edited out (think radio versions of songs) but some of the minor expletives are still in. The album art is there, and while there isn't anything horrible, Nirvana’s Nevermind shows up (which has a naked baby on the front of it). It's hard to be specific with the 500 songs available about any issues, but the tracks included on the disc are all clean from any strongly objectionable material. When downloading songs, though, you should be sure to check out the song before downloading it.

Rock Band 2

The outfits you can dress your character in can vary in appropriateness, too. There are some revealing outfits, but nothing explicit is shown. All in all, Rock Band 2, like the rest of the plastic instrument music games, have done a great job of removing the sex and drugs from “sex, drugs and rock and roll.”

As much as Rock Band 2 is just more of the same; it's definitely worth the purchase even if you already own Rock Band. It's a great game, with a ton of songs, and a must have in any group setting. The content is clean save for some minor lyrical issues, which isn't enough to save it from getting a strong recommendation.

Edited by Brendan Frizzley and John Fox

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Year of Release — 2008


Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Eden Communications or the Answers Network.

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