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Finally after a year of the game being out us poor old British Wii owners get to join in with the revolution that is "Rock Band 2". The game is part of the ever increasing range of music and rhythm based genre games that have sprung up around us in the recent years. Having always been a big fan of the first game I was overjoyed when the sequel made its way into our household, as it made available a lot of features that were up till now reserved only for the likes of the PS3 and Xbox 360 owners. The game has again been produced by the company Harmonix who are the guys behind the original "Rock Band" title as well as creating the original "Guitar Hero" series which would then be taken over by Neversoft.
Just how do Wii Rock?
First off for those unfamiliar with this particular style of game the aim is to play along in time to various songs using different pseudo instrument style controllers, with the ability to have up to four players join in you and your friends are able to create your own band and dominate the music scene. With this game to the ability to use the guitar from the Guitar Hero game series has been included so you no longer need to have two different sets of guitars for each of the gaming series.
During each of songs you will need to press the various buttons on the neck of the guitar in time with the pattern of notes that appear on the screen just like the "Guitar Hero" games pressing the buttons is not enough though as you have to hit the strum bar located on the body of the guitar in order to activate each of the notes. The drums work on a similar basis but instead of requiring you to just press some buttons on the instrument you get to beat the living daylights out of your fake drum kit as each of the pads corresponds to each of the various notes that appear on the screen. Unlike the other instruments the vocals take on a slightly different tone as you get to blast out karaoke style as you physically sing along to the track with the main key being that of sing in time and at the required pitch.
With all of the instruments there are varying levels of difficultly ranging from "Easy" with the option of a No Fail which basically allows you to play the whole song through no matter how bad you are, all the way through to Expert level which sees the notes appearing on the screen at breakneck speeds and giving those fingers the workout of their life. With each of songs there are two main objectives to reach for the first of these is to achieve the maximum number of notes played this is measured by you being awarded with a number of stars anything from one star for you doing absolutely abysmal to five stars for you performing the song perfectly. The second target for each song is to achieve the highest score points wise this is monitored by awarding you with a set number of points for each note played, and as you string more notes together without making a mistake these awarded points are multiplied however be warned that if you should make a mistake the score multiplier will reset and you will have to start a fresh string of notes again to bring back the scoring bonus.
Do Wii look good then?
Overall there is a great upgrade graphics wise in comparison to the original "Rock Band" with the most obvious addition being the inclusion of the option to customize your little rocker to either look similar to yourself or as outrageous and zany looking as you want. As with most of the games that cross platforms between the PS3, Xbox 360 and the Wii this game will never be able to keep up with the graphically enhancements that HD and a far great computing power can provide but they certainly still make for a great looking in game experience. Each of the characters will react in various ways during different songs with a great deal of varying camera angles coming into play as well for example when the guitarist goes into a solo the camera will sometimes look up along the neck of the guitar to witness the fingers of the player moving up and down the fret board.
Can Wii play louder?
With the original "Rock Band" game we were treated to just under sixty songs to play through, but with this sequel that number has been increased out to 84, as well as this increase of songs available all of the tracks are actual master recordings by each of the bands themselves as opposed to the original which featured quite a number of cover versions within its ranks. As with the first game the songs available range from the golden oldies in the form of such bands as Fleetwood Mac and The Who all the way through to the modern music age with such bands as Paramore and Avenged Sevenfold. If that wasn't enough music to make your ears bleed though you are in for a treat in the form of the in built music store which allows you to browse a massive collection of songs that you can access for a price of course from over two hundred and fifty artists spanning nearly four decades of musical influences. The release of the downloadable songs has prompted a number of bands to release a downloadable album for use in the game alongside the proper album so far we have had entire albums being released by the likes of Guns 'n' Roses with their Chinese Democracy album, Pearl Jam with their new Backspacer album and the fantastic Spinal Tap with their latest offering in the form of their Back from the Dead album. As well as these more well known bands we get some much less well known bands making the store like the amazing Anvil (for those of you who don't know about these guys you need to check out the documentary about them.)
If you want to see exactly what songs are included on the game you can take a look at this webpage;
I Wanna Rock Band All Night
Like a lot of the other rhythm and music based games in this genre there is an awful lot of longevity to this, like I said if the original songs that are included with the game are not enough the ever increasing list of downloadable tracks should keep you going for a heck of a long time to come. A nice feature that the game also includes is the fact that if you don't have people to join in with you in playing on the various instruments in the game you can join up with other users online and create your own worldwide band. Like with a lot of the Wii's online games there is a means of inputting your friends Wii codes so that you can easily connect with them to play. If this wasn't enough for you the creators of the game also run in game competitions which will appear at the various venues in the game, these competitions can take various forms from trying to achieve the highest score on one or more songs too gaining the highest note run over several songs which can be a very frustrating competition especially when you fully complete two songs and then miss the first note on the third song.
To Rock or Not to Rock
With so many different things included in this game it is certainly one to keep my interest for some time to come, and will make a fine addition to my ever increasing collection of games from this genre. Despite all of the praises that I have for this game there are a few bad points to it as well the first of these being that fact that whenever I play it I have to have my TV turned up to almost unbearable volume levels just so that I can rock out as hard as possible. This unfortunately means that my neighbours probably like me even less than usual now, and also that while I'm rocking away my girlfriend finds it incredibly funny and will usually sit watching me in fits of laughter. Seriously though the only disadvantage with this game or any of the others from this genre is the drum kit as great an idea as it is they just make such a racket so it's well advised not to play this game at 1 am that is not unless you like having your door knocked down by the police.
Alongside the game there is also opportunity to link up your game to the games official website here you can check on new downloadable music that will be becoming available and other game related news such as up and coming competitions and new products as well.
The address for the games official website is: http://www.rockband.com
I'm sure that this game will provide just as much enjoyment to everyone else as it has to me so get out there and start rocking!