Rock Band: Unplugged is the PSPs way of getting a little bit of the music genre action.
Plot: You create a band and tour with them all around the world playing songs to unlock more and to become a legend in the business.
The band you tour with is completely created by you. You choose the name of the band, the name of your members, what sex they are and how you want them to look be it clothes or the instruments they play. As you progress through the career and earn money, more items can be bought to unlock even more for your band to use.
Graphics: Although the band members you create and the stages that you play at are well done, as Rock Band requires you to always be staring at the notes coming down the screen, it's hard to take anything else in.
Sound: There are 41 songs overall included within the game with a good range of eras too and all are sung by the actual artists as you play along.
Gameplay: Rather then playing one instrument like on the bigger consoles, you play as the whole band having to switch between all the band members constantly to keep the music playing. If you mess up then that instrument cuts out and you will hear the song minus that. Really nice touch I thought and added an extra level of realism to it.
Controls: You move between instruments by pressing the shoulder buttons and to hit the notes, you press a mixture of shape and directional buttons. All the controls can be customized to how you prefer to play though although I found the default layout worked the best.
Lifespan: Rock Band can last as long as you want it to really. You can try and five star all the songs, unlock all the items and try out the different difficulties or you can just play through the career till you become a legend.
There's also the option to download even more songs online but at a price.
It's one of those games that can be picked up and played wherever and whenever no matter how long the gap is between each play.
Overall: Although I wouldn't say Unplugged is as good as the ones on the bigger consoles, it's made the transition to the PSP very well and even brings a little more to the table too.
I did find I couldn't stick with the game for very long when I played it, as it's very repetitive but it was great to play through in small doses with a song here and there.
Rockband was the hot new kid on the block when it stepped up against Guitar Hero, EA and Harmonix have now decided that Rockband needs to be taken on a road trip and head out onto the PSP. But can a game where so much emphasis is on use of intstruments , really perform well on a console soley for mobility.
Released in june 2009, Rockband unplugged lets you take the band experience with you to rock out anytime, anywhere. Featuring all the same modes of play and over 40 songs packaged with the game and double that in DLC, you certainly shouldn't be bored with the prospect.
The game lets you play as the same four types as the normal Rockband , Guitar,Drum,Bass and vocals.
Keeping the same experience is hard for the PSP , for a start the console is nothing like a Guitar or a Drum so the way of playing notes feels slightly alien because instead of the buttons being in a line and representative of the screen, they are now in a diamond formation making remembering the notes that bit more difficult. But one big change that has occured here is having to change your part throughout the song, you are no longer just the guitarist but your everything else too. Only by switching to a new instrument with the shoulder buttons, will you be able to complete the song. I didn't like this idea as it felt like I couldn't concentrate on the one area and soon became a jack of all trades, yet master of none.
The gameplay is mainly centered around creating your band and taking them out on tour, play a set amount of songs and then gaining fame and fortune to become the best band in the world.
A "Crowd meter" is the games way of showing how your getting along with this plan , during the songs the meter will go up or down depending on the notes your hitting. The higher the meter the more points you will get allowing you to both unlock new stuff and move on to bigger venues to perform.
Their is also an "Energy meter" which fills as you play , once this is full you can release "overdrive" which turns all the notes white and gets you a multiplier score as well as increasing the crowd meter.
Gameplay is really addicting as you always want to go back and improve your score as well as replay your favourite songs.
The game has a few modes to play with including, Tour mode,Quick play, Band survival and Warm up.
Tour mode - This is the main game mode in which you create a band starting off with small gigs and little credibility. Along the way you unlock song sets and move onto big venues and the chance to buy better customisation options for your character and vehicles.
Tour mode is the best way for the game to show of all the songs and the gameplay, the mode as a whole is quite good and has regular intervals making it great for quick games during the commute.
Quick play mode - once songs are unlocked in Tour mode , you can them play them in quick play. This is as simple as picking the song and away you go.
Band survival mode - This mode is a little random and really abuses the multiple instruments, the idea of the game is that all the instruments are open and the track is playing all the notes. So you must keep switching between all the instruments to try and keep as higher crowd meter as possible.
This is absolute nuts, although it is very exciting there is no way you will ever win in the mode and is more of a question of how little will you fail, however the addition of added modes means a little more bang for your buck and so we mustn't grumble.
Warm up mode - pretty much what it says just an unbiased section to learn the notes and speed of the track, very useful before going into a big venue set.
A slight dissapointment for the games modes is that their is no multiplayer available, in a game based around the workings of a band it seems silly not to allow 3 other players to be playing instruments alongside you.
Graphically everything is the same style as the console iterations just a little less pronounced and polished, this isn't to say that it is a bad looking game but one that is suitable for the needs.
Colours show up well on the screen meaning there is no chance of you mistaking the notes as this will be more down to speed and placement.
The rockers are all individually styled by you and look pretty cool with their mix of punk, rock and metal looks. Similalry with gigs and stages, the bigger you become the better these get although the sense of granduer doesn't always come through. It would be nice to have some bigger shots of the venue which Beatles Rockband done very well and gave a real sense of status.
There are 41 songs which come with the game including the likes of Nirvana, The who and even Tenacious D, all of the songs are from origional copies so they sound exactly as they do in real life.
The sounds of the instruments are nice and if you stop playing then the instrument drops out, not just becoming muffled like the Iphone version.
I was surprised at the quality the PSP managed to pump out soundwise even without headphones, of course with those in the experience is further heightend as you lose all background noise.
One of my only true issues with the game is the length of time that it takes to load and save, each of these take 8 seconds or so a peice and thats really annoying when you just want to play a few songs on your way to work on the tube.
The game is available on Amazon for £7 and is a fine addition to your collection, the game has a good 30 hours gametime if you want to do everything fully and this is extended by purcahsing DLC from the PSN store, the tracks range in price but are generally around 80p a track.
Overall the game is extremely good as a portible Rockband game, the feeling with the controls is more my view as a few others who played it liked it that way, so it's personal taste.