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Rock Band 2 (Xbox 360)

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15 Reviews

Genre: Music & Dancing / Release Date: 2008-11-21 / Published by Electronic Arts

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      21.02.2014 16:47
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      Fun for all the Family

      Once upon a time, it was practically tradition for families everywhere to spend at least 4 hours of Christmas day playing Monopoly, before an argument ensued about what version of the rules were being played, and ultimately, the youngest person at the table was declared the winner because nobody could be bothered to actually finish the game.

      More recently, the Nintendo Wii took the spotlight, but after a short period of playing Wii Sports, and a slightly longer period of Mario Kart, it turned out that jumping around the room and waving your arms for prolonged periods isn't actually that much fun.

      Then came Rockband: The ability for anyone, of any age, with any level of musical talent and any level of alcohol intoxication to join with friends to create a band, then perform some of the greatest tracks ever heard, from a number of different genres - not just rock. Each user selects their instrument and difficulty before each song and simply sings, strums or hits the right note as it comes on screen as per the colour coding. The result of this simplicity, is that although practice does make perfect - anyone can just pick up an instrument and join in regardless of whether or not they've played before.

      Subequently, Rockband 2 was released with a few minor tweaks and many more songs. Owners of the original game and the spin-offs (excluding Beatles Rock Band) can import the songs from their old discs and would then have hundreds of tracks on RB2. This is on top of the thousands of individual songs and albums that can be purchased online from the Rock Band Store. What this means, is that my parents can sing along to Duran Duran, I have Oasis, My younger sister has Miley Cyrus and my even younger brother; Spongebob Squarepants. This variety makes the game perfect for any family occasion; be it Christmas, Birthdays or simply having a few friends round for a drink.

      Track listing aside, the game itself is essentially the same as the original, but for a few minor tweaks to the 'Tour Mode' and slightly improved graphics (which are still poor, but if that's what you're looking at, then you're missing the point of the game). That's okay though - the original is very good so why change a winning formula? If you already have RB1, then I'd suggest you take a look at the tracks that come with RB2 and then make the decision whether or not to buy, because there isn't a great deal of difference in gameplay. If, however, you don't have a RockBand game, get one - you honestly won't regret it.

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      03.10.2009 15:14
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      The best party game available. So much better than Guitar Hero!

      If Guitar Hero was the next step in interactive gaming, then Rockband is the next, next step! Rockband was released in 2007 and this follow-up, Rockband 2 was released in 2008. One of my favourite things about Rockband 2 is the ability to copy all your songs from the first Rockband onto your Xbox 360 hard drive so that you can play them using just the Rockband 2 disc!

      There are loads of tracks that can be downloaded via Xbox Live too, so there is a huge amount of music out there to play! I currently have about 300 songs that I can choose from and I also have the AC/DC Rockband as I am a massive AC/DC fan!

      The game is very easy to navigate and you can jump straight into Quickplay and pick a song to rock out to, or you can select Career mode and create your own character to play within the many different venues you can play in!

      Rockband 2 is so addictive and once you pick it up you really don't want to stop until your arms and fingers are aching! The game looks great and never falters' on the Xbox 360. I haven't played Rockband on the PS3 or Wii so I can't really compare them to the 360.

      The Guitar controller is a lot quieter than the Guitar Hero controller because the strum bar is not as clunky. The controller really makes you feel like a Rock Legend!

      The Drum Kit is very sturdy and has adjustable legs so that it can be lowered to any height needed. The foot peddle can be moved from left to right depending on which foot you prefer to use. The only slight moan I have about the drum kit is that it is a little bit too loud when you are banging away on them. You can but some rubber pads that fit over the drum kit and these dampen out the sounds, I really recommend these if you tend to get carried away whilst drumming like I do!

      If you are a fan of the Guitar Hero franchise, I really recommend that you give the Rockband franchise a try as I find it to be a much more finished product!

      11/10

      C

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        17.09.2009 18:11
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        Buy Guitar Hero World Tour or 5 if possible instead of this.

        Rock Band 2 is the 2nd installment of Sony's RockBand series and is similar both in layout and gameplay to the first one.

        =======Info=======

        For those not familiar to these types of games it is basically played in the same manner as a dancemat only using instruments instead of a mat, players earn a higher score by continually hitting notes without missing any that scroll down. There are 3 different instruments to choose from; guitar (both lead and bass), drums and microphone.

        =======Gameplay=======

        Overall the gameplay is pretty much exactly the same as RockBand 1, the world tour has been improved with more locations and more songs and more challenges. One major change is the ability to hire and fire members of staff, these help you gain more fans/money depending which ones are currently in your band's staff list.

        As with RockBand 1 players can purchase and download extra songs from xBox live or the ps3 store, it is also possible to buy a conversion key for £2.50 that allows you to export all your RockBand 1 songs into RockBand 2.

        =========Price========
        It is currently possible to buy RockBand 2 for around £25 from both Amazon and Play.com which is quite good value for money, however now that GuitarHero 5 is out I would imagine RockBand 3 will not be too far behind so a price drop should be in line fairly soon. If you already have RockBand 1 then I would deffinately try to find it for as cheap as possible otherwise you may feel a little ripped off as there isn't all that much new.


        ========Rivals========
        The main rivals to the RockBand series is that of Guitar Hero, personally I find the songlists on the GuitarHero series to be better than those that are on RockBand although they do share some common songs. One thing worth mentioning is that if you have the Guitar Hero: World Tour drum set it WILL work with RockBand2 (unlike RockBand 1 which it will not be recognised) but there is no Orange note, it seems that whereas the Guitar Hero development team took the time to do song mappings for those people who had RockBand drum sets the Sony developers were not so thoughtful and caring of the rest of the gaming community.

        ========Summary=========

        Overall this is a solid if unspectacular offering from Sony, whilst it doesn't really do anything wrong it is not that much different from the previous RockBand game and is a lot of money for not a lot of difference.

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          13.08.2009 20:41
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          Trumps both its predecessor and all Guitar Hero games to date. Essential

          One of the most anticipated music games of the year (not such a paltry accolade when you stop to consider just how stratospherically popular this genre of games have become), Rock Band 2 is an unmitigated triumph, and most importantly, simply great fun to play.
          The game is a success in that it marries all that was done well in the first game with a number of positive additions that serve to make this the definitive 'band' game on the market, surpassing not only its prequel but also the Guitar Hero World Tour series. When one takes into consideration the ability - with possession of the original Rock Band disc - to import the majority of that game's stellar playlist into this sequel, the game also becomes a beacon of value and further solidifies its position as the definitive party game for the 360.
          All in all, Rock Band 2 is a worthy continuation of a series that has already brought hours of quality gaming to the masses, and is certainly one of the best multiplayer experiences one can hope to have on the console.

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          12.08.2009 15:50
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          Fun game for parties!

          When Guitar Hero came out, I fell in love with it immediately. I thought it was very clever to fuse a games console with instruments. However, after playing it for so long, it did get a fair bit boring, and I only had one guitar therefore only one person could play at a time.

          When Rock Band came out, I vowed to buy it after hearing there was a drum kit included - I only hope it didn't annoy the neighbours as a normal drum kit would!

          The actual Rock Band disc was similar to Guitar Hero, basically full of songs (although had a lot more features like Freestyle and a mode where you could create your own songs which was very fun!) that you play along to with the instruments.

          The Instruments: We have a brand new guitar, different from Guitar Hero ones as it has more buttons higher up the neck of the guitar to do solos on (very cool), a drum kit which comprised of four different pads representing different part of the kit, a "kick drum" pedal and some sticks, and a microphone. The drum kit is set up as a normal drum kit would be, with the pads directly in front of you, and pedal on the floor (can be adjusted and its moveable in case you play left-handedly), so it's as realistic as possible. These kits actually get confused a lot with electric drum kits because they do look fairly real.

          You can buy accessories for the above kit as well, such as silencers on the drum pads, or stickers for the guitar, etc. I've never tried the silencers, but I don't really see why they are necessary because the kit doesn't make a noise. Whenever you hit a pad with the stick, it makes a dull thud, but it isn't loud! Whenever you hit a part of the kit, the noise comes out through your TV so obviously you can use the volume to control how loud this is.

          There is a lot of variation in the songs, so there's something for everyone, with some heavy metal to 1980s pop such as Blondie.

          This game has been very popular with my friends, and is very easy to pick up (although it takes a lot of practice to get good, which is why it never gets old). But I also think its a good family game, as I'm sure any dad would want to have a go on the guitar, and mum's would probably see using the microphone as a bit of karaoke!

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          11.08.2009 14:21
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          Recommended

          I recieved this game for christmas; I already had all the peripherals that the "Band in a a Box" provided. If you enjoyed the first Rock Band, this is definately for you.

          As with its predecssor, you can play using the guitar (also used as a bass), drums and microphone peripherals, in solo or as a band. This adds up to hours of fun for a variety of different people. There are 4 skill levels, Easy, Medium, Hard and Expert. This means even the most unco-ordinated people in the world can pick it up and play through a song.

          To unlock the many songs that are in the game, you must play through the tour mode. Once you have started the "tour mode" you choose a name for your band and your hometown; and then you are ready to rock. Tour mode can be done on your own or with a band of up to four people. Now, you can choose to start tour which will take you to a variety of locations to play and each with different songs. When you complete a set you earn money, transport, staff and much much more. As you complete more gigs, more songs and locations become available. Sets can be single songs, multiple songs, create your own set lists and mystery set lists. Also, within tour mode, there are "tour challenges". These are usually aimed at one paticularily instrument, but some can be done by any one instrument of the full band.

          This game also includes a multiplayer option through Xbox Live. Within thism you can find members for your band, have a tug-of-war battle; which is basically just to see who has the best accuracy, and if your opponent misses a note you tug a virtual rope and score duel; which as the name suggests is just who can get the most points. There is DLC available with new songs being released all the time.

          Unlike its predecssor, Rock Band, you can through the real tour mode with a solo career. If you own the original Rock Band already you can import all of the songs onto Rock Band 2; meaning you do not lose any of the classic songs you liked to play on the original.

          I would recommend this game for anyone who wants a fun game to play; especially in social situations.

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          02.08.2009 02:24
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          Excellent, just a shame about the hardware, although thats easily solved

          Ok, I love this game now.
          I was an avid Guitar Hero fan, until i tried this. This blows Guitar Hero away, the sheer volume of songs available is amazing. For a start on disc, Guitar Hero tends to come with about 10-20 less songs than Rock Band 2. If we take a look at downloads, however, we see that where Guitar Hero has about 60 more of the same type of music thats in the main game. Then we see that Rock Band 2 has well over 650 songs and growing constantly. There is something for everyone in this collection from mellow, easy going, chill out music to speed metal (I think, it has a lot anyway).
          As far as layout and appearance, it brings a breath of fresh air, delivering a nice, simpe way of navigating and the notes are big enough to be easily seen yet small enough to keep the screen uncluttered.
          I think the only bad point about the game is the build quality of the guitars, they feel a bit too flimsy.

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          24.06.2009 23:10

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          Great rhythm game for gamers and non-gamers alike.

          This game is better thought of as an instant party in a box! It is great to see people who normally never play games get up and enjoy themselves on Rock Band. In my opinion vastly superior to its main competitor "Guitar Hero", Rock Band 2 delivers in every aspect imaginable, providing a fun, user-friendly experience for all involved.

          The guitar-playing element of the game will be very familar to fans of the Guitar Hero series, and similarly with regard to the Microphone and fans of the singstar series. However in my opinion where this game really excells is the drums.

          The makers of the game have really nailed the gameplay on the drums, and have even included a tutorial section where you can learn some basic drum beats which are then transferable to a regular drum kit.

          The singing element of the game is also highly enjoyable, and even the shyest players soon forget their inhibitions and throw themselves into this hugely enjoyable game.

          In conclusion, this is the ultimate party game, and with the instruments available at heavily discounted prices, now is a better time than ever to see what all the fuss is about.

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          18.06.2009 19:46

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          The most fun a game can get.

          One of my most favourite games ever! I am a musician myself, so I don't have to play these games just to fulfill my urge to be able to play a musical instrument. This game is fantastic, the songs on it are amazing even with the ability to download even more! You can't really say better than that. There is a variety of songs from all you soft rockers to the death metallers and even if you don't like rock music it is just fun to play around with mates a at least pretend your a rock star for a few hours. The solo buttons on the guitar are very useful as you don't have to strum and it makes you feel that much more real. The way it is laid out on the screen is well presented nothing gets in the way and it is actually set out like if you were looking at a band and you find yourself standing there with your mates actually looking like the most oddly formed band. Go and buy this game! It's the most fun you will have ever!

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          14.05.2009 14:21
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          Super Game

          This game just keeps getting better and better.Once you get it youll only have a certain amount of songs that are unlocked and available to play.These are generally the easier songs and allow you to build up your skills.Once you start a band and go on tour youll earn stars which in turn unlock new songs and venues.I have consistently been impressed by the diversity and quality of songs that I have been unlocking over the past few weeks.Some highlights have included the who and bon jovi which have both proved popular play along songs at parties.

          The game is also fun to play on your own.You can choose any of the instruments or even just sing away.There is also the possibility of going online and either joing a band or finding people to join your band.

          I have also been very impressed by the online songs that are available for this game.You have to pay for these but if your playing for songs or artists that you like i feel like you can easily get your monies worth.New songs are being added all the time so this is one game that wont get old anytime soon.

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          17.04.2009 18:13
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          More of an update than a sequel but worth it if you're a fan

          == Introduction ==

          Not so long ago there were two games; Guitar Hero and Singstar. The former let you play along to your favourite songs; not on a real guitar of course, but with a simplified guitar controller that allowed non-musicians to play along. Bizarrely it worked, quite brilliantly, and a whole new genre was born. The latter game was basically just good old fashioned karaoke but with some nifty signal processing that detected how faithful your rendition of the song, at least in terms of the pitch and timing, was. Anyway, along came Rock Band, from Harmonix, which successfully married these two concepts together. Throw in a bassline, played on an optional second guitar controller, and some drum pads and you had the option of playing together with your friends as a virtual band.


          == Gameplay ==

          The gameplay will be instantly familiar to fans of the first game, or indeed Singstar or Guitar Hero. The guitar, bass and drums is all about hitting the right button on the guitar controller (or pad on the drum set) at the right time. Singing is done into a microphone following a track which gives you cues for pitch and timing. Get it right continually and you'll be rewarded. Screw up and you might not make it to the end of the song.


          There are a whole variety of play modes where you can choose to do any instrument as an individual or together with friends as a band. You don't all need to be at the same level as difficulty is selected individually by each instrument. There's also a tour mode, which combines the world tour and career modes of the first game in which you work your way up from small gigs into arenas and unlock additional content in the process. Finally, there's the "battle of the bands" mode in which you can compete online against other bands in time limited competitions.


          == Instruments ==

          As well as an expensive all-inclusive pack Rock Band 2 comes as a solus pack with no instruments of its own. That's great if you've got the previous game and a set of instruments for it, as you can reuse them, which is what I did. However, a full set of instruments costs around £90, so if you're just starting out that's a lot of money to lay out.

          In a nice new development it will also apparently work with Guitar Hero controllers, although I've not tested that out in practice myself. There's also the promise of a new range of instruments that'll allow you to fork out serious money but again I've yet to test any of those. Given that they're not essential for the game either, it's not something I'll be in a hurry to check out.

          There's a good solid feel to the guitar controller which superficially resembles a Fender Statocaster. The drums are a bit flimsy though and you'll have to restrain any thoughts of doing an impression of Animal from the Muppet Show, although you can go for it a bit without worrying too much. The microphone is, well, just a microphone; I wouldn't entertain any serious thoughts of recording music with it, but it does its job well enough for the game.


          == Songs ==

          The game comes with 84 songs, which is a bit much for me to do a track listing here, but if you want to look them up there's one on Wikipedia:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_songs_in_Rock_Band_2

          Suffice it to say that all the genres of rock, from heavy metal to indie to grunge and a few cheesy 80s arena rock songs are thrown in. Highlights include Motorhead's Ace Of Spades, Nirvana's Drain You, and Judas Priest's Painkiller. The vocal track for the latter is particularly challenging. Nine of the songs are from bands formed by, or associated with, Harmonix employees which gives the game a personal touch. They're pretty good musically and hold up with the more familiar songs quite nicely.

          Additional songs can be downloaded, for a small fee and, perhaps most importantly, the game will import most songs - the exception being a handful that they were unable to relicense - from the previous version or any expansion packs, and Harmonix promise to keep compatibility with future versions. You will need a hard disk for this, so if you've only got an Arcade model 360, you ought to consider investing one before getting this game.


          == Graphics ==

          The screen is dominated by the guidelines for the various instruments with animations of your band in action going on in the background. It's very flashy with great visual effects for when you hit sequences particularly well and the appropriate chaos when you screw up. Since you're mostly going to be focussed on the guidelines though, this is mostly for the benefit of any spectators present, although the 360 delivers it all in typically glorious HD. You can edit your characters in the band and, in a change from the first game, designate stand-ins for the regular band members when playing solo.


          == Longevity ==

          This is a game that you're unlikely to tire of once you get into it. With new content constantly available, I'd reckon that the only things that'll stop you are encroaching deafness or the next version coming out, in which case you'll just buy it and transfer your songs over again. Alternatively you might decide to start a real band, in which case you'll rapidly outgrow the limitations of the guitar controller, although singing and drumming are still fairly realistic.


          == Overall ==

          It's an expensive package, but you do get a lot for your money which makes it a good investment. It's not a game that you're unlikely to consider played out in a weekend. Comparisons with Songstar and Guitar Hero cannot be avoided; the former is certainly better for karaoke alone and the latter arguably holds the edge for the guitar mode, and is in the process of branching out into full band territory, but in terms of covering all bases - particularly in multiplayer band mode - Rock Band 2 certainly holds the edge.


          It's also an essential upgrade for fans of the first game, as you're getting a whole slew of new tracks and updated playing modes for less than 50p a song. On the other hand, if your guitar controller has been sitting idle for a few months, you'd be unlikely to get it back out again for this game as it's more of an update than a true sequel.


          Highly recommended for rock god wannabes.


          (Also posted on Ciao as Phantom_Wombat)

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            05.03.2009 09:23
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            A hugely enjoyable music game

            This is my current favourite video game by a long, long way. As a multi-player experience it cannot be beaten, especially if everyone's had a few drinks.

            Rock Band 2 is basically Sing Star meets Guitar Hero, but much, much better. You form a band featuring a singer, drummer, guitarist and bass player (or at least you do if you can afford to buy all the necessary controllers). As each song plays through, patterns for each instrument run down separate strips on the screen - you have to hit the relevant buttons (or bash the relevant drum) in time to them in order to do well. The singer, meanwhile, has to sing along to the words as they scroll along the top of the screen. So it's useful to have a fairly large TV to play the game comfortably.

            Playing each type of instrument is enjoyable. Guitars are much the same as in guitar hero, perhaps a little easier. The drums are probably the most difficult, and require a certain amount of stamina. When singing you have to keep in tempo and sing at roughly the correct pitch as whoever sang the song in real life. Difficulty levels can be adjusted and range from incredibly easy to near-impossible. Pleasingly, in multi-player, each band member can play at a different difficulty level, so everyone can enjoy themselves.

            It's fun to play alone, as well. I only have a guitar, so am getting pretty good at it; you do feel the absurdity a little more keenly when you're doing it by yourself, though. Like other enjoyable solitary pursuits for the single gentleman, it's fun, but you find yourself hoping that none of your flatmates will walk in on you. When there's a few of you, you tend not to notice how fundamentally silly you all look. When you're stone-cold sober playing a toy guitar alone in your bedroom you do tend to wonder where your life went wrong (only fleetingly, mind - you'll be too busy trying to master the tough-but-satisfying guitar part on Aqualung to worry much).

            Your band can progress through a 'world tour' (playing songs in virtual venues) - completing gigs unlocks more songs and more venues. You can also play challenges, create your own setlists, and compete in 'battles of the bands' online, comparing your scores to those of others. All the band members' appearances are customisable - giving everybody grotesque facial tattoos is quite fun.

            The selection of music is a good mix of (often ghastly) modern stuff and cheesy old-style soft rock. It really drives home just how kitschy a lot of guitar rock is, and you almost feel guilty when you stumble across a genuinely good song. You can import most of your old Rock Band 1 tracks for £4 and there are new songs being added for download all the time (they typically cost about £1.60 each, which is a bit steep). It usually uses original recordings, but sometimes there are reasonably accurate cover versions. If you've ever wanted to drunkenly roar out Living On A Prayer while backed by your friends pretending to play plastic instruments then this is the game for you (and if you say you haven't, you're either lying or female).

            (The one awful aspect, though, is that Harmonix employees have been allowed to include their own music. Hardly any of their songs are even halfway tolerable. One, A Jagged Gorgeous Winter, is perhaps the worst song I've ever heard. Another, Visions, is absolutely impossible to play, and nowhere near fun enough to make me want to practice it for the hours it would take to master - if I wanted to put that much effort in I might as well learn to play a real guitar. I would hope that by the time Rock Band 3 rolls around that they'll have the sense not to allow any more crappy Harmonix songs.)

            It's much better than Guitar Hero, a game I never really liked - it's not so much the gameplay, which is pretty similar, as the attitude. Guitar Hero's overly cartoony style screams 'ha ha we're not really taking this seriously of course...' Rock Band, by being more restrained, allows players to make their own irony. I also find Rock Band's graphic design friendlier and classier. If there's only room for one 'pretend rock' franchise I hope to goodness it's Rock Band. (The fact that The Beatles have chosen to release a Rock Band version of their music bodes well, although I expect Paul McCartney's lawyers will be hooked up to Xbox Live waiting to sue players every time they drop a note.)

            The disadvantages? Well, it's expensive. The game disk by itself is £50 (it's quite new, so it'll come down in price). But you need 'instruments' too. I can't find a version of Rock Band 2 with instruments included, so it may be that you have to buy Rock Band 1 with guitar, drums and mike (about £100). You'll also need a second guitar if you've enough friends to have a bassist (about another £40). So for a full set up you're looking at about £200. Happily, you can use Guitar Hero guitars with the game - that's what I've done, as it was a bit cheaper that way. However, the Rock Band guitar is more robust; both Guitar Hero guitars I've played with started behaving erratically after a few months.

            One mild disappointment is that it isn't massively different to Rock Band 1. There are plenty of new songs, but most of the functionality is the same. There are minor changes to single-player mode and a few new peripheral details (like band employees, although what they actually do is pretty vague). Otherwise it's almost exactly the same, with minimal changes to the interface.

            The only major innovation is that you and a friend can now play together in the same band on Xbox Live. It's a lot of fun to sit at home with a toy guitar while one of my friends sits in his house three miles away with a toy drum kit, both of us trying to get through Painkiller on Hard (singing isn't as much fun online, though, as you can't hear what the singer is doing).

            I love this game - it's the most fun I've had with a music game since Samba De Amigo on the Dreamcast. With any luck it'll divert teenagers from trying to form real bands, something that could only benefit the world of music (imagine if Coldplay had been distracted by a game like this at the crucial moment! Just think how much happier we'd be!) I can see myself playing this game for years and years, long past the point at which it stops being funny. Roll on Rock Band 3 - and let's have some Queen next time, eh?

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              20.01.2009 16:34
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              A rocking encore for Rock Band.

              Rock Band 2-Was Rock Band worth an encore?

              Harmonix have not once, but twice turned the music genre onto its head. In 2005, it made Guitar Hero, which was one of the few games to feature a peripheral to use to play the game with in the form of the Guitar controller. Living out rock fantasies for young boys and old men alike, things looked peachy for the series until Harmonix and Activision fell out and Harmonix left Activision to make the series with Tony Hawk developer Neversoft. But rather than leaving behind what it began in 2005, the developers went bigger, better and more expensive with Rock Band, which let you play Guitar, Bass and Drums as well as sing. It was a massive success, despite screwing the British over with a 7 month wait after the Americans as well as a more expensive price than anticipated. It was still awesome though, and so influential that imitators (including Guitar Hero) are coming backwards and forwards. Now, with only 11 months for development (in America) the second edition of the series is here with more tracks, more ways to play, and in some ways, more fun.

              Rock Band 2 has new instruments, but they're mostly slightly improved versions of the original game's instruments. The drums have a new visual target making them easier to hit, and the pads sense hit detection much better now. The foot pedal is also reinforced with steel so the big footed people don't break the foot pedal. The guitar is also improved with a new sunburst colour scheme, better start/back buttons and the strum bar is more responsive and less clacky. Both the drums and the guitar are wireless. The microphone is pretty much the same as the old one so that's okay. The instruments may be better than the old instruments, but if you already have the instruments from the first game then you don't really need to buy the instruments again. If you don't, however, then I recommend you get the new instruments rather than the old ones.

              The improvements also carry over into the actual game. There are new modes and the old modes have been improved. The biggest improvement, in my opinion, is to the solo experience. In RB1, the standard solo mode was simply to beat the set list of songs and that was it. However, in RB2, all the features of the World Tour, i.e. fans, roadies, making a music video, playing for vehicles to travel around the world and more come over into the single player as you only need one player to start a band world tour. This makes the single player experience much more enjoyable thanks to the improvements made to make a much better single player experience. There is no limit either-you can earn as many fans, play as many gigs and do as much as you want to do in the World Tour. Of course, there's more fun with friends yelling at you for sucking, but its great fun by yourself.

              There's also the challenge mode which can provide some single player thrills and can be played with other players. The challenge mode is a selection of mini-challenges where you play through a selection of songs. These can be specific instruments i.e. guitar and drum challenges as well as band challenges. You can play in a band, but the instrument challenge focuses on one instrument making the challenge for that instrument. The challenges are a selection of songs either geared towards one instrument or focused on the band. These songs gradually get harder and harder in challenge, especially if you're on expert, until it all comes to a head on the impossible challenges. These are the hardest of their respected instruments and are insanely hard. Well, at least until you realise that you don't have to do it on the hardest difficulty.

              However, aside from the improved single player and other modes, not a whole lot has changed since Rock Band. The world tour, despite now being available for one person, is the same as the previous game. Sure, you can make a music video, create a logo and some other new gimmicks but really the World Tour works the same-you play at venues, earn fans, unlock special people like Roadies and a Sound Guy which unlocks new venues to unlock more fans and more gigs. The number of fans is limited depending on what difficulty you are on, meaning harder difficulties equals more fans. Unfortunately, if one person is on a lower difficulty, the band will only get the fans the lower difficulty will allow. This means if inexperienced and experienced players are in a band, the weaker players will be under pressure to play on the higher difficulties which can sabotage the bands success and cause arguments. They should fix this in Rock Band 3 (if they make one). The best thing about World Tour with other players is that you can play with people over Xbox Live meaning you can make progress all the time on what is a very big mode.

              There are also little noticeable improvements in the actual gameplay during songs. If you're on the guitar, bass or drums you hit the notes onscreen by the coloured notes on the guitars or drum pads. If you're singing, you sing the lyrics in the right tone to the notes onscreen or if not needed, simply say the words. In one song, you don't even needing to sing as there is no tone needed in your voice meaning any sound (for me, the rubbing against my T-Shirt worked) will get you 100% on expert. There are some improvements-there is a no fail option for those who can't play or have had one too many then you can turn on this option and no matter how much you suck, you won't fail. This does however disable achievements and other such features. The hammer ons are a bit tighter, the drumming is tougher and the general difficulty is a bit higher, but not much else has changed since the first Rock Band, but when it was so good, that's not such a bad thing at all.

              One of the best new features is the Battle of the Bands. Each day Harmonix uploads a new challenge every day for bands to compete in and show their skills. These range from completing a set list to finishing a song that's hard for a certain instrument. It specifies for the time of day you are on, what track packs you have, whether you have songs from Rock Band 1 (more explained later) and more. If there isn't a challenge you like one day, you can probably find a great challenge you like the next day as Harmonix are promising to upload new challenges every day. It might not be as good as the 4-4 band battles from Guitar Hero: World Tour, but it's an addicting feature.

              By far the best part of Rock Band 2 is the massive soundtrack for you to play. Out of the box, there are 84 master tracks for the game and the set list is highly varied. From Guns 'n' Roses new song 'Shackler's Revenge', to Metallica's Battery, to Judas Priest's insanely hard Painkiller, to Bon Jovi's Livin' on a Prayer. There are so many songs to play through from many different genres of rock that no matter what fan of Rock you are, there's something to find here. There are a couple of weak songs like Duran Duran's Hungry Like a Wolf and Bikini Kill's Rebel Girl, but overall the soundtrack is very strong. The only other problem is that several songs are also in Guitar Hero: World Tour which sparked an argument between me and my friend about who stole the songs from who. It can be annoying to play the same song you may have played in one or the other game, but it's not major. Sound quality is still superb by the way.

              Yet it doesn't end there. There are a couple of ways to get more songs for Rock Band 2. Rock Band had a lot of downloadable content and all that content can be played through Rock Band 2 as well and they're still releasing downloadable content. Foo Fighters, Metallica, Judas Priest, Megadeth, Dead Kennedy's and more have been up for downloadable songs and artists are even releasing their new songs through the downloadable content. The prices are affordable and there is even a code on the back of the manual to get more songs for free. The other way to get new songs is through Rock Band, as you can import a majority of the songs from the first game to the second for an affordable 400 points. It's a steal of a price, and a good idea as at the beginning of the World Tour the songs are limited. However as you plays through you unlock more songs for play.

              One area where Rock Band 2 has seen almost zero improvement is in the graphics. Character models animate mostly identical to the previous game, though it was good as they nearly replicated actually playing the song. The new areas look cool, but most of the areas are from the previous game which is a shame. The heavy motion blur effect returns and is put to good use, the frame rate never hitches up and the game is detailed. Just like before, however, you rarely notice as you'll be too busy looking at the notes coming at you constantly. At least it's pretty to look at if you are a bystander-even though little improvement has been made to the graphics. It's also disappointing that the character creator is still limited, especially compared to the new one in GH: WT which offers much more depth to its character creator and instrument customizer.

              The best thing about Rock Band 2 is the vast amount of content going for it. The World Tour, whether solo or with other players, will take dozens upon dozens of hours to finish because there are so many gigs and venues to play at and getting 1,000,000 fans is far from easy. The extra modes like challenge mode and battle of the bands will satisfy too. There are also far too many songs as if you count all the songs on the disk, the downloadable content and the songs from Rock Band it is in the hundreds. There are also 50 achievements which, compared to the previous game, are much easier due to the fact that you can play World Tour alone. There are achievements for playing in the venues, getting 1,000,000 fans, acquiring things like Vans and Jets and more. In the end Rock Band 2 is a vast game with lots of things to do. And it's fun.

              Is Rock Band 2 good, bad or ugly?

              Rock Band was such a hit that it was going to be hard to top it. Maybe if this was Rock Band 1, rather than the sequel, then there wouldn't be need for a Rock Band 2 as this game would have been the best of its genre and no sequel would be needed. However, the game stays rather true to the formula set by the first game meaning that it will turn off anyone who didn't get into Rock Band in the first place. The game has some good improvements, like the Battle of the Bands and Challenge mode. But for the most part Rock Band 2 is more like Rock Band with some good improvements. In the end however it's a excellent game that is a must own for anyone who loved the first game and if you're into Guitar Hero or anything like that, Rock Band 2 will satisfy.

              Controls: 10
              Gameplay: 9
              Graphics: 8
              Sound: 10
              Value: 9
              Overall: 9.2

              Rock Band 2 was released on November 21st, 2008 exclusively on Xbox 360 (for now). It is rated 12+ for language and sexual references, and can be found for around £40.

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              • More +
                14.01.2009 21:50
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                Brilliant, best music game ever

                When harmonix, MTV, and Ea released Rockband it blew the music genre away, not only was it the first game to include drums but it was the first game to bring vocals, bass, guitar and drums together to provide the ultimate virtual band experience.
                The second game in the series, Rockband 2 built on the sucsess of the first game and turns it to maximum volume.

                The graphics of the game have only been slightly tinkered but that was all that was needed, Harmonix have taken away the grainy texture and improved the colour as the first game was a bit dark and grimey. However Rockband 2 is a music game so not alot of attention is paid to the graphics just the graphical notes of hell that you try to catch as they come running down your screen like usain bolt.
                The main attraction for a music game though, is obviously the music itself and Rockband 2 offers great tracks from as far back as the 1960's with the epic masterpiece, the who's PINBALL WIZARD, to the 2000's with music from avenged sevenfold and tenacious D. The music is amazing and when you buy the game you get the unsigned artist pack for free which is cool.
                The gameplay is as good as it can be for a music game, the tour mode is cool and the online play is great as you can join up with freinds and get your groove on.

                In conclusion Rockband 2 is the best music game yet, the only questions left is
                WANNA ROCK!!!!?

                9/10

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                10.01.2009 14:30
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                If you can afford it buy it

                I owned rockband and was really excited about the relese of rock band2. It lives up to expectations, it is as brilliant as the first game and has a couple of extra features as well as a whole new song list. This game works best with a band of your friends (up to 4) following is a breakdown of the various part. each part can be set to easy medium hard or expert seperatly in band mode.

                GUITAR - If you are new to rockband you have probably laughed at people playing away on a small plastic guitar but once you are holding the guitar you are impowered with the power of rock and you forget you are pressing 5 buttons on a guitar shaped peice of plastic and suddenly you are van halen.
                You push coloured buttons and strum to corrospond with the falling notes on the screen.similer to the dance mat games in arcades. You can play either the lead guitar part or bass

                DRUMS- the drum kit works in the same way as the guitar with you hitting the coloured drum pads in corrospondance with the notes on the screen with the eception of a bass pedel that you have to stomp as you go making it quite a realistic simulation warning though this does tire you out and causes leg pain!

                SINGING- this is the one that i always get voted to do because everyone else is scared to do . but as i tell them it is about hitting the correct notes of the song and not the tone ad the drummer will be so busy thinking ' owww my leg hurts to listen to you singing'.. so it doesn't matter if you are no chris cornell . Although it can be easier on your adoring fans/mum/partner.like the popular singstar games you follow the words as they scroll along screen ang try to jit the notes.

                Over all game is great you unlock songs, go on word tours and even make custom band members to look just like you and your friends or even fav band.

                AND FINALLY THE BEST PART - is that all downloaded songs for xbox live work on this still even previously downloaded songs and if you pay 400 MS points you can transferre the entire song list from the first rockband onto you harddrive which can then be used in rockband 2 making it a HUGE HUGE HUGE song list and the financial benifit that after doing this you can trade rockband 1 in.
                The game is retailing at around £30-£40
                and the price of the instruments varies depending on as many you buy as a bundle. I got my entire band in a box for £120.00 and have seen the drums and guitar retailing at £60 individually

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