"20 All-New Epic Tracks." That's what the front of Rock Band Track Pack: Classic Rock tells me. Yet how can these songs be "all-new" if they have been available for download via the Rock Band online music store for more than a year? Better yet, how can these be "all-new" classic rock songs? Isn't that an oxymoron? The very genre name seems to play against the idea that anything on this disc is new. Yet that's what it tells me, in large yellow ink.
Of course, what they are saying is that these songs are "all-new" to people that have never downloaded a song and only own one of the two main Rock Band games. For those people without a way of surfing the music store or the room to put them on their hard drive, this track pack is no doubt a godsend. It features 20 solid tracks, 13 brand new achievements and, well, that's pretty much all it offers. However, it should be said, if you're one of those people who owns an Xbox 360 and require this kind of disc, then perhaps you should seriously think about finding a way to hook your system online. You will no doubt be astounded by the 500+ songs available for download for just a dollar or two each.
As the name suggests, Rock Band Track Pack: Classic Rock delivers a good helping of songs from the 1970s - 1990s, including some of the biggest names in rock. You get songs from Boston ("Peace of Mind" and "Rock and Roll Band"), Dead Kennedys ("California Uber Alles" and "Holiday in Cambodia"), George Thorogood ("Bad to the Bone"), The Who ("Baba O'Riley" and "Behind Blue Eyes"), Steve Miller Band ("Take the Money and Run" and "The Joker"), Rush ("Closer to the Heart" and "Red Barchetta") and more.
For the most part these songs fit in the "classic rock" category, since many of the songs come from the 1980s and before. However, there are a couple of questionable choices that make me feel older than I actually am. A good example of this is "Kiss Them for Me" by Siouxsie & the Banshees and "Love Spreads" by The Stone Roses, both songs from the 1990s. Granted they were from the early part of that decade, but I still wonder if they are the definition of classic rock. The only way these can be considered classic is if you're 14 ... and I'm not. It's a shame we didn't get some of the David Bowie, Grateful Dead or The Monkees on this disc, songs that would genuinely be considered classic by any standard.
Quibbling about what constitutes a classic rock song aside, Rock Band Track Pack: Classic Rock has a nice mix of 20 classic rock songs ... and nothing else. Seeing as this is an expansion pack, you really shouldn't expect much from this effort. Like AC/DC Live before it, this Classic Rock disc has none of the cool single- and multiplayer modes we've come to expect from the Rock Band franchise. You can't play through an elaborate world tour mode or create your own band. Heck, you can't even customize your character, a feature sorely lacking from these barebones track pack discs.
One thing that doesn't make sense to me is why Harmonix refuses to include the ability to download and play songs from the online music store. At first it might seem like that would just defeat the whole point, but what harm would it be? It would at least give Rock Band fans an inexpensive way to have access to the lucrative music store, which is exactly what Harmonix wants in the first place. Even if only a few people ever use the music store, it seems like all of the coding and interface has already been done. Surely it's not harder than just flipping a switch. Then again, I'm not the one making the game, I just review it.
Speaking of downloading songs, this classic rock track pack offers a handy download code to help you get these 20 songs into Rock Band 1 and 2. As a longtime fan of the series that still plays it on a near-daily basis, this code is what I was really after. If you're one of those people who likes classic rock but doesn't own any of these songs, then this is a real bargain. At $29.99, these 20 tracks will run you around $1.50, which is 25% off of the standard download price. Of course, I already owned seven of these tracks, so I would be looking at $2.30. But that's just me; your savings (or lack thereof) may vary. Even if it's a bargain, you really have to like all 20 tracks to get your money's worth.
Don't expect any changes in the graphics or presentation. The game is clearly running on the Rock Band 1 engine, which means that some of the graphical touches found in Rock Band 2 are absent here. This really isn't that big of a deal, especially if you plan on porting these twenty songs to your hard drive. Like most songs in Rock Band, this disc features great sound and a whole set of songs that people will instantly recognize. I dare you to throw on Free's "All Right Now" and not have somebody nearby start singing along.
Obviously I could pad this review with a detailed description of how to play the game, the importance of "overdrive" and how much fun it is to have all four players rocking at the same time. But if you're reading this review, then chances are you already own the game and there's no point in my boring you with details you already know. If you're new to Rock Band, then this track pack shouldn't be your first step. While it doesn't require the actual disc to run, it's recommended that you at least play some of Rock Band 1 (preferably Rock Band 2) before spending the $30 on this expansion pack.
Rock Band Track Pack: Classic Rock is exactly what it sounds like. It's a classic rock-infused track pack for Rock Band. It doesn't pretend to be anything it's not, and that's why this game is so easy to review. I almost feel bad giving it a score, since you either want this or you don't. If you are like me and buy a lot of songs online, then ignore my score and put together your own catalog of must-own music. However, if you're somebody who wishes they could download music but can't, then this is worth picking up ... assuming you like classic rock (or at least the 20 classic rock songs selected for this disc). It's really that simple, so let's leave it there and not complicate it any further.