Rock Band 2 First Impressions - Chuck

by: Chuck -
If you're expecting a lot of ground breaking new feature in Rock Band 2, you're going to be greatly disappointed.  Instead Harmonix has taken an already outstanding product and made it better.  There are a lot of nice touches in the game such as the era specific video montages (80's songs get neon styled videos while 90's songs have a clean cut studio look).  It's not a big thing but it really adds to the overall experience.

The tour modes are also greatly expanded and polished.  There's a bit more of a plot here and while it's not nearly as structured as the one in Guitar Hero III it's a nice step up over the original game.  The drum trainer will also be a benefit to those who struggle with the instrument.  There are a host of different practice modes and one mode where you can just bang away on the skins.  You can select the beats per minute and different drum patterns to help you get through some of the harder songs in the game (like Metallica's Battery).

The game does feel a little easier on easy and medium and a bit harder on expert (that's what I was told as I can't play above medium on anything).  I'm not sure if that's intentional or a result of playing a lot more recently but it's nice to have a game that everyone can play.  The addition of a no fail option is also nice for when you're introducing the game to people who've never played a musical game before.

The real star of the Rock Band 2 are the instruments.  I you liked the guitars of the original game you'll like the new wireless ones in Rock Band 2.  They feel a little better and the wood finish is a nice touch.  The core through is the new drum set which is head and shoulders above the old drum kit.  The new drums have a bit more feel to them, are quieter,and feature a nice metal kick switch.  I found that I was able to play a little better with the new drum kit but I think it's worth the investment for the drums alone.

We'll have a full review later this week as we couldn't try out the new multiplayer mode of the game.  It's not hard to recommend the game if you bought the original game and enjoyed it.  You may not need to buy the new instruments but the core gameplay is excellent and given that you can import your old songs for $5 makes it an easy sell.
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