Rock Band 2 First Impressions - John
9/14/2008 11:18:00 AM
As with a lot of our staff, I was over at Chuck's house to partake in a nice Rock Band 2 jam session. Having played the first game plenty of times, I was really looking forward to what was in store for the second go around. I'll start off with the instruments. The guitar has small but nice improvements over the original. I've always liked the Rock Band guitar over the Guitar Hero one and the new guitar is my new favorite guitar. The buttons are responsive and have a good feel. IF you don't like the silent smushy strum bar, then you won't like the Rock Band 2 one. I, myself, really liked the feel although a few of our writers didn't particularly like it. The start button has a round guard around it so it'll help prevent accidental pressing especially if you're one of those that prefer to hit the select button to activate Overdrive.
The drums have a very nice feel to them now and are a lot less noisy. Hitting the pads, it has a nice bounce back feel to them and even hitting the corners of the drum pads didn't produce as loud of a sound as the old ones. I couldn't tell from playing how the velocity sensitivity affected the sound. I'll have to play around with it some more to see how much of an affect it is to hit the drum pads lightly as opposed to going full tilt. I have to say between the guitar and the drums, I really like the improved drums the most.
From the songs I was able to view, the list seemed to comprise of some solid selections but there's always those that are thrown in where you think why it's in there. Now everyone's tastes are different so you're not going to find a list that pleases everyone but the Harmonix folks seem to have a good variety in the second game. Adding to the fact that you can import all of Rock Band 1 songs in there and you have a pretty massive list of songs to play. Some of the songs though played really horrible and the one I'll throw out there is the Beastie Boy's Whatcha Want. Both guitar parts were downright simple and weren't fun at all the play. On the other hand, the drum portion seems pretty good. While these game are never big on visuals, I did find it quite funny when playing some of the 80's song to see the video colors change to some psychedelic 80s flashy video stylings.
While the bass didn't seem to have anything added, there are now drum solos giving another member of the band to shine by him or herself. The rest of the gameplay didn't see much of a change from what I could see. Now I didn't have a chance to try out Battle of the Bands or online World Tour but I think both of those will be solid additions, at least they are on paper. I'll know more once I pick up the game and try it out for myself. Overall, if you like the first one you'll enjoy the second one I think and you'll definitely like the amount of songs that will be playable if you own both Rock Band 1 and 2.
I did have a great time with all the staff that was there so it was fun to jam with them all and to meet some of them for the first time.