Rock Band 2 Review

I do not know which day/phase/issue/revision that this planet was given air, but I am thankful for that day if for but one reason: Rock Band! Thanks to the beauty and phyiscal attributes that is air, we can hear things. We can feel the vibrations of percussion and string and the harmonies that entertwine them together against our ears; and we can badly reproduce them to the fun and enjoyment of our fellow partiers.


We are not true rockers. If we were true rockers we’d be on the road with calloused hands and vocal chords. We’d be strung out by greedy managers trying to squeeze the life out of us before the public realizes what a dupe they’ve been. We know exactly how much a gallon of gas costs in 7 states at any given time. We’d know groupies and aches like no other civillian should dare to find out. We are not true rockers.


However, we can sure as hell give it a try — in the privacy of our homes — amongst friends that didn’t pay a cover charge to get in the door or arm themselves with bottles or rotted fruits. Rock Band 2 gives us better equipment, more songs, and more options than ever before and it is glorious! Even better if you can swing a couple groupies, eh?

The graphics are decent. We’ve seen the angles of cameras capturing the finesse of a cartoon’s fingers on the neck of the guitar. We’ve seen the bright lights and smoke all over the stages; and we’ve seen drummers doing that drummy thing even if they’re really showboating vapid little monkeys. Because they are you know. You do know that right? Right? Vapid monkeys. Every one of em.


The graphics have already been done for the most part. If anything, I’ve noticed the lyrics are a little more difficult to read. i’m not sure if this was intended or not, but the words — as they scroll right to left — are very hard to read until very soon before they hit the bar where you start singing. As long as you know the lyrics this is hardly worthwhile, and if you don’t then its rather frustrating. Then again, maybe its just me and my TV.


The menus have a few extra features and there are new tutorials, but that comes later. The graphics are plenty solid and easy to use, but nothing we have’nt seen before.

You don’t start out with much in the early stages of the game. There has to be some incentive to play on doesn’t there? Some of it is fun like Beck’s E-Pro, Ratt’s Round and Round, or even Dran Duran’s Hungry Like the Wolf. Some of it is nostalgiac like Cheap Trick’s Hello There; and a few corny tracks like Beastie Boys’ So What’cha Want or the moldy Eye of the Tiger by Survivor — who are defiantly still around to this day.


But hey, you can’t please everyone all of the time. It’s just a bit painful to have to get through a couple of these in order to unlock more content. C’est la vie as the fry-guys say.


The wonderful thing about RBv2 is that its backwards compatible AND that Wii have access to downloadable content! (That’s a pun dangit) So all the music you love in the first one combines with great stuff in the second one, and there’s even more joy to be had online! Tracks are very reasonably prices at 200 credits each, but there are plenty of free tracks available.


The only thing that couple possibly be better is more free stuff, but that’s akin to saying that ‘1’ is a prime number.*

The controls, in general, are even better! The guitars are a bit more firm and comfortable; mostly because they aren’t hollow! No more trying to work a Wiimote into the body. It’s wirelessly controlled all by itself with a simple USB dongle which works with the USB hub that comes in either version. The switch for changing of the whammy bar options is there, although sometimes I find it to be in my way. Nonetheless you can alter the sounds of the whammy bar and that just adds to more fun and personalization of your sound.


The drums are solid and the pads now have a smooth pad in the center to A: give you a target, B: add more pull to the drumhead for softer striking, and C: explains the location of 0.00001% of the Universe’s dark matter. The RBv1 set were a li’l shakey. Come on now, yes they were. The pads one could buy were very likely a driving force behind oil prices in 2008, and now they’re unncessity explains alot about the economy. Furthermore, the drum pedal is metallic which offers more heft, less sliding around, and a smoother feel. It still isn’t a chain-linked pendulum, but those are what aftermarket is for you crazy vapid monkey.


The mic … well I don’t know that the mic needed any improvement and I haven’t really noticed one. Honestly, the futher away from the microphone I am the better society coexists. Too bad I kinda like singing, but I’m only allowed to when I have the office to myself. Even the deafmute janitor refuses to enter if he notices I have the mic nearby. It’s still much fun, toned down to make it easier, and — aside from the scrolling font thing — lots of fun if you’re at all into the singing bits.

RBv1 was the ultimate expansion upon the Guitar Hero series. Activision blew it with a capital W (as in wad.) Yet, as great as the Rock Band was, Activision did throw a solid counter punch with the GH World Tour. I really love the multiple levels with their drum kit and the 6-point set up. Yet RBv2 has turned the notch up again. Even though it doesn’t have the second level for cymbals, the drum action is perfect for differing levels of sensitivity. They’re solid and a simple pleasure to play.


I didn’t think I’d want to go back, but I am so glad I did and WT will be bronzed for future generations.


The ultimate party game has the ultimate in party treats: customizable avatars, equipment and appareal unlocks, wide collections of songs, and future expandability with downloadable content. Plus, if you don’t want to travel across the country you can play online.

I love it. Better than Cats. I’m going to play it again and again.


Where does it stop? I can download tracks. I can play online. I can merely compare scores with the world around me if I deem them worthy. With the improvement of the instruments I don’t have to worry about driving the Mrs away with clangy drums, or scream obscenities trying to get the Wiimote into the body of the guitar. They’ve taken every aspect I could think of an improved it.

Ron Burke is the Editor in Chief for Gaming Trend. Currently living in Fort Worth, Texas, Ron is an old-school gamer who enjoys CRPGs, action/adventure, platformers, music games, and has recently gotten into tabletop gaming. Ron is also a fourth degree black belt, with a Master's rank in Matsumura Seito Shōrin-ryū, Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do, Universal Tang Soo Do Alliance, and International Tang Soo Do Federation. He also holds ranks in several other styles in his search to be a well-rounded fighter. Ron has been married to Gaming Trend Editor, Laura Burke, for 21 years. They have three dogs - Pazuzu (Irish Terrier), Atë, and Calliope (both Australian Kelpie/Pit Bull mixes).
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