Rock Band 2

When someone brings up Rock Band 2 in New Zealand, one word used to come to mind: delayed. Now it’s finally out – in software only packs. Fortunately, most music game fanatics already have an instrument pack, or at the very least a guitar bundle with one of the hundreds of plastic guitar titles released.

Rock Band 2 retains the basic gameplay elements that made the original so immersive - you pluck away at a plastic guitar and push notes according to what’s on screen, either playing solo or in a band with some guy singing out of tune. The soundtrack is arguably a lot better than Rock Band 1’s, with classic thrash tunes Megadeth’s Peace Sells and Metallica’s Battery mixed with modern tracks such as Linkin Park’s One Step Closer and Disturbed’s Down With the Sickness.

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However, the best reason to get Rock Band 2 isn’t in the music - it’s the new tour modes. Tours start the same way they did in Rock Band: you create an avatar with a bad haircut. The character creation system is as easy to slide through as it was in Rock Band.

This time around Harmonix has merged the online and offline tours into one mode. The obvious advantage is that you can play some songs offline, then switch to playing with online friends mid-tour.

Tours take place over several cities - like Amsterdam, Stockholm, Berlin and Rome – and each one features several venues which sport a few concerts each, some with sore arm-inducing multiple sets. The better you perform at a concert, the more stars, fans and cash you’ll get (for hiring a road crew, and buying new threads and virtual instruments).

Once on tour you can see the upgrades Harmonix has implemented, including battle of the bands, in which bands can play a set and upload their scores to the leader boards. Challenges are also new, and involve playing a set based on the instrument you’re using. Unfortunately without a full ensemble you aren’t going to get much out of battle of the bands as most of the battles are played out by full bands – as such they require three or four players.

The difficulty levels have been tweaked a little, offering up one big advantage over Rock Band 1 - for novice players, anyway. In Rock Band 1 you could play a decent chuck of the soundtrack in easy mode, but in Rock Band 2 you can play through the whole library.

In addition to the enhanced tour mode, Rock Band 2 adds a few enhancements to the main menu, by way of an extras menu. The most prominent addition is a no fail mode, which does as the name implies and allows players to play any song and finish it no matter how bad they are, although this comes with two penalties: you can’t save and you can’t upload your scores.

Overall Rock Band 2 makes a few welcome changes to a solid rhythm action title – and the overall soundtrack is a big step up. Now let's all pretend it's been out in New Zealand for ages already...

Here is the full track list:

1. AC/DC “Let There Be Rock”
2. AFI “Girl’s Gone Grey”
3. Alanis Morissette “You Oughta Know”
4. Alice in Chains “Man in the Box”
5. Allman Brothers “Ramblin’ Man”
6. Avenged Sevenfold “Almost Easy”
7. Bad Company “Shooting Star”
8. Beastie Boys “So Whatcha Want”
9. Beck “E-Pro”
10. Bikini Kill “Rebel Girl”
11. Billy Idol “White Wedding Pt. I”
12. Blondie “One Way or Another”
13. Bob Dylan “Tangled Up in Blue”
14. Bon Jovi “Livin’ on a Prayer”
15. Cheap Trick “Hello There”
16. Devo “Uncontrollable Urge”
17. Dinosaur Jr. “Feel the Pain”
18. Disturbed “Down with the Sickness”
19. Dream Theater “Panic Attack”
20. Duran Duran “Hungry Like the Wolf”
21. Elvis Costello “Pump It Up”
22. Fleetwood Mac “Go Your Own Way”
23. Foo Fighters “Everlong”
24. Guns N’ Roses “Shackler’s Revenge”
25. Interpol “PDA”
26. Jane’s Addiction “Mountain Song”
27. Jethro Tull “Aqualung”
28. Jimmy Eat World “The Middle”
29. Joan Jett “Bad Reputation”
30. Journey “Anyway You Want It”
31. Judas Priest “Painkiller”
32. Kansas “Carry On Wayward Son”
33. L7 “Pretend We’re Dead”
34. Lacuna Coil “Our Truth”
35. Linkin Park “One Step Closer”
36. Lit “My Own Worst Enemy”
37. Lush “De-Luxe”
38. Mastodon “Colony of Birchmen”
39. Megadeth “Peace Sells”
40. Metallica “Battery”
41. Mighty Mighty Bosstones “Where’d You Go”
42. Modest Mouse “Float On”
43. Motorhead “Ace of Spades”
44. Nirvana “Drain You”
45. Norman Greenbaum “Spirit in the Sky”
46. Panic at the Disco “Nine in the Afternoon”
47. Paramore “That’s What You Get”
48. Pearl Jam “Alive”
49. Presidents of the USA “Lump”
50. Rage Against the Machine “Testify”
51. Ratt “Round & Round”
52. Red Hot Chili Peppers “Give it Away”
53. Rise Against “Give it All”
54. Rush “The Trees”
55. Silversun Pickups “Lazy Eye”
56. Smashing Pumpkins “Today”
57. Social Distortion “I Was Wrong”
58. Sonic Youth “Teenage Riot”
59. Soundgarden “Spoonman”
60. Squeeze “Cool for Cats”
61. Steely Dan “Bodhitsattva”
62. Steve Miller Band “Rock’n Me”
63. Survivor “Eye of the Tiger”
64. System of a Down “Chop Suey”
65. Talking Heads “Psycho Killer”
66. Tenacious D “Master Exploder”
67. Testament “Souls of Black”
68. The Donnas “New Kid in School”
69. The Go-Go’s “We Got the Beat”
70. The Grateful Dead “Alabama Getaway”
71. The Guess Who “American Woman”
72. The Muffs “Kids in America”
73. The Offspring “Come Out & Play (Keep ‘em Separated)”
74. The Replacements “Alex Chilton”
75. The Who “Pinball Wizard”
76. Abnormality “Visions”
77. Anarchy Club “Get Clean”
78. Bang Camaro “Night Lies”
79. Breaking Wheel “Shoulder to the Plow”
80. The Libyans “Neighborhood”
81. The Main Drag “A Jagged Gorgeous Winter”
82. Speck “Conventional Lover”
83. The Sterns “Supreme Girl”
84. That Handsome Devil “Rob the Prez-O-Dent”

Rock Band 2
"If it ain't broke..."
- Rock Band 2
Follow Own it? Rating: PG   Difficulty: Medium   Learning Curve: 5 Min


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Comments Comments (8)

Posted by Ruptunex
On Tuesday 22 Dec 2009 12:56 PM
Awesome. Totally going to get this when i pick up my instrument pack
Posted by Oliver
On Tuesday 22 Dec 2009 5:49 PM
Does it feel dated already? I don't know about that track list to be honest. Only one song in there that I already listen to, and it's not a great one either.
Posted by ShaunassNZ
On Tuesday 22 Dec 2009 6:22 PM
22 December 2009, 05:49 PM Reply to Oliver
Does it feel dated already? I don't know about that track list to be honest. Only one song in there that I already listen to, and it's not a great one either.
It's great I bought this at the start of the year and still playing it.
Posted by Soyerz
On Tuesday 22 Dec 2009 10:05 PM
Great review Morg. Short and sweet.

I picked this up on Saturday. Great game but I have not played as much as I want to. But from what I can see this game is so much more better than the original. From the tracklist to the trophies this game is just so much better and polished.

One addition that I loved was how when you are about to play a song it will come up with a scenario such as a charity concert where you get no cash but you get double the fans. Or you get double the cash at 4 stars and quadriple at 5 stars. It is a small addition but I love it, defentily makes aiming for the higher stars worth the effort and adds a nice risk factor to it.

I would reccomend people who are going to pick up the Rock Band series for the first time to just get the instrument pack without Rock Band 1. The second one is just so much more better and defentily worth the wait!
The Host of Chaos
Posted by The Host of Chaos
On Tuesday 22 Dec 2009 11:19 PM
Only a year late! I didn't like the original Rock Band but I'm still quite happy to give this one the benefit of the doubt. Hopefully the price is reasonable. Actually, that doesn't really matter. By the time I get my PS3 back this will be cheap as chips.
Posted by emetic
On Thursday 24 Dec 2009 12:41 AM
22 December 2009, 05:49 PM Reply to Oliver
Does it feel dated already? I don't know about that track list to be honest. Only one song in there that I already listen to, and it's not a great one either.
It does feel dated but it's still a fun game. It's quite well done.
Though if you don't like the soundtrack then I would suggest it's not for you... when I look at the list I see many many great songs with some inbetween which are pretty crap. You will find it a boring chore to play through songs you don't like.
Posted by ryanrayx2
On Friday 25 Dec 2009 10:34 PM
A great game but why the hell did it take so long to be realesed in NZ?
Posted by ChatterboxZombie
On Tuesday 29 Dec 2009 2:59 PM
lol, this one was famous for mysteriously appearing with no warning. it just like, materialized on a shelf without anyone noticing one day....