Top positive review
48 people found this helpful
In my opinion... BETTER THAN EVERYTHING ELSE EVER
on 30 November 2008
The title might seem like a bit of an overstatement, but I'm serious. I'll be playing this game more than every other game combined until Rock Band 3 comes out. It really is that addictive!
For people who don't know what this is, it's a rythm game. Pick up the plastic instrument of your choice (guitar or drums) then hit the notes as they pass their targets, or grab the mic and sing as pitch-perfectly as you can (only pitch matters, so you can still score high while sounding truly awful.) Read a professional review of Rock Band 1 for a more in-depth explanation; I would go into it here, but it makes for boring reading (and you probably know how it works anyway.)
The things that make this game so awesome are: a) how easy it is to play, b) how difficult it is to master, and c) how great the (constantly expanding) soundtrack is.
Concerning c), this is the best soundtrack I've ever hear in a video game. Out of the 84 on-disc songs, I dislike just 1. Of course everyone has different opinions when it comes to music, but there really is something for everyone. Blondie, Megadeth, Panic! at the Disco, the Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan... the range and quality is incredible.
But still, 84 different songs can only be played so many times before you're bored of them, no matter how good they are. That's where the music store comes in. There are over 300 tracks availible to download at the time of writing (check Wiki for the full list) with more added every Tuesday. Songs are usually 160 MS points each, but you get a discount if you buy them as part of a pack (e.g. 3 song packs are usually 440 points.) It's a good deal I think, but these micro-purchases can quickly build up into a noticable strain on yor wallet. But still, this is one area where Rock Band wins against Guitar Hero - the fact that all RB songs can be purchsed individually means that you're never forced to buy a whole pack just for the one song you want. Neversoft seem to be trying to emulate the Harmonix way, which is a good thing, but they haven't quite got it yet.
Another area where RB performs better is the presentation. The graphics and overall atmosphere of a performance in Rock Band are incredible. Venues look spectacular but realistic. Drummers hit the right drums to the music, guitarists hold the right frets and pluck the right strings, vocalists are perfectly lip-synched, and every song has an individual light show for every venue. The crowd even sings along when you're doing well. It's all pretty impressive to watch. Whereas Guitar Hero... well, it kinda looks like a catoonists impression of a rock concert, with animatronic musicians placed on the stage.
But what does presentation matter? It's the gameplay that counts, and Rock Band 2 has a few single (or multi) player modes that will keep you playing for ages. World Tour mode sees your band (of 1 to 4 people) start in a local club and eventually work their way up to huge arenas around the world. (Note: Unlike in RB1, World Tour mode can be played online now, as can all other modes.) Challenge mode is more linear - complete these songs, unlock those songs - with challenges designed around a particular instrument, genre, or artist. For example, buy the Boston track pack and you'll have a Boston challenge, or play the drums and do the drum challenge.
The third mode (excluding quickplay) is Battle mode. This is pretty cool - new battles with particular themes are put up every day, and you're supposed to play through the songs adhering to whatever special rules come with it, like longest streak wins, must play on Expert, must have a vocalist... You score will then be uploaded to the online leaderboards and you have to get it as high as possible by the time the battle is taken offline. It's a simple concept, but it's cool to play through sets of songs with particular themes or special rules then see how you compare against your friends list/the world.
I need to mention the difference in note charts between GH and RB. People generally said that RB1 was too easy and GH3 was too hard, but RB2 has got it perfect. Plenty of songs for the complete begginner (plus no-fail mode) and loads of songs for the expert (who will also appreciate the wonderful Breakneck speed, the RB equivilant of Hyperspeed.) In my opinion, GH:WT is still a bit over-charted (you play more notes than you actually hear) and is a bit too forgiving with the timing. That doesn't make GH any less fun - it just makes RB seem better.
Anyway, I feel like I've gone on for ages without actually saying much, so I'll end by saying: You should buy this. You were probably considering Guitar Hero as well, but buy this (unless you really do prefer the GH:WT soundtrack.) I don't wanna bash GH (it's still fun) but this is the better sounding, better looking, funner, more replayable game.
Oh, but the official instruments aren't out until December. All old GH and RB instruments with work fine with it, though, as will the new GH things.