Rock Band 2: you should already own it
Rock Band 2
Publisher: MTV / EA
Platform: Xbox 360
Price: $59.99 (Shop.Ars)
Hundreds of gamers went to their local electronics stores Sunday to pick up their copy of Rock Band 2 and, I hope, invited a bunch of their friends over when they got the game home. Many will most likely play the game all day, and maybe all night, and more than a fewwill initially be disappointed. But for those who come to Rock Band 2 not for a completely new experience, but for one that's been honed toperfection, there's a lot to love about this sequel.
It may look and feel familiar, but Rock Band 2 is a worthwhile improvement on the original.
We've spent the past five days living and breathing Rock Band 2, and the numerous fixes and tweaks emerge slowly, over time. The game looks, and plays, much like Rock Band 1: the notes start at the top and move to the bottom; you activate Overdrive to get the multiplier up; you fight over who gets guitar and who gets bass. But as we played we began to notice that all the things that drove us crazy about the original game are gone, replaced by things that are much better. There is nothing reinvented in Rock Band 2, but everything that was already there has simply been perfected.
We're going to spend the next few pages digging into the new hardware that comes with the game, and give you our recommendations about what you should upgrade and what instruments you're safe ignoring; this is going to be a guide as much as a review.
And as far as the review part goes, I'm going to cut my own throat and kill the suspense: you need to buy this game. The song list is top-notch, and since you can grab the game alone if you already have good instruments, you're paying less than a dollar each for the new songs. Take a gander at the set list, and tell me you're not interested in at least a dozen or so of those songs. Plus, $5 gets you your Rock Band 1 songs in the game (with the exception of Black Sabbath's "Paranoid," Metallica's "Enter Sandman," and the cover of Iron Maiden's "Run to the Hills"), and your downloaded content will be waiting for you the second you put the disc in the system. So Rock Band 2 boasts an intimidating amount of content from day one.
With new instruments and a bunch of fixes, Rock Band 2 is the perfect venue for a band reunion.
But this isn't just about the songs. There was clearly as much work put into the game itself as there was into the new instruments and tracks. We'll get into what has been fixed, and give you a better idea of how to create your own best possible hardware configuration. Of course, I won't be upset if you run out, grab the game, and then come back and read. If you're still with me, though, let's talk about that new guitar…