Rock Band 2 User Review
It's no surprise, really, that music is and probably always will be a big part of my life. What's even more true about music, is that it touches everyone.
Every single person in the world has some sort of music that resonates with them. Whether you're a metal-head or a symphonic fan, you like alternative-modern or Baroque, or appreciate rap or soft rock, everyone loves something and has a form of music that "speaks" to them.
Needless to say, a game like Rock Band is an ingenious way to get folks who have or haven't ever participated in making music, a chance to participate in the success of the completion of a song. Don't get me wrong; no one would suggest games like this are "the real deal", but nevertheless, it's a great opportunity to rock out with your friends!
From a graphical stand point, it's kind of cool, I guess. There's a lot of lights, and the game does well to illustrate a band on stage in most any setting: whether it's a bar or world stage. However, as you can imagine, you'll spend most of your time following the flowing lines. And to be honest, for the PS3, these graphics aren't even that great, to begin with. There's nothing wrong with them, but it's not really a game meant for smashing graphics.
Gameplay, of course, is all this game is about. There is no real storyline. It's just about the music. Which is what the game is designed for. The game does well to calibrate the rhythm with your tv in the calibrate mode, which is pretty much necessary for this game to be a success.
What is appreciated, is the fact that you can adjust the game to fit your style of play, well. If you are chillin' with friends and don't want the songs to fail out, you can turn off the failing to complete the song no matter how bad you are. There's a good single player campaign that improves upon the past title as well. Should you decide at anytime to switch instruments, then switch instruments. There's a great challenge area away from the world tour mode that will allow you to focus on completing challenges for a specific instrument. When on the world tour, you get the option of picking the best manager to serve your cause. Of course, the more famous you become, the better the manager you may hire.
In terms of gameplay, there aren't really any flaws. It does what it's meant to do, and that's that. You can save up power to 'rock out', but aside from that, there aren't as many battle bonuses as there are in games like former Guitar Hero's or Amplitude.
The sound is as it should be. I guess, really, this is the most important part! The music comes through as clearly as the actual records would have come through on your stereo system. When you hit the wrong note, it plays a weird scratching sound, which sounds more like mild a nail going across a guitar fret than it does strumming a wrong note. It would be cool, I think, to hear the wrong notes coming through as opposed to just a dropped track. Other than these comments, what more do you want to hear about sound? The game plays the music, and the crowds cheer or boo based on your performance.
Control is as difficult as your sense of rhythm and level of practice on the game would dictate. If you have no rhythm, this game will drive you batty. However, it controls appropriately, at the same time. My biggest complaint lies with the instruments that come at extra cost. They are by no means durable, and if there is a hardware malfunction that is not the buyer's fault, the company will do little to nothing to help you replace it. Both of my guitars rarely pick up on me rocking out anymore, and I have to hit the select button to rock out. A huge inconvenience. The drums work pretty well, but the pedal is far more tense than it should be. When I play the REAL drums, my shins don't get sore. When I play THESE drums, I tire out within a few songs. Perhaps it's the leverage based on the chair I sit in, but I find the spring far too tense. As for the mic, it purposely filters out some sound, but this causes a delay the other instruments don't face. So, while there is a calibration feature, it is inconsistent between the microphone and the other instruments.
Replay value is fairly infinite with this game. Not only can you play any song whenever you want with great multiplayer features, but if you get sick of the songs, there are plenty of extras on the PSN. The only thing that could make this better, would be to have customizations. My favorite rock bands aren't on the PSN or in the game. I would love to play my favorite MP3's, and manually go through a song create mode to place the notes where they should be. It would probably take a while, but I would LOVE that kind of feature.
Still, though, there's plenty of songs to play, and many are classics.
This game is one that is perfect for most people to play when you have friends over. Mind you, it isn't for everyone, as I can well imagine some people would find it more annoying than fun. However, if you have a relative that typically doesn't enjoy gaming, this may be a great way to connect as it's one title even those who hate games might enjoy.
As for me, I no longer perform live music, but I certainly let my imagination get away with me when home alone with Rock Band 2 in the PS3. I select my favorite songs and pelt out through the mic at the top of my lungs. In terms of video games as a whole, it's not really what one would think of as a competitor of sorts, but within it's own medium of music gaming, it's a great experience.
This user review does not reflect the views of the PSX Extreme Staff.