Rock Band 2 Review - The Next Level

Game Profile

Xbox 360
Release date:
September 14, 2008
EA Games
1 - 4

Rock Band 2

It's time to set it off...again.

Review by Chris Bahn (Email)
October 25th 2008

It all began back in November 2005 when Harmonix introduced gamers to Guitar Hero, a franchise that would quickly evolve into one of the most iconic, virtual rock franchises ever created. Over the course of the next several years, the phenomenon sparked a trend of sequels that would be released annually in order to satiate the non-stop demand for new thrills and content. If Harmonix's past portfolio is any indication, we could end up seeing something similar occur with their latest digital opus.

For those of you irked by technical flaws with the included instruments, or yearned for the ability to go on a World Tour with your buddies across the globe in the original release, Rock Band 2 puts all those issues to rest. I'll assume the majority are already familiar with the original, so we can all float on. If not, feel free to check out our coverage of Rock Band so you'll be brought up to speed. Fans of the original can also take advantage of the optional export tool, bringing nearly all of the songs from RB1 into your RB2 sessions. Just don't expect to get those songs on Harmonix's tab though. You'll need put up $5.00, which I can honestly say was well worth the investment.

Like its predecessor, Rock Band 2 ensures you're gaining an investment that will keep you entertained for hours and hours to come.

Unless you have some familiarity with Guns 'n Roses, Smashing Pumpkins, Metallica, AC/DC or the Offspring, it might be difficult to relate to any of the track selections featured in the game. Though you probably wouldn't be reading this unless you appreciated rock music to some degree. I'll admit there are a lot of bands on here who I can't recall until the song is in session. There's a solid mix of classic, pop, and contemporary selections that should please anyone whose been around since the 1980s or later.

One of my greatest hopes is that Harmonix will take more community requests into account. I am sure you'll find my taste in music a bit unusual (maybe even out of date), but I'd love to see some stuff from Lenny Kravitz and Sting. Oh, and for the love of god --- please get "What I've Done" from Linkin Park available as DLC. I'd gladly trade a third of the painfully mediocre crap like Beastie Boys' "So Whatcha Want" for something I'd play religiously.

Thankfully the community has the opportunity to express their complaints, praises, and wishlists via the official website at I've gotta give a big applause to Harmonix and MTV Games for going to such great lengths to create a culture with Rock Band via this official site. I recently dropped by after discovering that I could import the characters from my band (Auricom) and create custom gallery images using pre-generated poses. You can also get other apparel like mugs, t-shirts and the usual gear offered in e-stores; though the real treat is actually being able to have your band members immortalized forever with miniature statues. The price tag is a tad expensive ($69.99 a character), but this is the closest I'll ever come to having a toy created in my image, so I'll be making plans to purchase one very soon.

Since we're on the subject of community, let's talk about the online multiplayer modes that play a more prominent role in Rock Band 2. Players now can assemble a band and face off against other rival groups to compete for a bit of personal recognition and bragging rights via the leaderboards. The Challenge Mode in particular is certain extend the title's replay value for months to come. The majority of challenges allow you to play solo or might require one or more players to complete objectives along the lines of getting the highest note steak or basically anything that demands consistent accuracy. These are updated daily to keep the competition rolling.

If you're looking to own a fresh new set of instruments or a newcomer to the series, there's little point in investing in the actual Rock Band 2 bundle. Those of you who love playing the drums however might want to settle for either the new ion drum set, since it can also be used in live action band performances. Unless you're an experienced drummer, chances are you'll end up going with the new-and-improved drum set which has been refined to be more responsive and quiter. For the moment, I still can't bring myself to start hitting up the drums just yet – especially when I am still trying to develop my vocal skills.

Like its predecessor, Rock Band 2 ensures you're gaining an investment that will keep you entertained for hours and hours to come. Just be sure to warn the neighbors before holding those late night house parties.

displaying x-y of z total