Top positive review
One person found this helpful
on May 11, 2015
The prime difference between what the folks at Harmonix and the people at Neversoft/RedOctane are doing with their perspective games comes down to very important semantics. Neversoft's Guitar Hero series is a franchise. Harmonix's Rock Band is a platform. It's a huge distinction and the truth is that Rock Band's method benefits the consumers a lot more.
So when you're purchasing Rock Band 2, you'll getting a lot more value than you can imagine. Sure there's the 84 song (all master cuts) list and the 20 additional free bonus songs coming really soon, but what's important to note is the promise that Harmonix is keeping with: Rock Band is a platform, meaning every song under the Rock Band umbrella (with a few unfortunate nixes) will work with their games. So not only do all the songs you've been downloading for a year work, but also all but three songs in Rock Band 1 can be ripped to your hard drive (for a nominal $5 for licensing fees). This is a phenomenal value that values the customer more than paying for individual "expansion" packs that have no connectivity to one another. Platform versus franchise.
Alright, so there's a huge value here. But once you dig into the actual game, there's some good and some blah. Harmonix revamped the touring mode so that, regardless of playing single or multi, you have one World Tour. Previously, songs unlocked in solo play would show up in the multiplayer; here, though, regardless of whether you're playing by yourself or with friends, you're unlocking songs as you travel throughout the world. It's a lot more fun and emphasizes group play.
One of the issues I've run into is that the people I play Rock Band with aren't the best of players. We do it for fun and we'd invariably run into a brick wall in the tour where they'd have to move up to the next difficulty and couldn't. So far, we haven't run into that situation and have gotten a lot more out of touring that we used to. I hope this continues as this is the most exciting and fun aspect of the game.
Other game types have been included, as well. Your band can do the "Tour Challenge," which basically throws various set lists at you to get through. These set lists can be songs from a specific band or songs difficult on a certain instrument or songs of a certain theme, etc. A second game type is "Battle of the Bands" and puts your band against another band virtually, with a leaderboard to track your progress.
If you're looking for more character customization options, you'll probably be disappointed. There's a few more new hair types and a couple more faces, but for the most part it feels like the first Rock Band. This is a common thread throughout Rock Band 2: it feels a lot like the first Rock Band. It's more of a slow evolution. By far the best changes are ones that should have been in place the first time around, namely the fact you don't need a band leader and that you can have one character play any of the instruments. This is probably my favorite part of the new game (minus the songs).
But the songs are the real showcase. There's a lot of diversity here with a lot of new bands, some oldies and everything in between. But most of the songs are a ton of fun to play, which is the most important part. If you have Rock Band, this is a no brainer as the gameplay modes are more fun and you're not losing songs. If you're new, this is a terrific place to start. Many many hours have been logged so far and I can't wait for more!