As in Rock Band
, Rock Band 2
lets you form your own band and work your way around the world, from one venue to the next, earning money and gaining fans by playing gigs in various bars and clubs as you work your way from West Coast to East Coast and across the globe.
While that hasn't changed, there are some new, cool features that make Rock Band 2 worth buying, even if you have Rock Band already.
The Drum Trainer helps you practice drumming, with increasingly difficult and more complex drum beats. You can practice Beats, Fills or simply Freestyle. In fact, you can access the Xbox Music Player while in Freestyle mode and then drum along with your favorite music.
Tour mode was great in Rock Band
, but it was kind of a drag that your avatar had to stick to a certain instrument. This led to me playing as different characters when playing Rock Band
at parties, depending on what instrument became available. A friend of mine actually created several different bands, and would select the appropriate band depending on who was playing what. That's just... wow. That's a lot of creating characters. Rock Band 2
corrects this issue by allowing your avatar to play different instruments. You chose who you're playing as after you've picked up the instrument. If your friends bail on you or show up to practice late, you can take your character on some solo training, playing whatever part you like with the same character.
Additionally, the Tour mode has been enhanced by adding some activities such as recording music videos and hiring and firing staff to help promote your band.
Battle of the Bands
With your Xbox LIVE account, you can play against other bands from around the world in daily and weekly challenges, battling for overall domination and rewards.
Another new feature in Rock Band 2
are the Tour Challenges. These are special challenge sets - some are for a single person, while others are band challenges. Beating challenges unlocks further Tour Challenges, providing hours of additional gameplay for those who, well, like to challenge themselves.
Your characters are also more customizable than they were back in Rock Band
. Rock Band 2
has more options for faces and hairstyles and has an additional catalog of clothing, called Thrift Threads
, which allows for easier access to clothing of different styles and genres, on the cheap.
Yes, the instruments are new and, yes, they're backwards compatible, whatever you mean by that. However, there are new features made available by the new instruments, in some cases, that are only usable in Rock Band 2
. For example, the Drums have a metal-reinforced kick-drum foot-pedal which is much nicer than the original one, and can be used with Rock Band
. The Rock Band 2
have expansion ports in the back to allow for the addition of cymbals. Nifty. I'm pretty sure that the cymbals won't be supported by the original Rock Band
, but I don't have any to test... yet. I'll let you know what I find out when I get some in-house. The material used to make the drum heads is a softer (read quieter
) rubber material, much like the drums for Guitar Hero World Tour
, which is not only backwards compatible with Rock Band
, it's also much more compatible with people who don't like videogames and loud noises but have to be in the same house as you. (This is a good thing, trust me.)
The guitars are improved, as well. Somebody yell, "Wireless!" Yup. Wireless OEM guitars, with more realistic looking Fender Stratocaster-ness. The strum bar seems quieter than the previous guitars and there is a raised plastic ridge around the (Start) button to help avoid accidental pressings. Now that the guitar doesn't have a cord to come out of the cord-jack, the button used to sync-up the controller with your Xbox 360 is located in the recess. How utterly fitting.