Double your rockin' with Rock Band 2
I am a product of the Atari Generation. My first video game was Pong. I've been playing video games for a quarter of a century. However, my wife, who is nine years younger than me, vaguely remembers Sega Genesis. She never played Sonic the Hedgehog, and she thinks Super Mario Bros. is just a movie starring Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo.Therefore, she doesn't get real excited over video games and she is very picky about which games she'll play.
Imagine my joy when she woke me on Sunday to inform me that she purchased Rock Band 2, the sequel to last year's surprise hit by Harmonix. The latest Rock Band offers would-be rockers a plethora of new features, proving that Harmonix listens to player feedback. In the new "Battle of the Bands" mode, one is able to battle bands from around the world for bragging rights on Xbox Live. Tour Challenges are offered in "World Tour" play, allowing players to unlock new levels. Tracks downloaded from the Xbox Live Marketplace for the original Rock Band are available in Rock Band 2. A "Drum Trainer" now allows players to hone their drumming skills before taking the stage. In this mode you're also able to play any music from your Xbox 360 or PS3 media player (available for "Drum Trainer only).
Harmonix has also improved the "Solo Tour" and "World Tour" modes. Stars earned in "Solo Tour" will be applied to the band as a whole. In "World Tour" you can now create computer rockers who will be permanent members of your band, as opposed to the new members in every new set setup in the original version. Yet, it's the song list which makes Rock Band 2 truly a rockin' game. Songs from artists ranging from AC/DC to Bob Dylan, to Norman Greenbaum to Ratt, are playable. In total, some 500 songs will eventually be available.
Don't expect Harmonix to rest on its laurels, however. Guitar Hero 4: World Tour will be nipping on Rock Band 2's heels and is due for release in late-October. In this version, Guitar Hero will take on more of a Rock Band feel, including drums and a microphone. Rock Band 2 and GH4 will share quite a few songs. Songs rumored for GH4 include Van Halen's "Hot For Teacher," The Doors' "Light My Fire," Willie Nelson's "On The Road Again," and a personal favorite of mine, a live version of Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze."
With the Christmas season approaching, the true "Battle of the Bands" will be between Harmonix's Rock Band 2 and Neversoft's Guitar Hero 4: World Tour.