Like a good sequel should, Rock Band 2 takes everything that made the original title great and improves upon it.

Rock Band was never just a game - it was a bona fide phenomenon. Rock Band changed the way we looked at, listened to, and played music in a video game environment and now that revolutionary experience is back and better than ever with Harmonix's highly anticipated sequel, Rock Band 2.

While it doesn't reinvent the wheel, Rock Band 2 is something every virtual rocker will want to get and crank up to eleven. In the infamous words of Dee Snider: "if it's too loud, you're too old!"

Let's cut to the chase: by this point, we all know what Rock Band's about, so there's no point in re-hashing the rhythm-based gameplay mechanics - if you haven't played it, go play it already! Like a good sequel should, Rock Band 2 takes everything that made the original title great and improves upon it.

The graphics got an impressive boost in Rock Band 2, with subtle touches throughout. There are filters applied during live performances that make it look like a real music video and the venues are more detailed than ever. The fantastic character designs really bring out the outlandish nature of the game as well.

But what really stood out for me in Rock Band 2 was the insane amount of customization the game allows: you can alter your character's attitude and wardrobe with an even wider selection of shirts, tattoos, hairstyles, make-up, masks-you name it, you can rock out in it.

Also available in Rock Band 2 is the ability to customise your band with a surprisingly deep Band Logo creation tool which lets you combine multiple layers and display your band's mark in-game during your gigs.

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Like a good sequel should, Rock Band 2 takes everything that made the original title great and improves upon it.

All around the world

At first glance, Rock Band 2's World Tour mode doesn't seem like anything new - you still take your tattered garage band across the country and earn stars, fans and cash as you move up the music industry food chain - but the familiar formula has been improved to raise the ante to new heights. You can now hire roadies, merchandising crews, and even music promoters to spread the gospel of your band worldwide while opening up new gigs and venues across the globe.

One of my favorite additions to Rock Band 2's Tour mode was the game's Challenges, where your band is given specific challenges before each show. Meet the criteria like getting four stars during a particular song and you'll get double the cash; get less, walk away empty handed.

Throw in competitions to win touring vans, buses, and private jets, online multiplayer and a brand new set list and you have more than enough material to keep you jamming with friends long into the night.

Rocking and rolling

There's no denying the power of Rock Band 2's gameplay. There's a reason why it remains a popular game to play either by yourself or with your friends and Rock Band 2 just keeps the party going. If you already own the first game and all the instruments, this is a must-own title; if you haven't experienced the magic, this is a great place to start. Either way, you should probably go warn your neighbours now; better yet, invite them over for a few rounds.

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Rock Band 2: Specs

  • PlayStation 2
  • PlayStation 3
  • Nintendo Wii
  • Xbox 360
  • PlayStation 2
  • PlayStation 3
  • Nintendo Wii
  • Xbox 360

OUR VERDICT

It's more Rock Band and that is not a bad thing at all. With a new setlist of songs and more features, Rock Band 2's a no-brainer for anyone who loved the first Rock Band.

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