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Rock Band 2 review

Still top of the charts, even if it does feel more like an encore than a whole new album

That brings us to the songlist, which is huge, but not as gargantuan as what the game offers on other platforms.There are more than 80 tunes right on the game disc, though the PS2's lack of storage space means you can't go online and download more the way you can with the Wii, 360, or PS3. Sure, you can spring for the expansion discs that seem to trickle out every now and then, but that's no substitute for the power to buy just the songs you want from a huge selection.

In fact, there's no online mode of any kind, be it store, multiplayer co-op, battle of the bands... nothing.Granted, this is a game best enjoyed by four people all in the same room, but the other console versions don't limit you to that setup, so this one shouldn't either. These two shortcomings together - the lack of downloadable songs and online modes - are obviously largely the fault of the PS2's tiny storage and lack of built-in online support instead of the Rock Band 2 game itself. But that doesn't change the fact that this is now the weakest version, and we've lowered its score a point accordingly.

In light of these "missing" improvements, our biggest complaint about Rock Band 2 is that it polishes rather than reinvents. Make no mistake: We appreciate the backwards compatibility of the instruments, and the gameplay additions and tweaks that have been made seem universally designed to make the player’s experience better. But with no real revolution, this feels more like an 80-song expansion pack than an all-out sequel.

But you know what? We’re okay with that, at least for this year. We’re thrilled that Harmonix didn’t try to fix things that weren’t broken and add in silly things just to add bullet points on the box – the original Rock Band was nearly perfect already. And even if we know the setlist by heart, we still find ourselves running to Rock Band 2 every week and basking in the intoxicating clamor of the in-game crowd’s standing ovations. What can we say? We love living the lives of a bunch of rock stars.

Dec 19, 2008

More Info


This refined entry replaces the original Rock Band as quite possibly the most fun-filled four person co-op game in creation. Just don't go looking for a huge evolutionary jump.

Franchise nameRock Band
UK franchise nameRock Band
PlatformPS2, Xbox 360, Wii, PS3
US censor ratingTeen
UK censor ratingRating Pending
Release date23 December 2008 (US), 1 January 1970 (UK)