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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 comically mammoth right out of the box. There are more than 80 tunes right on the game disc, and the manual has a code that will enable you to download 20 more – nice way to get people to actually real the manual.

Then, for five measly bucks, you can rip 55 of the 58 tracks on the first Rock Band disc onto your hard drive for play in Rock Band 2 – this bit of familiarity is more than welcome. Plus, any of the bonus songs you’ve already downloaded in RB1 will simply appear in RB2, no token required. The grand total? You should have upward of 500 tracks at your disposal by the end of the year, with more coming every week.

The only real thing to complain about with Rock Band 2 – and it’s barely even a complaint - 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.

Sep 14, 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)