#863 Rock Band 2

Posted: 7th November 2021 by Jeroen in Games
Tags: , , , ,

1016th played so far

Genre: Music
Platform: Various
Year of Release: 2008
Developer: Harmonix
Publisher: MTV Games

It feels like the era of instrument games has come and gone – they were really big about a decade ago, as an excellent party game, but it feels like they faded into obscurity again. We’ve been playing various editions of both Guitar Hero and Rock Band and their spin offs like DJ Hero. While they weren’t the majority, of course, they stand out as a fun way to experience them even as the mechanics got a bit similar after a while. In the end it does replicate a lot of other rhythm games, making sure to press the right button at the right time, but actually linking it to the real instrument and doing something similar.

So I left Rock Band 2 until last – really just a random pick from that list, but it seemed right to at least end with another instrument game. I’m curious how well this one will connect with me.


As expected, a lot of music games are a form of rhythm action, where you press a button at the right point in the music. We’ve talked about the instrument-based games, which pull from Audiosurf and Frequency, while many others, such as Vib-Ribbon, just use button presses. The real stand outs of this type are ones that wrap it in a proper story, like Elite Beat Agents, to give some ridiculous context for your actions. And while I’d argue that Patapon follows a similar system, it does have you rely on the music alone rather than giving you button presses and giving you more in put in what you do as you play.

But since it’s such a recurring theme, the exceptions stand out more. Cheating a bit, Auditorium should probably have had a third entry as it relies so much on sound to explain the puzzles.Both Rez HD and Everyday Shooter rely on forming music to set an atmosphere, and SingStar avoids the rhythm game by focusing on the vocals instead. They’re all different takes, even if they’re not always successful. In the end, for me at least, it’s the final result that really matters.

Our Thoughts

Rock Band is going to stay Rock Band. In its sequel, a lot of the game offers more of the same. You get a lot more songs, tour different venues where you play gigs using these songs and earn money as you do. It’s really well balanced, with the songs ramping up well – you start to feel the difficulty further in, but it goes at the right speed as you go through. It helps that I think I’ve gotten better at playing these games, so I needed to step up to medium difficulty to stay challenged, which helps give an extra lever to pull.

There’s a fair amount of customization as well, and all the other modes and features you’re used to – I don’t think the tutorial had much new to tell me – but it stays fun in everything it offered. I guess that after years of playing these games, this fits in with everything else I experienced.

Final Thoughts

I don’t think you can blame the game for this, but having so many instrument based games means that they start to fade at this point. So many games are similar, only switching out songs and customizations. There’s some polish and changes, but they are going to meld together for me in a few months. At least now I can go back and just play them for fun – I think I’ve missed out on doing that before, and I’ll have time now.