This past weekend, my family dug out the instruments in anticipation of an afternoon playing Rock Band 2. Ever since the first Guitar Hero came out, we've always had a plastic instrument or four laying around. After picking up our mighty axes and killer sticks this time, though, we noticed they were covered with a light coating of dust. Had it really been that long since the four of us had rocked out together?
Perhaps it had been a while, but that didn't diminish our enjoyment of the game at all. Music games in general are loaded with replay value. Consider all the options available even in an older game like Guitar Hero 2. There are four different difficulties, vs mode, co-op mode, a good amount of unlockable songs, and several DLC packs. You can even go for five stars and gold stars if you want. In the latest generation of music games, there is even more replayability . You can play any one song on guitar, bass, drums, or vocals. This is one factor that, in my opinion, makes music games one of the best values you'll find in any video game. Even when you take into account the high initial outlay due to expensive instrument controllers, there's a lot of "band" for your buck.
Rock Band 2 is clearly the winner when it comes to replay value, out of all the different music games. The reason why is very simple: an enormous amount ofdownloadable content. Every week, three or more new songs is released. Rock Band 1 came out almost a year and half ago, and the DLC started soon after. Simple arithmetic will tell you there's lots of music available. The sheer variety of the content is astounding. There is literally something for everyone. Country music, classic rock, heavy metal, and more, plus everything in between. It seems like every month or so, a song is released and we fire up Rock Band 2 and download it as soon as we can.
This past week, the big one was "Last Resort" by Papa Roach. I know, I know; it's not a classic by any means, but the song is catchy and easy to head bang to. Another song we had to get, less popular with the whole family, but definitely a favorite of mine, was "More Human Than Human" by White Zombie. We loaded up a venue, my wife on vocals, me on drums, my oldest on guitar, and the little guy on guitar. We picked "Buddy Holly" to warm up, and threw the latest DLC in the next two slots. It was like we were playing a new game; music games are all about the songs, after all, and playing these was every bit as exciting as the first night we played Rock Band 2. Next we did a short random setlist , and when "Pretty Fly For A White Guy" came up, my son had to have the microphone. I promptly stole it from him for "One Step Closer" by Linkin Park. (It's very cathartic for a teacher to sing that song, by the way.) We ended our play with a a leftover from my wife's favorite, the No Doubt pack, "Hella Good". Ouch, expert bass on that song is rough.
I consider Rock Band 2 one of the finest co-op games I've ever played. Everything that is good and enjoyable about the rhythm game genre is in it, but cranked up to eleven. Additionally, Harmonix seems to have a good feel for what gamers want in a full band game: lots of content, backwards compatibility, and no hassles when using the peripherals of the competition. Each time we get new DLC, it's like playing the game all over again. If you are even slightly interested in music games, Rock Band 2 is certainly worth your time.