We were suppose to be out and about to buy gifts for others but things quickly turned into a shopping spree for our own amusement when we headed to a local mall and a giant ToysRUs store - intially to pick up Christmas Eve games. This year we decided that we would add a little slant to the festivities and we decided to pick up Rock Band 2 which comes complete with a drum set, mic, guitar and over 100 songs. Arriving home last evening well past 11 pm, the two children who had been with me decided they didn't want to wait til Christmas Eve to test the game out "just in case something isn't working".
The game is for 1 to 4 players and you can choose from a number of characters and band names or you can rename characters and bands and you can even decorate your tour bus with unique stickers if you are into 'all original' work. You can also design your own characters as well complete with facial and body types, hair styles and colors and even clothing and shoes.
The first selection of songs that are available to you before you unlock additional ones which are dependent upon how well your band does with "gigs" are relatively obscure ones with the exception of "Eye of the Tiger", "Spirit in the Sky" etc., and the first attempts to make money or garner fans with the game can be a little tricky until you familiarize yourself with the songs offered. My kids are pretty up on the music but many of the songs were foreign to them. If you own the previous Rock Band version you can add all the songs that you have from it to the Rock Band 2 set to expand your repetoire.
Once you have familiarized with everything including taking advantage of the Drum practice which apparently can teach you how to actually play drums if you aren't familiar yet, you can make pretty quick headway towards pushing your band up in the ranks. My children played the game til almost 3 a.m. and it's a good thing my husband isn't easily disturbed because the laughter and goofiness that eminated from the main floor would certainly have had him tossing all night otherwise.
Once you've become adept at being a cohesive band and are making some serious headway you can take your show "across the world" literally by entering Battle of the Band contests where you are pitted against other online players. We haven't gotten that far yet - but by the sounds of it last night, that won't take too long - the "band" was pretty good by the end of their 4 hour session together. They also have a forum that you can join to keep up with all the news, new songs, new leaders etc., which also looks like fun. The system offers real time updates which will allow you to be notifiedif/when a rival band beats your current score so you can get in there and get even!
The guitar, mic and drums are wireless if you choose to use that feature but we plugged ours in initially. Setting up the game is easy to do and took only seconds to accomplish. Once a certain level of fans and money is achieved you are offered things like groupies, free help and an agent - who is supposedly not the most honest of agents but you can choose to forgo his particular help if you wish.
Each band member is rated on their overall performance and my kids were hitting pretty high on the scale for the majority of their efforts ranging between 93 and 100% - the lower range was usually when they just started working on a song they didn't know. The drums take a bit of getting use to as you have to ensure you hit the center to effectively make your drumming count which can take a bit of trial and error early on but once use to them, they are pretty effortless to play.
Overall, this is a great little game - a little pricey if you don't know whether or not you'll enjoy it - but you can go to the RockBand site and download other songs which include a wide array of eras and stars so that you can mix up the selections quite a bit. You can also purchase additional song DVD's at almost any gaming store that carries Rock Band and the songs from the previous version can be added to your repetoire as well. By all indications this is an expansive feature that is going to keep you rocking for some time.
If you are looking for a great way to have fun, mix it up a bit and also get a chance to do a little quazi karaoke - then this game is for you! So far, it appears to be well worth the money spent. The only thing we're missing is the mic stand but I think I'll pick that up today as that gives the "band" the opportunity to have one band member do two things. You can also add to the drumset, which we may also end up doing eventually. Can't wait for Christmas Eve - think it will be a real riot!