A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this game is very similar to its predecessors, but adds new songs, modes, characters, and instruments. As with the first game, this game is rated "T" by the ESRB because some of the songs have suggestive lyrics about sexual situations. The game also shows some male and female performers wearing skimpy clothes. If you already own the original Rock Band, you don't have to buy the
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What's it about?
How do you follow up on one of the biggest video games in recent memory? If you're Harmonix, the makers of ROCK BAND 2, you make it bigger, better and louder. This sequel to last year's hot music game features more than 80 new rock songs including tracks from ACDC, Soundgarden, Bon Jovi, and even Guns N' Roses' new "Shackler's Revenge," from the highly-anticipated album "Chinese Democracy."
If you haven't played the original Rock Band, gamers play along to hit rock songs on a plastic guitar or drum kit peripheral, or by singing in a microphone, and must hit the right note/drum at the correct time in order to rack up points. Perform well and the virtual crowd cheers you on, but make too many flubs and you might even be booed offstage. The real fun in the game, however, is playing different instruments with friends in front of the same TV or over the Internet, hence the name of the game.
Is it any good?
This sequel doesn't veer away much from what made its predecessor the hottest thing since, well, Guitar Hero, but along with all new songs, Rock Band 2 features newly-designed instruments (including a wireless and quieter drum kit); new solo and multiplayer game modes (such as a "Battle of the Bands" online competition); unlockable characters, instruments and venues; and the ability to import the original Rock Band tracks and paid downloads. Speaking of which, gamers can once again download additional tracks from the Internet, by song or complete albums.
Let's cut right to the chase: is Rock Band 2 worth the money? The answer is yes, but with a condition. If you loved the first game and are happy with the plastic instruments you already own, then just pick up the disc with all the new songs and modes on it, as the new instruments – while wireless and quieter – might not be worth the cost for the entire kit ($190). But if you're new to the game series or prefer the new peripherals, then the entire kit is for you. And let's face it -- because the original game is only nine months old, Rock Band 2 isn't too radically different than Rock Band -- so consider this game "Rock Band 1.5" rather than a true sequel. That said, gamers looking for a rocking thrill won't be disappointed with this purchase.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about if this sequel is worth the purchase if you already own the instruments from the first game? Is it fair that a game company releases a "sequel" -- one that costs up to $189.99 with all the instruments -- only nine months after the original game? Another interesting chat: are Nintendo Wii owners justifiably upset at the lack of multiplayer and downloadable component? What does this game teach you about being in a rock band?