The realm of rhythm based gaming has spread to countless platforms since its creation not too long ago, and EA is back with a reloaded edition of Rock Band, featuring brand new tracks from a wider range of genres. With a few gameplay tweaks and several additional features, Rock Band Reloaded tries to place itself above some stiff competition.
Similar to before, you get to play as the guitar, bass, drums, or vocals. When controlling the vocals, you can now select whether you want to use your microphone for pitch recognition or simply tap out the beats. 4 difficulty options are available for every song you play, with the new expert mode. An intricate world tour mode takes you through 36 events in 6 locations around the world. Multiplayer for up to 4 players is available via local wifi and bluetooth, allowing you and some friends to make an iPhone-powered band.
The following songs are included in Rock Band Reloaded as part of the core game and are available for play upon first launch. We will add the full list of free songs in the game once they are unlocked
-3 Doors Down – Kryptonite
-Alice In Chains – Your Decision
-Beastie Bos – So What’cha Want
-Billy Idol – White Wedding (Part 1)
-Drowning Pool – Bodies
-Duran Duran – Hungry Like The Wolf
-Evanescence – Call Me When You’re Sober
-Megadeth – Peace Sells
-Nine Inch Nails – The Perfect Drug
-Nirvana – In Bloom
-No Doubt – Hella Good
-Pat Benatar – Heartbreaker
-Seether – Remedy
-Steve Miller Band – Rock’n Me
-Vampire Weekend – A-Punk
New features are the key to every sequel’s success, and Rock Band Reloaded certainly sports quite a few. The entire game is played in landscape mode with 4 tap areas instead of the traditional portrait position. A no-fail option in the settings menu prevents a song from ending even if your rock meter runs out completely. There are certain shows in world tour mode that only allow you to use a single instrument, often producing a greater challenge. By performing well on stage, you unlock 25 awards and 25 pins to decorate a full stats page.
The new voice detection system is a great addition to the game and lets you sing along to your favorite songs instead of just tapping. iPod Touch users will require a microphone in order to enjoy this feature, which works surprisingly well. Green lines are shown if you stay on pitch, and not recovering fast enough when the lines change colors will result in missed notes. The game’s interface is similar to that of the first Rock Band, and you should enjoy this rendition if you enjoyed the last one. Local multiplayer is very fun if you can find a few friends with the app and lets you each take a role in the band.
Rock Band Reloaded has 29 free songs in the game, 15 of which are available from the start. Additional tracks are automatically unlocked as you complete events and gain fans. Currently, there are 8 indie rock songs that can be downloaded in the music store. Expect to see many more premium songs available for you to purchase in future weeks. The note effects have been redesigned and look fantastic on a Retina Display. The loading screens are filled with random facts about the featured bands and their histories, although they don’t stay up for very long.
Unfortunately, Rock Band Reloaded still seems to have many of the same problems the first title suffered from that haven’t been addressed. There have been no connectivity improvements, and the game is not competitive at all unless all your Facebook friends like posting their recent iPhone Rock Band scores on their walls. Online multiplayer is missing, and you have no idea how far into a song you are while playing it. The star power initiation system is the same as before, and shaking your device often causes you to miss a note and ruin your combo.
With the new features come a few more issues, the greatest of which being that the note markers that scroll towards you are now enormous. With the length of the moving belt already shortened in landscape mode, you now have only a split second to tap the right pad after the marker appears. The entire game seems much easier than before once you get accustomed to the layout. The new expert mode feels like the old hard mode and is the only challenging difficulty level. Even on the hardest level in the game, some songs will still be a breeze and have the same repetitive chords for half the track.
One of the great things about the first Rock Band was its collection of popular music that was familiar to many people of various ages. By trying to focus on different genres, EA has made it to where most people will only recognize 5 or 6 of the included songs. While the voice vocal mode is a great addition, it’s way to easy to cheat at, as you can get 5 stars on a level without singing a single word of the song. As long as you get the rhythm right, you can sing when you’re not supposed to and change pitches randomly without any penalties.
EA’s second Rock Band game contains many awesome new features, but some of them seem to take away from the rocking rhythm experience. While you may enjoy the new vocals mode and achievements, you probably won’t be too impressed with the songs, especially when you compare them to those of the first game. Rock Band Reloaded contains enough new elements and improvements to make it worth it for $4.99 and is still a bargain for 29 quality songs.