Review: Rock Band: Classic Rock Track Pack (Microsoft Xbox 360)

Rock Band: Classic Rock Track Pack
Developer: Harmonix
Publisher: EA and MTV Games
Genre: Rhythm
Release Date: 05/19/2009

While Activision continues to roll out brand new versions of Guitar Hero on all cylinders, Harmonix is kicking back, fully confident in its Rock Band 2 format. Through regular content releases, the company continues to extend the longetivity of its rock-solid sequel with huge chunks of downloadable content and expansion packs at lower costs. This week, it’s no surprise to see the company’s newest expansion hit the shelves to keep the momentum going as the franchise gears up for a classic rock expansion aptly titled Rock Band: Classic Rock Track Pack.

Out of the gate, it’s important to note the title isn’t a “full game” and more of an expansion, which will explain the brevity of this review. Regardless, even though the disc is more of an expansion, players can still play all 20 songs in the game straight off the disc without even owning Rock Band or Rock Band 2 and since the expansion is a purchase, 250 more achievement points are up for grabs if you’re looking to prove your music game mettle. Furthermore, at the retail price of $30, when you consider the average downloadable content song is $2, simple math should tell you Harmonix is giving you a $10 break on the songs and upping the package’s value by allowing players to import the tracks into their Rock Band or Rock Band 2 game via hard drive.

While players can go solo through the song list or team up with bandmates to tackle the game’s songs, there is no career mode and player customization is absent when playing on the Track Pack disc. With this, unless the gamer is a Rock Band enthusiast, most people will likely be content in just playing through the list, picking up achievements, using the download code and then pawning off the disc. However, since the expansion isn’t based off a single artist like other recent efforts, the disc will most likely garner a bit more appeal as long as the player is into the rock genre, as the offerings include a variety of popular tunes that span earlier decades.

Outside of the simplistic expansion explanation, the game is 100 percent Rock Band 2 as everyone knows it, although the options are stripped down to simple tour and quickplay options. No story elements or real selection of game modes are present, but they really shouldn’t be expected so much in a music game expansion. The graphics still rank among the best ever seen in the genre and the music and crowd interaction bring the sound to phenomenal levels. Outside of the new song selections, nothing has deviated from the Rock Band 2 format, meaning the play control and game mechanics are as solid as they were when the franchise first released. The expansion songs have a healthy balance of difficulty and with each song having four difficulty levels players can make the game as easy or hard as they wish.

On the downside, however, all the Track Pack has to offer is 20 new songs and new achievement points so if you’re looking at the disc alone, these two factors are the only thing to do in the game. While this completely hacks the replayability of the game and the title hardly has any originality, again, the point of the disc is to enhance what is found in the main Rock Band game. As long as one can stomach the song selection, players will have no issues in sticking with the disc until all the songs are cleared and the achievements are met, proving the series hasn’t lost its touch.

The Scores
Story/Modes: ENJOYABLE
Graphics: CLASSIC
Control/Gameplay: INCREDIBLE
Replayability: POOR
Balance: GREAT
Originality: AWFUL
Addictiveness: ENJOYABLE
Appeal Factor: GREAT
Miscellaneous: POOR

Short Attention Span Summary
In the end, the decision lies on whether or not players can discover their inner classic rock fan and if they don’t mind the disc isn’t a full game. There isn’t a lot to be found on the disc itself but the proven engine of Rock Band 2 is still there. To break it down, players are getting $40 worth of song content for $10 less and the allure of 250 more achievement points isn’t too shabby either. If you’re into expanding your Rock Band experience, the disc will do exactly that, however, if you’re looking for a marathon Rock Band outing, the expansion is only meant to extend your enjoyment of the main series. You’ll probably only get a couple of hours out of the disc before you’re ready to move on, however, the now-standard download code will let you take the disc’s offerings into the robust world of Rock Band/Rock Band 2.


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