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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7 responses to “Review: Rock Band: Classic Rock Track Pack (Microsoft Xbox 360)”

  1. HarakiriSTK Avatar

    I can’t believe that you wrote a review about this game without including the track listing.. it’s like writing down a recipe and skipping over the ingredients and straight to cooking. “Here’s a game with 20 new songs. It’s good. Go google the tracklist somewhere else.”

  2. D.J. Tatsujin Avatar

    We had another member state they were going to do a whole separate column based on the song content to this game, thus I neglected to mention any of the in-game content in order to give that feature the full song spotlight. I haven’t seen it yet, so, hopefully it comes through soon.

    Even so, I still wouldn’t have listed the full track content. You’ll probably disagree, but the song choices are entirely subjective to opinion and do not have a baring on whether or not the game technically performs well and was soundly developed – which is how we approach our reviews on the site.

    However, in most cases, the site would normally have done a news bit on the announced song list (which was released back in March) and I would have linked to it for those who wanted to know. So, yes, I see your point about sending traffic elsewhere to see the song list, but I’m firm on the stance that a song track list doesn’t belong in a review for the above reasoning. I’ll see if maybe I can retrodate a news piece and edit in a link.

    In any case, I appreciate the comment and criticism. Thanks for reading the piece and visiting the site.

  3. Mike Avatar

    Will all due respect, you are reviewing a track pack, which is not generally meant to be a stand alone game. The draw here is the new music. It’s not a single band release and it’s not a regular release where the music is vastly varied so the music list does have baring on the overall review.

    As to “this is how we approach reviews on this site,” the previous track pack review on this site listed songs (rock-band-track-pack-vol-1-wii).

    I appreciate the thought you’re giving to the review, but I really think you’re coming off poorly here.

  4. D.J. Tatsujin Avatar

    So … did anyone read the review or are people just checking for a song list?

    Kidding aside, I still stand by my stance of not printing a full song list in a review. I fail to see how being completely objective is coming off poorly, but this stems purely from a matter of opinion. After seven years of reviewing music games, this is the first time period I’ve heard of such a complaint. In fact, this is the third music game I’ve reviewed on this very site within two months and yet no one had dilemmas with the lack of a song listing featured in those games. I could provide links to multitudes of music game reviews on reputable sites that do not provide full song lists, yet I do not see your comments on those reviews’ pages. I’m not mad or looking for a fight, I’m honestly just puzzled as to where this assertment is suddenly stemming from.

    I don’t mention full song lists for a few reasons and it has to go across the board – when I reviewed Ontamarama, would you expect a full track listing in that review? This just shows music games evolved toward what is recognizable as opposed to functionality, however, my reviews focus on the latter.

    Normally there would be a number of news resources available on a site to where I would link to a full listing for those interested. This gives a user more to look at on the site and keeps the full song list where it belongs – as a news item. Unfortunately, that does not exist in this case. So, yes, indeed that is a fault of ours and maybe it’s another sign that we need to step up on our news production.

    Regardless, although your arguments certainly don’t lack some merit, overall, I’ll never agree that a full song list is a necessity in a review. I’ve known since March (before I even starting working with the site) what songs were going to be in this game and that issue returns to the fact it wasn’t reported on this site at that time – again, a shortcoming I openly admit to. What songs are included in the game is a news item that gets externally referenced in a review because, again, what is a song is is entirely subjective – how the sound is executed is what belongs in a technical review and that’s my view.

    That being said, I still respect your opinions and don’t mind debating the topic in a civil manner. Again, we appreciate everyone who participates on the site.

  5. Mike Avatar

    Yes, I read your review. Did you read my post?

    I made exactly two points. The first was that this is not a full music game and should be reviewed differently. Your response directs me to reviews you’ve done of full games and wonders why I didn’t comment there.

    The second was that you defended yourself with a blanket claim about how things are done on this sight, which was not entirely true. You ignored this and said you could direct me to other sites and other reviews of music games to support your view.

    Again not addressing my point.

    As a side note I’m not even remotely interested in what other “reputable sites” do. I read reviews HERE for a reason.

    I also have no problem debating the topic civilly, but while you are responding in a civil manner you are not really debating the topic. You are repeating “you will not change my view” over and over with out listening to what is said. This is what I think is coming across poorly.

    I’m also not looking for a fight, or even trying to get you to agree with me. I’m just trying make you think a little harder about what you’re saying, because to me you don’t seem to be on the point you think you are.

  6. D.J. Tatsujin Avatar

    “Yes, I read your review. Did you read my post?”

    I immediately followed that up by saying I was kidding about that. Did you read my post?

    The statement “a music game expansion should be reviewed differently” is merely an opinion you’re stating as fact so from the outgo I don’t understand how it even stands as a point. Why should any expansion be reviewed differently, and, yet again, I point out, what does a song list have to do with the technical merits of a game? Our reviews look at the bad and good aspects of a game and this review does exactly that for the expansion. In my opinion a song list is a news piece that is printed ahead of the game’s release that is referenced to as needed and in a review it is just needless filler and potentially leads to subjectivity as I’ve seen it in many music game reviews. In fact, I’ve even stated I was willing to go back, add a news post about the song list and edit the review to link to the list for those who want to see the listing. This is normally how I would handle a review and I’ve already apologized multiple times for it not happening that way from the beginning.

    Secondly, I stated the site approaches reviews from a technical and performance standpoint. Show me anywhere I ever once stated we do not post full song lists in a review. I feel it is completely unnecessary and potentially creates subjectivity, so I do not do it. Never once did I ever claim there was policy or format that prohibited this, so I fail to see where this blanket claim is coming from. I’ve never once stated anyone was wrong in their assertions, merely that we agree to disagree.

    I really don’t mean to come across as shrewd, but you seem to just be misconstruing my statements and stating your opinions as fact. All of this is straight up subjective opinion so I’m confused as to why people are asserting there is a correct/incorrect method here. When you boil it down, you’re telling me a full song list is 1000 percent necessary for me to convey my personal opinion on how a game performs. I understand the fact you would have liked to have seen a list, which I am working to provide, but the situation at hand is stemming from people stating that an opinion is incorrect. This is why I can’t fathom where you’re coming from.

    But, alas, I still appreciate the comments.

  7. midgetluver Avatar

    wow. i see both sides of this. You wrote an opinionated piece, therefore there is no right or wrong. just agree with it or dont. However, i agree with mike that if i read a rteview on a game to help me decide if i should spend my money on it, and particularly with a music game, i absolutely want to know what songs are on it. And i would find another sight that listed them. Maybe mike should have been a little more diplomatic with his post, and not condescending right off the bat :)

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