Several weeks ago we reviewed Rock Band 2 and were only able to experience it with the 1st generation drum kit and guitars. However as an update to that review we recently got a chance to try out the 2nd generation drum kit and guitar. Would they be more impressive and intuitive this time around? We were about to find out.
The Fender Stratocaster is once again the guitar of choice for Rock Band 2. What is different this time around is that it’s now wireless, it has a body that resembles a nice wood cherry finish, it also sports quieter buttons, a less squishy strum bar, and is overall just a more sturdier and well made ‘guitar’. The wireless aspect is especially the best part for me. I can wander anywhere with the guitar around my living room and not get tangled in cords and the freedom it allowed me as far with play is wonderful.
There is nothing difficult to get the guitar up and running. You just have to pop in the included “AA’ batteries and then press connect on the front of the X-Box 360. In seconds the guitar links to the X-Box 360. The strum bar is indeed less squishy this time around and the buttons are easier to tap and also quieter. The overdrive buttons are also more accessible too. The best part is the gameplay experience. The guitar is much more intuitive and I actually was hitting notes and not missing them knowing that I DID press the fret. If you have the old guitar – chuck it out the window and replace it with this one. You won’t be disappointed.
Ah, yes the drums…. what made Rock Band what it is today. Well the improvements are not much but they are enough to make it worthwhile to upgrade. First of all it’s wireless just like the guitar which is the best thing that could possibly happen. No adapters or any other nonsense – that also means less tangled wires running around your living room. You are free to put your drum kit anywhere you feel most comfortable and pound away. The drum heads are also improved and your neighbors will thank you for that. It’s much quieter upon impact from those wooden drumsticks, which now sport Rock Band 2 and Ludwig logos.
You can still pound pretty hard on the drums and it does still get pretty loud but it’s overall an improvement. The whole set is sturdier and less wobbly than before, so that seems to help reduce noise levels – particularly if you have someone living below you. The kick pedal is also easier to stomp on and has a metal engraved plate. The best part is that you can attach a cymbal or hi-hat to the kit to make it really authentic looking, which is something I’m personally excited about. Overall, the drum kit feels more responsive with the game and it is actually easier to play this time around – whether you pound or lightly tap you will hit the targets.
So there you have it – Rock Band 2 has not only improved its gameplay but the quality of its instruments as well. If you have the spare cash, I would absolutely think about upgrading your drum kit. The wireless factor and expandability is a huge feature alone. The drum kit retails for $89.99 and the wireless guitar retails for $69.99.
The Good: Great upgrades to both devices. Both instruments are made better and making them wireless this time around was definitely a plus.
The Bad: The frets on the guitar are still a little too soft for my liking and if you hit the drum heads hard they are still pretty loud.