in Review

Rock Out with Your PSP Out

Rock Band Unplugged

Harmonix is one of my favorite video game developers because, in a way, they are not trying to be video game developers. They started out trying to find a way to bring the experience of making music to people who don’t play instruments or sing, and before really striking a chord in the hearts of millions with Guitar Hero, they released two great games called Frequency and Amplitude. They have returned to that original concept with their newest game, Rock Band Unplugged for the PSP.

Like those two games, Unplugged tasks the player with activating multiple instruments, Rock Band‘s signature drums, vocals, guitar and bass. This is done by perfectly playing a section of the track, which activates the instrument for a little while, so you can address the other three. The controls are very precise, and the songs are tabbed well, although it can be occasionally difficult to find the tempo when switching between tracks.

Unplugged offers the standard World Tour mode as its main way to play, and sadly it just doesn’t work as well in this setting. The game is entirely single player, and having to play the same tracks over and over gets old, especially with some tracks that have been around in these games for ever, like “Carry on my Wayward Son.” In fact, far too much of the track list is recycled for people like me, who still play Rock Band 2 every week. There are like ten new songs in the game, which are great, I just wish there was more. There is DLC too, but it’s priced the same as console DLC, and I can’t bring myself to spend my money like that.

But that’s not to say this game isn’t fun. This is a lot a fun, and even playing the old songs the first few times is a pretty great experience. You just get worn out. There’s little motivation to keep playing too, since the character customization is pretty limited. But if you’re in the mood, this can be a blast. Just consider getting something like DJMAX or Ouendan first.


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