E3:ROCK BAND 2 WORLD TOUR NEWS
Breaking news: Rock Band 2 plays like Rock Band 1. Ah, but here is the difference; Rock Band 2 adds a new challenge mode to both competitive multiplayer and World Tour. When first described, the idea of adding some challenges doesn’t seem like such a big deal. But the new challenge additions should greatly improve Rock Band 2.
Solo mode has been absorbed into the revamped World Tour. No longer will you be playing through a linear track list only to find yourself stuck on a single song and never able to progress further. You can do the Tour solo or with a band. Either way you will travel from one venue to the next, as with RB1, working to unlock new goodies. But now instead of just playing some songs, you will engage in completing challenges.
The challenge list in World Tour is pretty robust. We saw options that included individual “warm-up” sets for each instrument as well as a warm-up for a band. But on top of this there was a Weezer DLC challenge (because Weezer’s Red Album was in our collection) and genre and decade challenges.
The challenges can be as simple as beating some songs or it can require you to average a certain number of stars or to beat the set list without using overdrive or anything else Harmonix can dream up. This is a great way to integrate DLC into World Tour and should make for a far more stimulating campaign to become rock legends.
Harmonix revealed one other significant change to World Tour. You can now hire up a staff (and have it matter). Your mom is a freebie and is your #1 fan. She doesn’t do much for you (other than ironing your underwear), but she’ll never turn her back on you either. Who you hire outside of your mother affects your influx of fans and/or money.
Remember how in RB1 you could choose to sell out just to earn some extra cash at the expense of your hardcore fans? These one-time events are now rolled into actual people whom you hire. Hiring a street team to pass out fliers is a great way to get more fans, but it will cost you some cash. Or you can hire a marketing manager who will get you more money for every gig, but may turn off some fans.
But enough about World Tour, what about competitive multiplayer? Glad you asked. Battle of the Bands is Harmonix’s big push. It’s not what you are thinking. This isn’t a band head-to-head battle. Instead, just as with World Tour, there will be numerous challenges generated. Harmonix promises to add new challenges every day.
You’ll have score battles, tests to see who can get the longest note streak, or be expected to beat the hardest songs in Rock Band without using overdrive. Not only do the types of challenges change, but also the artists refresh regularly. So one day you may have an “Ace of Spades” guitar streak battle and the next it might be for “Tangled Up in Blue.” There will be challenges for the most hardcore of RB players and softball pitches to novices.
Your band competes in these challenges and has their results uploaded to a leaderboard. If your score gets passed up, you’ll be notified instantly so you can reclaim your spot in history. But time will be limited, as challenges change regularly. The cool thing about this system is that if you get boned on a challenge, you know that the next day will bring another one. That’s a big change from the current leaderboard system where you can no hopes of cracking the top 100 without playing with your band every second of every day.