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In Rock Band 2, drums are nearly identical in gameplay to the first installment in the series. The first big addition to drums is the addition of drum solo sections. These work pretty much the same as guitar solos in both games, where you are awarded bonus points based on the percentage of notes that you hit during the solo section. Unfortunately, these are rarely seen on the songs in game with the only songs featuring them being "Painkiller", "We Got the Beat", "Spoonman", "Cool For Cats", "E-Pro", and "The Trees". A small change that would actually go unnoticed to people who do not purchase DLC is the fact that some drum charts that had certain notes that seemed to be "broken", are now fixed in RB2. Improvements can be seen in "New Wave", "My Curse" and "Teenage Lobotomy". Unfortunately "Don't Make Me Wait" seems to be just as broken as it was in the original Rock Band, which is too bad because otherwise it would be a very fun chart.


With the new drum kit, we see 5 main changes to the hardware. The first is the fact that the drums are now wireless, and are powered by three AA batteries. The pads have been made quieter, although not near silent, and have more rebound than the old kits. The pads have also been made velocity sensitive, allowing you to use dynamics in fill sections now. The bass pedal has been reinforced with a metal plate. This may prevent breaking the footplate, however the hinge and base are still prone to breaking. There are also ports in the back of the kit to allow for the addition of cymbals, which will be available at a later date, and will produce separate sound samples in both fill sections and freestyle mode.


Compared to Rock Band, there is a noticeable increase in difficulty this time around. Even most songs in the first tier have tricky spots that can make full combos difficult to achieve. The difficulty increase is most noticeable when comparing the last 5 songs in Rock Band 2 to the final tier in Rock Band 1. "Battery" is a true test of stamina, with a chart comparable to the hardest parts of "Blackened" making up most of the song, and some very heavy bass pedal work near the end. "Shoulder To The Plow" has a variety of patterns throughout the song, most of which are quite tricky to learn and hit with any kind of consistency. "Visions" will provide the greatest challenge for players in terms of both passing and trying to achieve a decent score. Most of the song is composed of vigorous blast beats, including some near the end requiring hitting both the red and green pads at a rate of approximately 9.75 notes per second. "Painkiller" provides a good leg workout, although is thankfully not quite as difficult as on real drums, as the double bass work has all been cut in half. "Panic Attack" is hands down one of the most technically complex charts we have ever seen on drums, as well as the longest song in the game. The very beginning of the chart may be difficult for a majority of players, and even after surviving that you must put up with plenty of difficult fills, and some very confusing patterns about half way through the song.


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