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Main Menu

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The main menu for RB2 is a rather large improvement from RB1's main menu. Instead of sitting there looking at a bland set of options while "Seven" loops continuously in the background, RB2 players are now treated to a rather attractive main menu with...good songs looping in the background (no offense to Vagiant; I just really don't like that song). The logo of the game sits in front of a moving banner very similar to the banner seen on the top of Rock Band's official forums. To the left of the options is a large...tiger...mythical...thing. Whatever. It has glowing eyes. Kinda creepy, but I guess it fits with the banner. Behind the menu options is a looping clip of what you would normally see in any RB performance. It's a nice touch, and certainly more entertaining than the whole lot of nothing they gave us in RB1's main menu. If you're connected to Xbox Live (and presumably PSN), the "Rock Band" Central will load underneath the Music Store option. The text shown will either be updating you on any new Band challenges that have been released, informing you of any new DLC that has been released, or just simply fun rock trivia related to the day. This option existed in RB1, but only if you went to the Community link, so sadly it was hidden from most of the players. It's definitely a nice touch to the menu and is very helpful. The menu itself is more appealing also, using a grungier text and fading from menu to menu instead of having the main menu always be present and just stacking more things onto the right of it. The menu options are "Quickplay", "Tour", "Training", "Options", "Extras", and "Music Store". Quickplay lets you select Solo Quickplay, Band Quickplay, Tug of War, and Score Duel; Tour lets you select Local Tour or Xbox Live Tour; Training lets you select Tutorials, Practice Mode, or the all-new Drum Trainer mode; Options brings up the standard Gameplay, A/V, and Sound Settings as well as Manage Data options; Extras lets you select Leaderboards, Credits (which are still excessively long...gotta love Harmonix and their ridiculously long credits!), and Modify Game, which is this game's version of a cheat menu; Music Store, when connected online, will bring up a DLC menu where you can purchase downloadable songs. Overall, a great main menu. The only thing I had any trouble finding right away was the Modify Game option, since I presumed it'd be under Options instead of Extras, but that's really the only thing that I found myself having to hunt for.

Quickplay Screen


imageThe moving banner thing is gone! One of my biggest gripes about RB1 was the rather annoying moving menu, though some certainly did like it, I found it difficult to view. RB2's menu replaces this with a set list that greatly resembles how the Music Store is set up: Each song when highlighted shows the album cover of the CD it can be found on, the band name, the CD name, the genre, and year it was released, which is rather fun and convenient when people like myself want to go out and buy the CD the song can be found on. Songs from Rock Band 2 are labeled with a circle with a 2 in it to the left of it songs from the Rock Band 1 Song Transfer are labeled with a circle with a 1, and songs downloaded from the Music Store are labeled with a circle with an arrow. Songs are initially sorted by tier, but by pressing the Back button, can also be sorted alphabetically by title, alphabetically by band, by genre, by era (60's, 70's, etc), and by DLC/RB1/RB2. A nice forethought on Harmonix's part is to be able to skip from section to section. For example, if you wanted to only play downloaded songs, you could sort by RB1/2/DLC, hold the Right Bumper to bring up a menu to select "Downloaded", and when you let go, the setlis will jump to the top of the DLC section. This is also useful if you want to play a specific song but don't know what tier it would be in; simply sort by song name, hold RB to bring up the menu, scroll to the letter the song title starts with, let go of RB, and scroll to the song. One fun random fact worth noting: In solo quickplay, when you scroll through the songs by difficulty, the game will automatically sort by difficulty for your selected instrument, so Tier 1 Vocals songs are under the Warmup section and so forth. If you had a fear that it might be sorted by band difficulty like I did, you need not worry. Another random fun fact: you may notice that most of your RB1 transferred songs have been re-tiered; this is mostly due to the simple fact that RB2 has 7 tiers and RB1 has 9. However, due to some engine differences between the two games (most notably the talky engine on RB2) and some plain wrong tiering, some songs have been shifted just because they were too easy/hard for where their original spot on the setlist indicated ("Flirtin' With Disaster", which used to be a Tier 9 Vocals song, is now Tier 4). Some DLC songs have been re-tiered as well. "Constant Motion" is now a Tier 6 guitar song (while remaining a Tier 7 bass song...hm.) and Tier 2 Vocals.

My personal favorite update to the Quickplay screen is the second option on the menu: (Make a Setlist). Instead of playing a song, backing out to the menu, and picking another song, you can now make a setlist that will function identically to a setlist in Tour. Select however many songs you want to make a setlist of (including the option for Random Song at any time, which I thought was a nice touch), and when you're ready, press Start and play. After your first song ends, it will take you to the screen you see when you play a setlist in Tour, which informs you how far into the setlist you are, your percentage, score, star ranking, and a fun (although completely useless) ranking underneath your percentage. After a few seconds, the next song will start up, and repeat until the end of the setlist. Rather fun for an impatient vocalist such as myself. This isn't to go and say that this list is by any means perfect, however. It is still impossible to figure out how many stars you actually obtained on a song or if you 100%ed a song or not from the quickplay menu, which can make it rather annoying when you're trying to go through and figure out which songs you actually need to work on. However, if you're using such dandy sites as ScoreHero.com, this won't be much of an issue at all. :)

Tour Menus/Rock Shop Menus


imageThe Tour Menu has been slightly changed from RB1. After selecting your band and characters (which, I need to reiterate here: Thank you for realizing instrument-specific characters was a stupid idea and making characters be able to play whatever instruments they want, Harmonix), you are taken to another main menu. This menu has the options of "Continue Tour", "Play Challenge", "Battle of the Bands", "Rock Shop", "Band Profile", and "Leaderboards". All of the menus are pretty straightforward here; each menu takes you to exactly where you want to go. "Continue Tour" still takes you to a world map, where you can hop from each city to each venue to each gig and play songs from there; "Rock Shop" still takes you to a character customization store, where you use the money you have earned from Tour to buy a bunch of clothes and instruments (which, I need to reiterate: Thank you Harmonix for giving vocalists the ability to actually buy some kind of new microphone this time. Putting the option and then just giving us the standard mikes plus whatever we earned in BWT in RB1 was just mean); "Leaderboards" are straightforward, where you can see solo leaderboards per instrument, the top bands by fans or song, or score duel or tug-of-war champions. I would like to point out the "Band Profile" menu, however; this is where you're supposed to go if you want to make your band a logo. If you played Band World Tour a lot in RB1, you probably already knew this, but since making a logo for your band is an achievement and where to do so is a bit hidden in the menu, I felt I should share it with you. Really though, nothing's really hidden here. Everything's pretty much where it's supposed to be.

User Interface


If you're going into RB2 expecting a completely revamped in-game experience...you're going to be sorely let down. From an untrained eye, RB2 and RB1 look the exact same. There are subtle differences, such as solos/tambourine sections being boxed off for increased readability, multipliers for guitar/bass/drums being tilted as to appear they're a part of the fretboard instead of the OD meter, and a couple of nifty background effects, but honestly, most casual players won't notice these. But hey...if it isn't broke, don't fix it, right? Just because it's the same as RB1 doesn't mean that's a bad thing at all. Everything still feels surprisingly clutter-free, even with four separate boards on screen at once, and everything seems to work very well.

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