REVIEW: Rock Band Unplugged

Darkspineslayer’s review of Rock Band: Unplugged

Rock Band: Unplugged

Platforms: PSP

Price: $40

Approximate size difference in the smaller peripherals: 100%

Rock Band Unplugged is Harmonix’s first foray into the world of handheld gaming. and instead of trying to directly compete with there rival on the handheld front where they already have the popular on tour offshoot established, Harmonix tried to do something a bit different.

First, something old….

Rock Band Unplugged is likened to the old PS2 titles Frequency and Amplitude, made by the same developer before they started the Guitar hero series. You play your instrument using the PSPs “Up, Right, Square and triangle”, and yes that includes the singer. you hit notes using said buttons until you nail a short phrase on an instrument. After you do that the instrument will lock into place and play on its own for awhile. now if you know nothing about the game, you might be asking what fun that is…well that fun is the something new

To work in the signature RB feel for unplugged, you’ll not only be playing one instrument, but all 4. you switch between them using the L and R buttons of the PSP and try to keep them from all failing out. Another addictive feature that brings this system to the next level of hysteria is the survival mode. remember when i told you about freezing an instrument after a phrase…well not in survival mode. your task there is to play a whole song on all 4 instruments while keeping all 4 alive when all 4 always have notes going. its easier than it sounds and gets surprisingly addictive.

Despite the game controlling all three instruments the same way, they all still have there subtleties that make them different from the other. For example, on mic the notes will match the general pitch of the singer. On drums you won’t be seeing any sustain notes and bass plays like a tame version of the guitar tracks (go figure).

Something borrowed…

Aside from about 6 timed exclusive songs, all the tracks in RBU are on the Rock band platform already either on one of the disks or DLC for the console versions. keeping true to the RB mentality of always being able to expand your music library, Harmonix is offering DLC for the PSP. As of writing, a lot of the songs are ones you probably already bought on the PS3 or 360 and probably not much here to convince you to pay again to take inside the fire into survival mode. Those familiar with the World Tour mode of RB2 will be greeted with a familiar sight here as well…

Something stew…

The verdict.

Rock Band Unplugged is an excellent effort by Harmonix and even without a mini drum kit, this feels very much like Rock Band, and even through it lacks multiplayer the game is a bit long for a simple rental with about 40 songs. I say its worth your money, but only if your ready to rock! Rhythm game non-believers need not apply.