By Curtis Amisich
Last year Harmonix’s Rock Band amazed Xbox and Playstation owners with its multiplayer, replay factor, and yes, even its karaoke. This year, Wii owners finally got their chance to have the requisite rock band party.
Rock Band for the Wii was basically a carbon copy of the PS2 version but with a few extras. One of the extras is “5 exclusive Wii tracks.” Since Rock Band’s Wii release those “Wii exclusives” have shown up as downloadable content for the Xbox 360. False advertising it might have been, but this writer thinks it’s a good thing that Xbox owners can jam along with Sting and rest of The Police to “Roxanne.”
The Wii does not have a large hard disk, however, so downloadable content is extremely limited. As such, Harmonix has just released the first volume of its Track Pack. Included is a disk, which can only be played as an entirely separate game from the original Rock Band, which makes it a real pain in the ass if you feel so inclined to play songs from both versions. My second gripe with the game was the price: $29.99 at EBGames for only 20 songs seemed way overpriced. However, once I compared the price to that of a 24 case of Labatt and the hours of enjoyment my three friends and I would get out of it, it became much more reasonable. The “band tour” took only a couple of hours to get through (it is the exact same format as in the original game, just shorter), but it was some of the most memorable and memory-jogging times I have had playing one of these musically based games. The song list was excellent for what, at first glance, seemed be a random selection. The song selection is great if you, like me, were a child of the late ’80s and ’90s. The list is a veritable buffet of old school rock tunes, familiar grunge, and some new school emo that I would have never otherwise been exposed to.
Perhaps more Track Packs directed at specific audiences would be appropriate in the future and would be able to please the hardcore audiophiles who enjoy the game, but for the average Rock Band groupie Track Pack Volume 1’s smorgasbord hits all the right spots.