We've got a bunch of really good "big" things coming up through the press, but I realised today that nobody has talked about the little things that make Rock Band 2 a really polished and fun experience! So, let's check out some of the small stuff that most reviewers will miss:
New Manual Calibration
Sure, our new autocalibration is great and means that you don't have to do anything to get a perfect number besides "hold up your guitar," but what if you don't want to buy the new Fender Stratocaster? Well, we've made revisions for you too!
There's no more trying to line up a click with a target - just strum when you hear clicks, then strum when the metronome hits the ends, and you'll have an accurate number. It's definitely simpler than Rock Band's system, and it produces far more accurate results, although I still highly recommend autocalibrating since it'll give you a perfect number.
We've completely overhauled Matchmaking to "party safe" the game as well as support some cool things for Online World Tour.
The biggest win is that you can't just mash into a slot and pass matchmaking, or mash out of matchmaking. When you're able to progress, you need to press start to continue past the matchmaking screen. Hitting Green will just help you make a noise to annoy those around you. Plus, if you're mashing back, you'll be required to confirm that you want to leave the session and kick everyone out.
The cooler part of this is that in Online World Tour, people can join your band whenever you're preparing to rock! So, if you're in the Rock Shop and your friend wants to join, you don't have to do anything - they'll just select your band name and instantly join your session, without you having to go back to Matchmaking and send an invite.
Tour Challenge Pausing and Resuming
We'll be talking more about the Tour Challenges incredibly soon, but there's one cool feature that most people will miss when they're playing through the first time.
Say I'm in the middle of a five song set, but I can't finish the third song. Or, even worse, I can finish it but I have to leave the house! Whatever shall I do?!
Well, you can save your progress in the set and come back to it later! You'll be able to tell which sets you're in progress with a subtle finish that we add to those albums:
This also applies to any dynamic challenges, like "The Who Challenge" in this screenshot that exists because of my purchasing of some Who tracks. In this screenshot I've finished the challenge, but if I was to then purchase a new The Who song, this challenge would change to "In Progress" and I'd need to play the new song to finish it again!
In this screenshot, see if you can pick out any of the other Tour Challenge stuff that we'll talk about more later! There's at least two things that you may not have already known.
One of the biggest feature requests we recieved was asking for the ability to assign the people that played on stage with you when you weren't playing in a full band. We've added this to Rock Band 2, and called them "Stand-Ins".
Take this screenshot here. "Bikini Tiny Little Monkeys" is my band that I'm using to play through on Rock Band 2 right now, and I've created a bandmate called "Megan" that I play with. However, I wanted to make another character that is always on vocals, since I don't like it when my vocalist always changes.
So, I created "Carrie," then assigned her as my Stand-in vocalist! Now, whenever I play, both Megan and Carrie are on stage rocking out together! If someone wanted to come and sing with me for real, Carrie would take a back seat to the new band member.
Just a couple of quick things: We now track a Career Score (which is disc only), and a Total Score (which includes DLC).
We also want to encourage as people creating band logos as possible, since they represent your band in modes like Battle of the Bands. What better way than achievement points!
While we're on achievments: Yes, we know that the Tug of War and Score Duel streak achievements are a pain to get. We've drastically changed how we're handling this in Rock Band 2. Maybe we'll be talking about the rest of our achievements very soon somewhere?
Oh, and one more thing: