Rock Band: Unplugged Review

rock-band-unplugged-ss-02 Oh Harmonix.  Will you ever forgive me for doubting your abilities as a developer of awesome games.  I was wrong baby.. I didn’t mean to hurt you.  Do I have to sleep on the couch again?

When I first heard there was going to be a Rock Band on the PSP, I instantly got horrific like flashes of a world where Harmonix has turned into Activision..  and Harmivison was raping the Rock Band franchise.  I cried a little. How was Harmonix going to possibly do Rock Band any justice if there are no plastic instruments?.  that’s not right!

But once I heard it was going to be like Frequency.. I felt more at ease, and that nightmares ended… well, at least the ones about harmivision.  I still dream about Giant crabs with penny loafers smoking a Slimjim like a cigar. (what does that nightmare mean?!)


For those that have not played Frequency (or IT’S sequel Amplitude.) here is the run down.  You control each track of a song, the Guitar, Drums, Vocals and Bass.

as you can see from the picture, it looks alot like rock band.  you hit the notes using the directional pad (Left and Up) and the face buttons (Triangle and Circle.).  If you hit all the notes in a given section, which lasts anywhere from 5 notes to 30 notes usually, then the track plays by itself for a short amount of time, allowing you to jump to another track with the shoulder buttons and continue the song.  once you hit all the notes and move on, the next track you jump to will have an arrow and multiplier indicator to guide you, and obviously, tell you what your multiplier is gonna be now.  which goes up to 8x now, or 11x if your using your power.


Just like the later levels of Frequency.  This game is unforgiving, You need to be quick, there aren’t really any spots you get to rest at.  Since I had played Freq through before I jumped right in on Expert and… failed.  only a couple times, I got the hang of it again.  it actually feels easier than frequency was.  Not saying it’s a push over, not by any means.  if your great at Rock Band, you may get kicked in the nuts here a couple times again you get the hang of the buttons and switching from track to track.

The track list has a hefty case of Deja Vu.  Pulling from both Rock Band 1 and 2 and not really having enough of it’s own tracks.  There are a few, but I would have liked to have seen a totally fresh list with a nice handfuls size amount of older songs from the other games, not vice verse.  Aside from that it’s still a blast to play and the inclusion of the Music Store is just awesome, was a little worried it wouldn’t make it in, seeing as though the original game didn’t get a music store for PS2 or Wii, even though, technically, they both could have.  another grip I have is having to re-buy songs.. if I could link this with the stuff I’ve already bought on the 360, that would be a huge thumbs up.  right now, I almost feel a little ripped off.  Almost.

If you’ve played Rock Band, it’s pretty close to that in terms of progression, you make a guy, or in this case, a Band, you can customize each member.  get a name, logo and head off around the world hiring staff and playing gigs.  There’s really no deviation from what they already did with the home systems.


Can’t really say too much here.  I mean, graphically it looks nice, glad the PSP screen doesn’t ghost alot, that would suck.  looks very similar to the other Rock Bands, so that’s good.  Character animations aren’t dynamic and are scripted so, thats a letdown, I guess… you know? that doesn’t really matter since your so focused on the note charts.  which look good and speed along at a steady frame rate for the most part, there is a little slow down during Power and such, nothing that is going to throw you off though.  In all it looks good.


Ok, this is important.  If the songs are compressed too much, sound off pitch, don’t have enough range, etc.  Then it could ruin the game.  Thankfully the PSP has plenty of space on it’s UMD for music.  each track sounds great, no real sign of compression or audio glitching at all.  Tracks match up very well with the notes and how your suppose to hit them.  Headphones are very useful with this game as the built-in speakers don’t do it alot of justice, and sometimes can be hard to play if there is a lot of noise in the room.

Final Thoughts–

I really did look down upon Rock Band Unplugged until I found out what it was about.

I guess Activison just left a bad taste in my mouth, I really liked Gh3.  But then Rock Band came out, and I haven’t looked back since, I rented World Tour, but was so annoyed by it’s issues (no saving band members, HUD placements, too many notes just for the sake of making it “hard”)

So when I saw Harmonix was making another Rock Band for PSP, I rolled my eyes and thought “Milking it!”.  But after playing it.  A LOT.  I feel safe in saying that’s not the case.  charging me again for tracks I already bought feels crappy.  But this really isn’t a typical “rock band”.  it’s more frantic. Like Freq and Amplitude was.

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Final Score: 8.9

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