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Rock Band Reloaded

For:   Also on: iPhoneMobileiPad
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On the road again

Product: Rock Band Reloaded | Developer: EA Mobile | Publisher: EA Mobile | Format: iPhone | Genre: Music/ Rhythm | Players: 1-4 | File size: 155.0MB | Version: US | App version: 1.0.0
Rock Band Reloaded iPhone, thumbnail 1
When it comes to music games, the only crashing sound should come from cymbals and not the game itself.

Rock Band Reloaded has all the right features - microphone support for vocals, the addition of a no fail mode, split-screen play on iPad - yet botched Facebook integration ruins the show.

It's a fumble that can be forgiven in light of a rocking feature set, even if other issues pertaining to the soundtrack and lack of avatar customisation disappoint.

Sotto voce

At its core, Rock Band Reloaded delivers solid, albeit familiar rhythmic gameplay. Playing guitar, bass, and drums means tapping coloured pads on the screen as square notes scroll into the foreground.

New screen layouts are offered, particularly on iPad where you're allowed to adjust the placement of the note track and use a larger, full screen drum set.

A new vocals mechanic is the most significant addition. While you can opt to tap out vocals as they scroll horizontal across the screen, you're free to ditch it favour of actually singing into a microphone.

The game tracks only your tone and not full singing, making it possible to fool it by humming, but it's still a huge improvement over the lame tap-to-sing setup.

New songs, venues, and a no fail option have also been added. The latter is a particularly welcome feature if you just want to play around with songs, rather than follow the note track.

Facebook disconnect

Facebook integration provides a new social feature, although the integration is shoddy. Logging into your account brings the game to an absolute stand still, frequently resulting in crashes to the home screen. Even when quitting the game and restarting your device, connecting to Facebook causes it to crash.

It's unfortunate because many of the promised features sound interesting and could add value to the game. Perhaps offering similar features through Game Center, OpenFeint, or even private EA servers would work better.

Functioning social networking features would boost the game's value, although there are other concerns with Rock Band Reloaded, namely the track selection and lacking character customisation.

Right track, wrong track

As is the case with all music games, the quality of the soundtrack is a matter of taste. There's an unusual mix intended to appeal to a wide audience - however, what this does is limit the number of songs you might enjoy. Duran Duran is in here with Nine Inch Nails and Beastie Boys.

It's no better or worse than other music games - why not allow you to choose which songs are used in World Tour mode or provide vouchers to download the songs you like?

Thankfully, EA Mobile is working hard to make additional tracks available for download, many of which are free. For premium in-app purchases, you're given two tracks for a reasonable 59p / 99c.

Less of a concern, though critical to the game's replay value, is the inability to unlock items with which to customise your band. Personalising your instruments and dressing your group in cool new clothes won by completing tour sets would add a layer of depth. To be fair, there's a slate of achievements to entice replay.

In the end, Rock Band Reloaded is a solid game that does more right than wrong. The trouble is that the few things that it does get wrong are significant enough to keep it from being a breakout hit.
Rock Band Reloaded
Reviewer photo
Tracy Erickson | 8 December 2010
Rock Band Reloaded lays out a nice set of features and satisfying gameplay, despite fumbling Facebook integration
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