Today is the last day in January, and not only does tomorrow bring a new month, but also the Rock Band Country Track Pack 2. The 21 on-disc songs range from older country mainstays such as Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard, to newer crossover acts like Lady Antebellum and Sugarland. I had a chance to give it a solid playthrough on guitar over the past week, and as someone who rarely enjoys country music, I was shocked at how much I ended up actually enjoying this disc.
Even though Rock Band 3 has been available for a number of months now, this Rock Band track pack follows in the footsteps of its predecessors in that it is built upon the original Rock Band format. While there is a very mild sense of nostalgia upon firing it up, it makes me appreciate the innovations and feature changes in Rock Band 3 that much more. And just so people are not confused, this means that this track pack only utilizes the original four instrument peripheral setup (i.e. no keyboards). Harmonix has already confirmed that vocal harmonies and Pro drums are available upon export, but I haven’t yet had time to export the songs via the included code into Rock Band 3. They also mentioned that they do not have plans to release “RB3 versions” of these songs when they are ultimately released as DLC, similar to previous track pack exclusive songs.
I made an attempt at unlocking a number of the solo achievements in a single go at it. I took a break about halfway through the setlist. The only song I was familiar with going into the game was Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire,” and I have a feeling I may not be alone in that respect. I have to admit that country music is typically one of my least favorite music genres to listen to, however I have to admit that the songs packed on to this disc are pretty fun. While the note charting is pretty fun, I do have to admit that I laughed at some of the stereotypical country music lyrics included in the song choices. As an aside, can’t any country music songs be written about anything besides whiskey, pick-up trucks, and “my old lady?”
I played through the solo tour mode on guitar, and had very little difficulty until the final tier. I was expecting the songs in the final tier to be pretty challenging, and while they were no pushovers, there was only one song that required my lackluster alt-strumming skills. For the most part, the hardest part of the final tier guitar songs is the festival of HOPOs that are thrown at you, and I have to admit that they are VERY fun to play. If you are like me and still working at unlocking the “HOPO-cidal Maniac” achievement in Rock Band 3, playing these songs after exporting them to your library should help you quite a bit.
While the note charting may be very fun, it is not without its rare questionable exceptions, such as the charting of the horn section in “Ring of Fire” to the guitar. I understand why decisions like this are made, but I guess my feeling on the matter is that, double bass charting aside, Rock Band is more about the authenticity of the charting. If an instrument peripheral such as a horn section or harmonica does not exist, my preference would be to see these instruments charted to keys (if it works), or leave it out entirely.
There are those that are surprised when I tell them that I don’t pick up all the DLC that is released. Part of it is due to the monetary expense, and part of it is due my musical tastes and preferences, but the biggest part is that I don’t have as much time as I used to to play Rock Band, so I don’t need a full library of 2,000+ songs. While this is not a disc that I would have rushed to the store tomorrow to buy, I’m very glad that I had a chance to play it. In fact, I may go searching for the original Country Track Pack disc that I had originally passed on!
If you are a fan of country music in the slightest, I highly recommend this track pack. If you make your DLC purchasing decisions based on the vareity and quality of the note charting, even if you are like me and do not particularly care for country music, I still recommend you give this one a shot. You can find the Rock Band Country Track Pack 2 on retail store shelves tomorrow, as well as for pre-order through online outlets right now, for $29.99. Or, if giveaways are your thing, you may want to enter to win a copy!
Big thanks to Steph at Harmonix for sending me a review and contest giveaway copies for the site!