Today marks the release of Rock Band’s first true expansion, dubbed AC/DC Live: Rock Band Track Pack. This collection of music is entirely comprised from the band’s Live at Donnington show. This includes 18 live tracks, which adds up to over 100 minutes of gameplay (more if you decide to play through on different instruments). I’ve spent the last several days rocking out with the expansion, so it’s time I shared my experiences with you. Hit the jump for my full review of the game.
I recall having mixed emotions upon hearing the announcement for this expansion several months ago. After being disappointed by Guitar Hero: Aerosmith, I was hoping that Harmonix wouldn’t let me down. Let me first explain the shortcomings of the Aerosmith title so you can better understand how these two titles differ.
The Guitar Hero expansion’s biggest issue is that it wasn’t truly an expansion, at least by my definition. It added absolutely nothing to any of the Guitar Hero games, and worked only as a standalone game. This of course meant that if I wanted to play Dream On, I had to take out my GH III disc, and put in this one. Also, despite the fact that it was called Guitar Hero: Aerosmith, there was a lot of music from other bands. Sure, they had some cool motion captures of the band, and little video clips of them here and there, but otherwise there wasn’t anything new.
So what did Harmonix do that set it apart from Activision’s Guitar Hero expansion? First, they started off by only putting in AC/DC tracks, so you don’t have to weed through other bands that you could care less about. Second, they made all of the tracks freely exportable to Rock Band, thus “expanding” the Rock Band title. These two elements are the key factors that I think we should see in any band-related expansion.
The game itself is based off of the original Rock Band, and thus will seem very familiar. There is no character or band creation, so you just jump right into the action. Sure, one might think that it would be nice to create a character and such, but you’re only here for 18 songs, so it’s really not worth the effort. What would have been nice is some cool motion captures of the band, rather than simply playing as a generic band. You can select any of the usual single player or multiplayer options, so long as they are played locally. Lack of online would be disappointing, but most people are just going to export the tracks, so it’s really not necessary. One thing to note is that all of the songs are unlocked for quick play by default, so you can jump in and play any of the tracks right off the bat.
That pretty much wraps it up for general gameplay, which leaves the tracks themselves. Harmonix didn’t go through and handpick which songs would be included. Rather, this is the entire setlist from the Live at Donnington show, start to finish. The order is kept the same, which means that those starting off on guitar will have to tackle that killer intro on Thunderstruck right off the bat. As for the difficulty in general, there are plenty of solos that will give you some trouble when it comes time to 5-star or gold star your tracks. I can’t honestly recall a single song that wasn’t fun to play.
Overall, I’d say that this is a solid title. If you already have Rock Band, I don’t see any reason (aside from a complete disdain for the band) to not pick this one up. You’ll add 18 awesome tracks to your game that you can’t otherwise pick up. Granted, $40 for 18 songs is just a little more than you’d pay for DLC, but it is worth every penny. If you don’t have Rock Band but do have some compatible instruments, then throw down $40 and you’ll be able to rock out to songs from one of the greatest rock bands of all time. I’m going to give AC/DC Live: Rock Band Track Pack a solid 9.5 out of 10.