Harmonix announced Rock Band 2 about two weeks ago, but information about it has been very thin on the ground until today at E3, when it announced the complete set list. It’s one hell of a list, too: 75 tracks, all of them master tracks (no covers!), with 9 indie bonus tracks, spanning a huge range of tastes. There’s simply too many highlights in there to bother mentioning them, so check the list and see for yourself.
Other awesomeness confirmed for Rock Band 2 so far includes:
* new guitar and drum instruments which are apparently much improved — they’re all wireless now, and the guitar includes a light sensor and microphone that’s used to automagically determine the AV lag on your system
* if you have a spare US$300, you can a real Ion electronic drum kit that works as a drum controller
* DLC from Rock Band 1 will work seamlessly with 2
* if you have the Rock Band 1 disc, you can copy most of its songs in to Rock Band 2, probably for a nominal fee (I’ve heard “less than $5” mentioned)
* new game modes, including a Battle of the Bands mode, and a drum trainer mode that effectively teaches you how to play the drums
Of course, it’s all still compatible with Rock Band 1 instruments, and Guitar Hero instruments on the 360, so Harmonix is basically being as totally super-awesome as they can be, in stark contrast to Activision/Red Octane’s monopolistic bullshit. One thing Rock Band 2 lacks, which Guitar Hero World Tour is promising, is and editor that lets you create your own music, but to be honest I’ll be surprised if Neversoft manage anything genuinely usable in that regard — no-one wants to rock out to canned guitar sounds arranged MIDI-style.
The major unknown is whether or not this will see any kind of local release, given the delays that have plagued Rock Band 1. I’m not expecting it until some time next year, but I’m hopeful that it will happen. If not, I’ll just have to import a set of drums, and hope that it’s at least released in the UK sooner rather than later, so I can import the disc from there.