reviewed on PSP
Content and modes (cont.)
Once you start up a band and enter the World Tour you'll be in familiar territory. You have mystery set lists, make a set list and various sponsored set lists that have various amounts of tracks. You can select your difficulty (Easy through Expert), but not your instrument and I really wish Backbone would have kept the game the way it was before with just one instrument track.
When you are actually playing a song you are rated on how well you did with up to five stars and a score multiplier. Landing notes will increase this multiplier up to 8x (if you activate Overdrive) until you miss a note when it goes back down to zero. Once the song is over you see your percentage of notes hit for each instrument along with how many phrases you played, attempted or failed. Eventually you'll unlock managers you can hire to change attributes of your play style that will earn you more cash, fans or get you gigs you couldn't do otherwise. You unlock songs by earning a certain amount of cash, fans, and stars. In the beginning this can be difficult since you have to get almost perfect scores on every song to start unlocking more gigs.
Sometimes before you star a gig a screen will come up and ask you if you want to gamble with your gig (in a sense) by getting 4 stars or more you can get quadruple the cash or nothing at all, if you get 5 stars we'll double your fans and all that. It's fun and all, but we've seen this before guys!
The World Tour seems to be the meat of the game and it's nothing new or original - just the same old stuff we've seen from previous entries in the series, and this is a bit disappointing since it makes you feel like you're just playing a rushed port.
There is also downloadable content available (as I write this) for people looking for more than what's on the disc. Currently there are 10 songs available (assuming this is an experiment from EA) for $1.99 each from the PlayStation Store. They are great songs (Disturbed-Inside the Fire, Paramore-Crushcrushcrush), so this is a great way to keep Unplugged alive and kicking.
Graphics and sound
Since this is a band game how does it sound? Very good actually, as the songs are MP3 quality thanks to the UMD's 1.8GB storage capacity, and the PSP's memory size. There are 41 songs on the disc, featuring The Jackson 5, Lacuna Coil, Pearl Jam, Bon Jovi, Boston, Tenacious D, The Police and a ton more. Most of these songs (again another disappointment) are from previous Rock Band games, but these seem to be the best of them and almost feels like a "Rock Band: Greatest Hits".
However, when it comes to the actual ambiance, the game fails. Crowd noise sounds like static, the menu noises sound muffled and very monotone - almost like you were playing a DS (Ha! Take that Nintendo!) and really makes the experience kind of dull aside from the music.
If you want to talk about graphics you should cover your eyes and run away because the game looks kind of ugly. The characters don't have the realistic animations like the console versions, or the detailed textured, or the nice lighting effects. Everything looks flat, plain and really dull. The characters use the same retarded animation over and over again and it makes you wonder if the game is really a 3rd party creation. I realize the PSP has limited hardware, but c'mon they can do more than that; Kratos was able to!
While the menus look nice and crisp and remind you of Rock Band 2, I still wish there was more to the graphics and sound of the game. This is a real disappointment for me, but what saves the graphics department is that you don't really look at the characters. Your main focus are the tracks and the notes, which look crisp and clear.
Rock Band: Unplugged is a great departure for the series on to the portable scene. With 41 songs on disc, great controls, downloadable songs and an extensive World Tour mode there are a lot of reasons to come back to Unplugged again and again.
Don't let the bad sides - such as mediocre graphics, poor ambiance, awkward gameplay and the wee bit shallow selection of modes - bother you: Unplugged is probably the best portable rhythm game ever made and it doesn't even need a guitar hand grip.
No Pros and Cons at this time