Experience: First off, let me say I'm a huge fan of AC/DC. Ever since the 1st Guitar Hero game came out, I wished that they would include an AC/DCsong or two, but alas, my wishes remained unheard. After many more Guitar Hero games, not to mention the first Rock Band with it's constant flow of downloadable content, all of which failed to include even one AC/DC song, I pretty much accepted the fact the band would never be playable on a guitar controller... Until it was announced that they got their own version of Rock Band! I was ecstatic... Until I played it. Don't get me wrong; it's a great game, except...
Now, you might be asking yourself "Why would anybody be rating Rock Band for it's story?" Simple. Because before this game was even announced, Activision released Guitar Hero Aerosmith. This title offered over 20 Aerosmith songs, both popular and lesser known, a compliment of tracks from bands who have performed with Steven Tyler & co. Over the years, venues that reflect key moments in Aerosmith's history, interviews with the band and their custom instruments (as well as they themselves) as unlockable items within the game.
Sadly, AC/DC Rock Band includes none of that. No interviews, no in-game characters who look like AC/DC, no cherry red Gibson SG, no custom venues, nothing. Especially when you see the effort and detail put into Beatles Rock Band, any fan of AC/DC will feel cheated. To top it all off, there are only 18 songs. That's all. 18. Playing them all in a row will only take less than 2 hours, load times included. It's a fun (roughly) 100 minutes to be sure, but when compared to other band-specific music titles, this one does not fare too well. (3 / 10)
My grievances about AC/DC not appearing AT ALL in AC/DC Rock Band aside, the graphics are very good. Character models are lively, detailed and expressive, although you may be paying too much attention to the note charts than the characters if you're playing. The notes themselves are clear and accurate with everything glowing with more beauty when Overdrive Mode is activated. Everything else is aesthetically pleasing without being too over-the-top by trying to use graphical muscle that pushes the system's limits. (8 / 10)
What can I say? It's AC freakin' DC! If you're a fan (like me), that's all you need to hear. Sure, every song is live, but who cares? They put on amazing live performances. Every song from "Back In Black" to "Moneytalks" all sound great. The only way to find fault is if you do not like AC/DC, which would only beg the question: Why are you reading this? (10 / 10)
Now, there are a great many who would disagree with me, but I personally prefer Guitar Hero's controls over Rock Band's. The guitar and bass controls feel tighter and more responsive in GH, and the 2nd cymbal on the GH drumset give the respective game's note charts a fuller, slightly more realistic feel in it's patterns. Plus, I like the way Star Power is activated on the drums and microphone more in Guitar Hero, giving you control of it's activation rather waiting for a set moment to occur as it does in Rock Band.
All comparisons aside, everything works the way it should. Guitar and bass both control just how they should, as does the drums, even if they are a bit too loud acoustically. My only real complaints would fall with the lack of standard cymbals for the drumset and with the vocals. Try as I might, I found no ease in getting the game to register the vox, even on the easy difficulty. Not that I am the greatest singer in the world, or my house, for that matter, but better singers than I, one of whom graduated from the Berklee College of Music, could not seem to make the vocal parts work right at all. In short, my friends and I have only ever sang when we had a full band going so we could save the singer. (7 / 10)
So how does everything come together? Quite well, I must say. The note maps for each song fit well with their respective instruments, even when compared with how they're played on the real things. The harder difficulties don't rely on cheap tactics such as unrealistic finger positions (*cough*GuitarHero3*cough*) to achieve their challenge, making losses feel justified and victories feel that much sweeter. As much fun as the game is alone, multiplayer brings out the best in AC/DC Rock Band. Everything from point boosts for simultaneous note streaks to the epic "Big Rock Endings" to saving a fallen band member all combine to make a fun multiplayer experience for anyone of any skill level. Nothing about this breaks the mold that previous Rock Band titles have set, but I'm a firm believer in the phrase "If it ain't broke, don't fix it".
But, as previously mentioned, I'm not a fan of how Overdrive Mode is activated for drums or mic, both of which require you to wait for a specific moment in the note chart rather than activating it at leisure. It is by no means a dealbreaker, however, as it does not detract from the overall fun to be had. (8 / 10) // 7
Extras: Sadly, combining one of the greatest rock bands ever with one of the greatest music games ever didn't make for an incredibly deep experience. There is little-to-nothing to unlock, no leaderboards, no downloadable content and no online play. As I mentioned before, the band isn't even in the game! It does nothing to add anything new to the overall Rock Band experience. To end on a positive note: it works and is available on 4 different home consoles. // 2
Overall Impression: At the end of the day, "AC/DC Rock Band: Live Track Pack" is a very good addition to owners of other Rock Band titles who happen to be fans of AC/DC. For everyone else, it doesn't really hold up to other band-exclusive music game titles due to an apparent lack of depth and commitment from one or more of the developers. It's too bad, because a music game based on one of the most influential hard rock acts of all time has so much potential... // 7