AC/DC Live is a standalone version of Rock Band which is being sold for around the 25 quid mark and it contains 18 tracks from AC/DC’s Live at Donington album. This is effectively a track pack and was marketed as such in the USA a while ago. You are able to import all your music into your Rock Band Library with an included code.
This should actually be the first thing you do if you own Rock Band 2 as the software is openly crippled, which is quite appalling. There is no ability to access the Rock Band shop or play any of your other downloadable content and there is no character editors which means you are stuck using whatever random character the game decides to create for you.
This, fellow readers is one of the glaring flaws with the game … you buy an AC/DC Rock Band game to actually see and become the band members, right? This was part of the enjoyment with the Aerosmith Guitar Hero game. You watched as Steven Tyler and Joe Perry pranced around the stage, just like they do in concert. AC/DC Live: Rock Band at the end of the day is just a stripped down playlist containing some live tracks played by nameless faces and generated characters.
To make matters worse, there is no online play and no real tour mode. So while before you toured the world on the road to fame, this time it is just a slow ascension of the set list, a single song at a time no matter if you are in solo or band mode. That said, outside of the game modes, all eighteen tracks are available in Quickplay making the normal mode somewhat redundant.
Tour mode on the set list leads way to another problem … the difficulty curve is all over the place. Obviously when AC/DC play a live show they don’t all sit down and chat about playing the easiest songs in their catalogue first but in game play reality there are spikes and dips galore which means sometimes they can catch you out. The opening track “Thunderstruck” for instance will be very tricky for a newbie and the most difficult track “Let There Be Rock” comes a few from the end. The closing track “Highway To Hell” is surprisingly easy for instance which means the game ends on a relatively simplified track.
So for diehand hard AD/DC fans what is there on offer? Basically its an album length track pack for twice what you would pay if it was available to download via the store. You don’t get extra content like we have been promised in Guitar Hero: Metallica for instance.
Unfortunately when all is said and done, even with a bunch of drunken friends in the confines of a house littered with pizza and beer, the game becomes boring, rather quick. This has nothing to do with AC/DC, because as we all know they are an ideal band for a game like this, but without Angus Young parading about the screen in his school boy shorts, it is a little lacking visually. The crux of the problem is that AC/DC are a band of riffs and tasty little solos, but for everyone else, its nothing out of the ordinary. The bass lines are nothing exciting and the drums are pretty straightforward plodding beats. This is no test for Neal Peart wannabes.
Another issue with the live material is that for even fans of the band, unless you have heard the material beforehand then the solos and mid sections can expand massively on the originals with epic 5 minute guitar solos and posturing galore. Vocals are also tricky because as any fan of the band knows, Brian Johnson has a hell of a set of lungs.
So while there are some fantastic party moments with friends and the overall experience can be a laugh after a couple of beers the overall impression is one that is sadly lacking. It becomes monotonous and this will really only appeal to die hard fans of the band who want to rock out in the comfort of their house to live tracks. Moderate fans of the band or even admirers of Angus Young might want to wait until it hits the bargain bins at around £10-£15. Hell it might even hit the Rock Band store later this year if current sales are anything to go by.
At the end of the day its a fun romp with a few kegs of beers and a couple of friends, but its overpriced, a little mundane and one to perhaps schedule in for a rental over the weekend.