PSP Review – Rock Band Unplugged


Rhythm games  have become a huge sales force over the past couple of years.  It all began with Guitar Hero, but Rock Band revolutionized the genre by incorporating the entire band into the mix.  Harmonix and Backbone Entertainment decided to make the next iteration of the series a handheld experience.  It’s hard to imagine playing the game without the actual instruments, but the handheld title pulls it off rather nicely.

The gameplay is simple; strike the correct button at the correct time and get points for it.  Continuing to hit the correct buttons will build up a combo.  There is a huge difference here, though; all the instruments must be managed at once.  Using the left and right triggers on the PSP allows the player to shift to different instruments.  These include the standard vocals, guitar, bass, and drums that players have become accustomed to in Rock Band titles.

The controls are great overall.  The various red, yellow, green, and blue buttons are represented by various buttons on the PSP.  Combine that with having to switch between the instruments and even the best Rock Band players will have a challenge with this.


There are a total of 5 different modes available within the game, including the popular Tour mode that allows players to create a band and fully customize it down to even the logo and the individual band members.  Other modes include Quickplay, Training, Band Survival Mode, and Warmup Mode.  Within the settings, the difficulty can be modified, and players can set up the game to play only one instrument or have no failures within the game.

With the launch of the PSPgo came another version of Rock Band Unplugged.  This version was known as Rock Band Unplugged Lite, which has caused some confusion as to whether or not it is a full fledged title or not.  This is the full Rock Band Unplugged title,  but it only comes with a total of five songs.  The rest of the songs, including the downloadable content, can be bought via the PlayStation Network.  This fully allows players to customize the setlist for a custom Rock Band experience.  The UMD version of Rockband Unplugged features a total of over 40 songs initially.  Of course, there is downloadable content for this version as well.  The Lite version was available in limited quantities to initial PSPgo launch owners.  It came as a free voucher that was included in the packaging of the PSPgo system.


The music selection of the game is pretty impressive, with 90 available downloadable songs through the Music Store. Players with a wi-fi connection can simply access the store via the main menu and make the purchases they want.  The prices of the individual songs is rather high though, at $1.99 a song, and you can only hear the songs within the game.  The option of using MP3 format songs within the game should’ve been included, as this would’ve expanded the value of the title immensely.  Both of these things take a lot away from the title.

Overall this is a great purchase for those looking to get their music genre fix for on the go gaming. The only drawbacks are the downloadable content pricing and the lack of MP3 support.  But those two things aside, the game is great.  The amount of customizations available is impressive for a handheld.  The difficulty is enough to make one want to come back for more to get that 5 star rating on a song.  Simply put, music-loving PSP owners need to buy this game.

PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score

A great addition to any PSP library, especially for music fans

Pulled off surprisingly well despite lack of instruments

Keep expanding the games music library by purchasing additional songs via the PlayStation Store

8 out of 10