|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Plato||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Ubisoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 20, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Another big problem is you have to play through the single-player mode to unlock most of the extra goodies that you'll want to play around with in the Free Play mode. There are lots of guitar effects to use, multiple styles of guitar to play, and other nice extras that anyone seeking to make their own music or fiddle around with the Free Play mode will want access to right off the bat. While unlockables do provide some incentive to check out the solo mode, forcing players to trudge through the game before they can even access the full range of effects and instruments is pretty tedious. The gameplay is definitely fun and surprisingly challenging, but not everyone will want to bother with it. It's too bad they don't have a choice.
The visual presentation in Jam Sessions 2 is quite different from its predecessor, for better or worse. The art style definitely has a cartoonish, hand-drawn punk rock look that fits nicely in most areas of the game. It looks a little cheap during the Song Book mode, but it works well elsewhere. Audio-wise, the guitar sounds are definitely improved over Jam Sessions' more limited scope. Being able to switch between an acoustic and electric guitar sound is also a welcome addition.
In trying to be a Jack-of-all-trades Jam Sessions 2 loses some of the focus and mastery of its core element as a musical tool. That's probably a fair concession for players who've been looking for something more game-like in the package. This sequel could have been an opportunity to build much more heavily on the successes of the first game. Instead, it adds a little here and there and expands into slightly different territory to appeal to a broader audience. Even so, it still manages to be an enjoyable experience.
CCC Staff Contributor