"Good fun, but be patient with children..."3.5 starson by TitanJamie
Pros: When you learn the basics of the instruments, you'll find yourself 'getting into' character while playing. A strong sense of accomplishment when the group finishes a song (especially with children). Fun every time you play.
Cons: Learning curve is steep for children, or those who have never played an instrument. Drum kit is difficult to get on time with (more later), and moves easily on smooth floors.
Summary: We bought this product, and an additional Rock Band guitar for our 10-year-old girl as it was on her Christmas list. My wife comes from a musically-inclined family, and I have played instruments since age 10 (33 now), and currently play real drums as often as possible. Our girls had played Rock Band 2 at a friends' birthday party, and immedialy fell in love with it, trying to get us to buy it the next day. I was anxious for Christmas to come as much as my 10-yr-old.
When I finally had everything assembled and set up, we tried to play as a band on an easy song. EVERYONE was frustrated by the end of the song. Everyone means me, my wife, and our eight- and ten-year-old girls. One girl didn't even want to play again. Period. I thought the drums were waaay off, and the other girl had no clue what to do. My wife 'sang' the vocals, but still failed even though she was reading the lyrics.
Two days later: after a few hours with calibration, practicing the drum beats, and going through all of the guitar and drum tutorials we've gotten this far: The ten-year-old and I played yesterday for over three hours, and she only failed the first song,...progressively getting to the point where she had over 85% on almost every song she played!!! She played bass, and I played guitar....formed our own band,....went on tour,.....bought clothes and instruments.... far different experience from the first time.
As of this writing, I prefer the guitar or bass over the drums or singing. It's fun. Pure, real fun. Once you've played eight or 10 songs, and do fairly well, you become eager to play more. The guitar is realtively easy to play- does take some adjustment (just like anything else new) but once you get comfortable it becomes difficult to put down!!!
I do see myself giving the drums a few more chances, but, have to admit, the delay (which can be calibrated) seems to be pretty far off. As does the sensitivity of the heads...I tried a few of the basic rhythms, and KNEW I was playing correctly, but the game continued to show my beats being 'off'. I'm figuring more practice and a bit of adjustment from the real thing is all it will take before I put the guitar down and primarily play drums.
For those pondering the purchase of Rock Band 2:
1) If you're planning on playing with family realize the learning curve is steep, but everyone will get it with practice- as long as they're willing to keep trying.
2) Plan to get addicted once two people start getting better. Seriously.
3) Invest in a stand for the guitars.