"Welcome Improvements, + new features make this a hit!"4.5 starson by troyoverton
Pros: I love the expanded setlist, and the ability to rock out with or against online players, better hardware, and the ability to import the titles you already own for the original.
Cons: Some players will take the GAME too seriously.
Summary: Harmonix and Co. did a fine job riding the line between making improvements, and keeping the game familiar to the crowded fanbase. No matter what kind of music that you listen to, there's a good shot at having a classic favorite in the mix somewhere. Its a fun casual player, and the drums (and drum trainer) can help give kids some basic skills if they want to try out drumming. There may be no vocal coach, but if you have friends over... you'll soon figure out who has no business with the mic.
As a musician and DJ, I really like the fact that we can incorporate game technology to promote an art with kids. I realize that the techniques used in gameplay may not resemble the actual instrument technique, but its a step to encourage kids (and big kids like me) to participate. It promotes the acts that contribute their music to the game, as I have found a few new groups to check out as a result. Overall, I just really appreciate the genre for putting music appreciation in the minds of kids.
The no-fail mode is a good thing too. Like the review, there are going to be those who take this WAY to seriously. But for some of us, its nice to just be able to hang out and participate while we listen to some great tunes. I can tell you this... just because you can play guitar in rock band... that doesn't make you Clapton.
Check out the new tour challenges, too. A nice new welcome concept that allows the game makers to constantly keep the game fresh and new. Although you need a XboxLive account, I think that most players who are into this type of thing will already have it.
Overall, the game is just that... a game. It's fun, its fresh, it has lots of options, and lots of new features to keep you interested when you beat Halo after 36 straight hours on release day. You can play with friends, or solo, online, at home... whatever. Nothing's perfect, but its nice to see a game that listened to its fans, refined a few (not-so-critical) flaws and expanded content and options to release a stellar sophomore effort.
...and with over 500 songs in the library by the holiday season, we've got some work to do before we become rock gods.