Pros+ Best. Party. Game. Ever.
+ Instruments are sturdy and responsive
+ Incredible songlist
+ Great online coop play
Cons- Expensive [ $99 for game and instruments + $2 per song download + $5 exporting RB1 songs]
Rock Band has really transformed the music gaming industry. In addition to using only guitar controllers to rock out solo or with a friend, now you can get a group together and make your own rock band by introducing drums and a microphone. Despite several technical flaws, it was a great success and has left a large imprint on the videogaming industry. Now it comes with its second installment, Rock Band 2, which builds on what works and fixes what didn't.
The Rock Band 2 peripherals are very sturdy and responsive this time around. The drums can take a beating, and it has a great bass pedal with a metal plate. The microphone doesn't feel like a child's toy. The guitar is also sturdier, though there will always be a Rock Band vs. Guitar Hero controller debate. The GH guitar looks and feels more like a toy, fully equipped with its colorful buttons and clicky strum bar, while the RB guitar looks more realistic, though if you're not used to it, you may feel like it will break in your hands. Overall, both guitars are very good.
Harmonix has done a great job with song selection. What they do so well is not choosing popular songs, but choosing songs that are fun to rock out too. There will be plenty of songs that you know and love, but there will also be songs you would never listen to reguarly that you are absolutely going to love to play. For me, "Alabama Getaway" by the Grateful Dead is one of those songs. There's also the option to export 55 of the 58 songs from RB1 to RB2, but it will cost you $5. And of course, there is the Rock Band Store, which is updated weekly with new songs, track packs and albums to play.
This is where Rock Band excels. Alone, you can start your own tour and unlock songs and venues around the world, or you can do song challenges, which is a more direct and quicker way to unlock all the songs. However, doing the tour will allow you to take part in frequently posted tournaments requiring you to play a certain setlist, instrument, or difficulty, where you can go for a high score and see where you rank on the scoreboard. You can take it online where you can join 3 other players to play a few songs, or go for it all with the new Online Band Tour mode. However, nothing can ever replace the feeling of playing with 3 friends in your living room. The songs have added difficulty this time around, which was a major complaint from the last game. They also added a No Fail mode, so everyone can enjoy themselves even if they really suck.
Overall, Rock Band 2 is THE party game. There is no better feeling you can get from a video than to rock out with your friends!