This is definently one of the best games to come out this year.
GAMEPLAY: It's basicaly the same old game from last year, you play the game with up to four people, playing guitar, bass, drums, and vocals to songs made by REAL rock bands. Aside from a few minor changes to hammerons, it's just the same old. 8/10 for no real changes to gameplay, but it still works very well.
GRAPHICS: Once again, very similar to the last game, no big changes. 7/10 for no graphics improvement, but still good.
MODES: This is where the big changes are. If you are like me, you play a lot of solo. NO MORE SOLO!!!! Instead, you can play the World Tour mode on your own. World tour doesn't have that many changes other than you don't need a band leader to play, and there are some new oppertunities, such as making music vids, or, my personal favorite, confusing one of your bandmates. One of the members of the band will have been whining or something, and then you switch out the last song in your set for something realy hard for that member. There are a lot of other new things like the drum trainer, which teaches you to play drums, the yet-to-be-released jukebox mode, where you get to just listen to the songs in the game. And many more. 9/10 for many new modes, but NO SOLO!!!
SONGS: There is a HUGE list of songs. 84. Fans of new stuff will like the Panic! At the Disco and others. If you are my age, you will find songs you might have used to like, like The Middle, Kids in America, and We Got the Beat. Grunge fans will like the Soundgarden and Nirvana. There's metal aplenty with Battery, Painkiller, and Peace sells, And don't forget the TONS of rock spanning the late 60s to today, and the 500 songs promissed by Harmonix by the end of the year for download, 20 free songs for download, AND, for $5, importing almost all of the songs from the first Rock band. 11/10 for an amazing list.
OVERAL: 9/10 for no real changes to gameplay or graphics, but makes up with many new songs and modes.
Remember this day. with the release of Rock Band 2 a milestone has been set. the publishers of this game actually listened to the fans of the first rock band, and added everything that was missing from the one. wanna do the full band on x-box live? done! this games rocks. the song list is awesome. I actually hurt myself by forcing myself to enforce my own rule of never ranking a game as a 10. if I were to ever break that rule rock band 2 would be the game I would have broken it for.
If you've played RB1, RB2 is better in a lot of different ways: 1. The library can be as big as RB1 & RB2 disc songs and downloaded songs combined, assuming your hard disk is big enough to accommodate RB1's disc space (a bit more than a 1 gb). This is especially useful while most of venues allow you to construct a song set with any songs in the library. Downloaded songs came naturally to RB2 without doing anything special. But exporting RB1 disc out could cost you 400 points
2. You can do solo band tour yourself without having another person to play locally. I like it because I can unlock achievements all by myself.
3. Online band tour definitely is an improvement so I don't have to haul drum set across the street to neighbor's house anymore
Everything else pretty much stays the same, except the new "Challenge" feature, which is nothing more than beating a pre-set list with a specific instrument (or a band) to unlock more challenges, which ultimately leading to achievement points.
Overall, it is not a whole lot different from RB1. But the gaming infrastructure is definitely improved by eliminating the solo tour, enabling online band tour, and incorporating all songs under one roof.
Rumors on secret achievements have something to do with "Steel Bladder". That is, you have to beat all 84 songs at one shot ("Endless setlist"). Somebody did it and posted on xbox forum claiming the whole thing took just a little shy of 7 hours. Good luck!