Review by Robert Ashley:
"When pimping his studio's ubiquitous band simulator in the press, Harmonix cofounder Alex Rigopulos is fond of calling Rock Band a "platform for music," like Apple's iPod and iTunes. In that sense, Rock Band 2 is more like a system update than a sequel. It's a collection of interface tweaks and non-earth-shattering new features designed to make the Rock Band experience more enjoyable and less frustrating. You get backward compatibility for all your downloaded material and 55 of the original game's 58 songs (after ponying up $5), an easier-to-navigate library, game-changing rule sets (the No Fail mode definitely makes drunken-party play less stressful for beginners), daily updated online challenges (Battle of the Bands), tougher, quieter, wireless hardware (if you're made of money), and, most notably, a couple of drum-training modes that teach aspiring pizza-delivery boys real-life drum beats and fills.
The real attraction here is the game's Sticky Fingers-like bulge of music. With 84 tunes on the disc (all are original recordings) and 20 free downloads form the online store, Rock Band 2 is simply the cheapest way to beef up your library. Not to belittle the selections here -- music taste is extremely personal, of course, and no matter what your preferences are, you'll likely end up despising 10 or 15 songs. But Rock Band 2's offerings are ambitious compared to the original game's lineup, with several major gets that would have seemed impossible just a year ago. Who ever thought they'd be able to play a classic Bob Dylan song in a videogame? Or "Psycho Killer" by the Talking Heads?"