Awesome fun to be had by all
Rock Band is one of those games that practically anyone can enjoy, and features innovative guitar, drum and microphone controllers so you can take the role as your favourite type of musician if you purchased the complete band kit. Due to price restraints I only have two guitars so I can't comment on the drumming and singing aspects of the game, but despite maybe looking a little daunting at first the game plays very well and caters to users of all skill levels.
There are several modes of play in Rock Band, including quickplay and the usual plethora of online game types, but the focal point is the world tour mode. Unfortunately if you're one of these newer breed of gamers and play all your multiplayer games with people all over the world you won't get as much enjoyment out of this as people who prefer the old fashioned way of playing games with people in the same room, because this game doesn't feature an online multiplayer world tour option. Rock Band is ideal for an evening of fun with friends and family because the multiplayer world tour mode is far more in depth than the single player version, in the latter you simply play through a load of songs and earn money and items for your character, whereas in multiplayer world tour you can choose your venues, setlists and even compete for various methods of transportation from one gig to the next. In short, Rock Band 2 might be a better option if you prefer online gaming as that features an online world tour mode.
I do however have one major gripe with the multiplayer world tour mode. Quite often you have to perform what's called a 'mystery setlist' which consists of two or more randomly selected songs. Early in the game you don't have many songs to choose from so you'll find yourself often repeating several songs over and over again - I've personally had to endure 'Should I Stay Or Should I Go' by The Clash about a dozen times already among others. Once you've unlocked more songs as you progress through the game the chances of repeating the same song frequently are naturally reduced, but it can get ridiculous.
When you're concentrating almost fully on different coloured rectangles falling in front of you it's difficult to appreciate the graphics featured in Rock Band, but they do the job nicely. Your band will happily play their instruments in the background and each venue looks adequate enough.
Being a music rhythm game sound is obviously a huge focal point in this game, and I can't make any complaints here. If you hook your 360 up to a decent sound system it sounds excellent.
I must admit, for a game that was released nearly 18 months ago it took a long time to drop in price. I picked up the game on its own (I already had two Guitar Hero controllers) for £18 which I was happy with, but there's no way I'd spend the £140 or so on the complete band kit which is showing no signs of dropping in price due to constant demand. If you're positive each instrument will get a lot of use it's probably worth the expense, but for me personally it's way out of my acceptable price range for video game accessories.
Here comes the inevitable comparison between this game and Guitar Hero: World Tour. One of the big questions people ask when considering buying this game is "which of the two is better?" and while it's a hard choice I think Rock Band just edges it - but it depends on your circumstances. If you're an avid online player Guitar Hero or Rock Band 2 is a the better option, but if you have friends and family members who would be interested in playing regularly (and you're on a budget) then Rock Band is definitely a better choice.