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The trip to Manhattan I made yesterday was to accept an invitation to check out Rock Band 2 at the offices of MTV. This was sort of a proof of concept to see if I could update from the road while attending such an event, though my stated affection for the game was a huge draw, while I was also curious to see what I could of the current state of MTV, where I once worked (this curiosity went unsatisfied, as we just saw elevators, a hallway, and an office). Unsurprisingly, there was nothing revealed about the game that has not already been announced, though it was interesting to see the interface changes they've made to better accommodate their ever-larger library of songs. We did get to play, however, and I have to say that the fine tuning to the code and hardware was evident: The guitar I played had a smoother feel on both strumming and button presses than previous Rock Band and Guitar Hero pseudo-axes. The new drum surfaces have actual rebound as well as sound deadening for an, I don't know, million percent improvement over the first-gen drums (not to mention a metal reinforced bass pedal that will last through more than one Who song). And nearest to my own heart, we were told the vocal recognition engine has been entirely re-written, and that broken "talkie" segments should be less of a nightmare for singers. We didn't play any songs from the original game for contrast, but it was still obvious during Rock Band 2 songs that pitch recognition is a good deal better in Rock Band 2 than the original. I can't wait.
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