Graphically, things just look a little more upgraded. There are still the old characters that you're used to like Pandora and Johnny Napalm, and you can also customize the characters to look however you want them to look. For the most part, the customization works great, but like all the previous versions, if you max the fatness on them, they look completely disproportionate. So just don't make the character huge and you'll be happy with the appearance. But wait, there's more... there are also unlockable characters such as Kurt Cobain and Shirley Manson that you can play as. In addition to all of this, you can also rock out as your Mii! I know some of you have worked really hard on your Miis and made them look just like you. So now, you can take the stage as them in the game, at least in the Mii Freestyle area.
Speaking of stages, there are so many stages that you can choose to play on that it's just plain awesome. There are 14 stages in Career mode, and then there are quite a few more that you can unlock. I don't know exactly how many as I haven't unlocked them all yet, but I do know that you get a special one for playing Roadie Battles, the Station Terminus. The unlockable stages are available for playing in Quickplay.
So let's go ahead and admit that the real reason we continue to buy new versions is to get the new songs. Guitar Hero 5 goes way beyond any of the other games in that region. There are 85 songs that you can choose to play, and they're all unlocked at the start of the game. That's right, if you don't want to play Career mode to get new songs, you don't have to! I really like that feature myself, since I just couldn't beat Career on Expert before, to get the final songs unlocked. Also, you can import almost all the songs from Guitar Hero World Tour! That gives you a whole bunch more songs to add to your collection and plenty of music to choose to play.