Guitar Hero vs Rock Band Review
In the past couple of years, new sensations have been sweeping the nation in the forms of Guitar Hero and Rock Band. In the unlikely case that you have never heard of or played either of these video games, they require you to play plastic model instruments in time with a song track hitting as many notes as possible on varying difficulties to suit your skill level (both have Easy, Medium, Hard, and Expert for the brave).
Guitar Hero Review
The Guitar Hero franchise has been growing in popularity in the past few years so that most everyone has played it at least once, and for good reason. The latest in the series, Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, is one of the most played games today and chances are that anyone with either an Xbox 360 or a Playstation will have it. In my experience, it is so far the easiest to pick up and play. I say this because notes are easier to hit than any of the other Guitar Hero games because there is a larger area around each note for that note to be hit. The “grace period” is longer and you can hit a note, even after it’s past or before you’re supposed to, to a certain point.
The actual difficulty of the note charts of the songs, however, is much harder than Rock Band and any other Guitar Hero game and is meant more for the hardcore “rockers” rather than the casual players being the most difficult songs to play so far. So, notes easiest to hit, but also a lot more of them and faster. The song selection is excellent, as usual. There is a nice mix of classic rock, metal, punk and hard rock. Rather than list numerous examples, you can find the song list easily on Wikipedia or even guitarhero.com.
The learning curve as you progress through the song list is just right. You will however experience songs tending to lead to more metal as you go through the last two sets, mainly just because that genre is reasonably harder to play and faster than other genres. This can either be a positive or negative depending on your taste in music. Boss battles are a fun and challenging way to pretend like you’re playing with someone else if you cannot physically play with others or do not have an online service like Xbox LIVE.
Multiplayer consists of Cooperative, where one plays lead guitar and the other person plays either rhythm or bass, Face-Off, Pro-Face Off, and the most controversial, Battle. From my experience playing in Battle mode is people have either loved or hated it. The point of this mode is to collect power-ups to throw at your opponent by hitting certain phrases of the song perfectly to make them miss notes and eventually fail while also trying not to fail as they throw attacks at you. I personally like it as it levels the playing field for players who might not be as good as other players they’re against, but is also the reason why other people don’t like it because it is not a “true” test of skill.
The Les Paul style controller is nice and heavier than any other Guitar Hero controllers. I like this because it feels more like a real guitar and less like a cheap toy, but some people might prefer a lighter feel.
Downloadable songs are scarce compared to Rock Band’s weekly schedule, but I’ll talk more about that later. Guitar Hero’s schedule for putting out music must not be their first priority but they have put out some nice songs, usually only available in packs, though. Overall, I give Guitar Hero III a 9 picks out of 10.
Rock Band Review
Rock Band, on the other hand, is focused on cooperation and teamwork rather than a crushing your opponent. The object of Rock Band is to work together with your band mates and get the highest score possible for the whole band as opposed to Guitar Hero where the goal of multiplayer is destroying anyone in your path to rock stardom.
Rock Band also expands upon the rhythm game genre with two new instruments in the forms of drums and a microphone. This allows other people who may not want to play guitar or aren’t good at it to still enjoy the musical experience. The song list is also worthy of praise. Three new songs are available to download every week on the Xbox LIVE Marketplace providing you have an Xbox 360 and the money to buy them of course. The Downloadable Content (DLC) list has grown now to be almost as big as the song list that came with the game.
There are various combinations of instruments able to be played at any one time in the game. You can play just one of any of different instruments by yourself, two of them (playing one instrument and singing), three with friends, or even, the main focus of the game, all four. This is where the game really shines. In a band, you play your instrument as you normally would in single player, but the idea is to use your star power to bail each other out of trouble when someone is failing out and also to maximize you multiplier to get the most points possible.
Once you play through a song with three of your buddies and manage to get five stars, there’s an extremely satisfying feeling knowing that you all pulled it off. I give Rock Band a perfect 10 and was thoroughly surprised it did not get the Game of the Year Award. Really, was CoD 4 was that good?
Both games are excellent in their own right. And while they have similarities, Guitar Hero is more for the competitive gamers while Rock Band is for the cooperative players who want to construct music rather than compete against each other. If you are interested in buying either one of these, I hope my “expertise” has been helpful. As for myself, I like to divide my time between both equally, I try not to play favorites
Winning entry for April, 2008! Thanks, Stefan for giving us a honest experience and review of Rockband and Guitar Hero III.
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