Guitar Hero World Tour vs. Rock Band 2
By Robert McMillen, Koin’s Tech GuruI remember it so clearly. I came home after a business trip last year and when I walked into the living room I expected to see things looking the same as when I left. I was wrong. The first thing I noticed was an obnoxious looking drum set, and next to it I saw a microphone in a stand. In the corner was the electronic guitar, sort of.
My wife and children ran downstairs and seemed very excited. To see me? Well, kind of.
They were very excited to start up their new Rock Band starter kit. After quick hugs and not much else, the TV was flipped on and the three of them took their positions as they quickly rocked out to Aerosmith and other 70’s hit-makers.
That leads us to our question of the week.
Q- “Which is better: Rock Band or Guitar Hero?” from Clay H. in Seattle.
A- If you asked me that day I walked into my home, I would say neither. Our living room has never looked the same. Sure, we have found places to tuck the “band “ where I wouldn’t trip over it, but it’s still weird.
After a couple of days of constantly asking me if I wanted to play, I finally gave in and tried my hand at guitar. I used to be in a band and have played all kinds of instruments: guitar, base, drums, and I even sang. But now that I’m old and crotchety in my forties, I hadn’t even considered decorating the house in this manner.
I tried out the guitar, and after several failed attempts, I figured out how to play the confounded thing. (Old people always say that word. BTW, what does crotchety mean? I wonder if it means my pants are way higher than yours?)
Well, after my first successful song I found myself smiling when they weren’t looking. I even felt my old “rock star” coming out of me. Then I tried the drums. Although I thought I was a pretty good drummer, I didn’t do as well at these drums, and my ankle hurt after a while. Actually, it hurt for several days. The base drum is just not set right for adults, but is great for kids. Then they wanted me to sing. I resisted for at least a couple of weeks, but then I gave in. After two songs, I was rockin' the house baby! Before long we were running from dinner to band every night and having great family moments. That is until the guitar part broke several months later. We tried to get a replacement guitar that works on either Rock Band or Guitar Hero, but it didn’t work.
I could have replaced the wireless controller, but at that point we started getting into Wii Fit and had moved on. Soon, I will fix the guitar and once again I will return to the glory that was, and always will be, mine! A rock god who will tear up the stage and smash the guitar once again after … Oops! I wasn’t supposed to tell you how the first guitar got broken. Shhhhhh, don’t tell.
Well, now we can move on to Clay’s question: Rock Band or Guitar Hero? Let’s break it down. The new versions of these products are called Rock Band 2 and Guitar Hero World Tour.
Platform - Both products are available for X Box, Playstation, and Wii. That leaves us with a tie.
Cost - The posted cost of RB2 is $180, while GH is $190. Ten dollars isn’t enough to call a winner even in a recession so I leave it at a tie (besides, you would just spend the extra ten dollars you saved on some Jamba Juice anyway.)
The Instruments - Both companies made some great changes for the new versions. RB2 made the guitars a lot sturdier. That’s good news for me. GH already had a stable guitar and the new version seems to be as good, if not better, despite the goofy looking colored buttons that RB2 has left off. GH’s guitar adds an additional new feature of slide buttons for added effects.
GH has decided to add the drum set this time, and with it they added two high-hat cymbals. RB2 doesn’t have cymbals but there is a third party company who is coming out with some you can add on. The biggest issue with GH drums is that they are purported to be very buggy.
Both games can use the controllers from either product, which I find interesting. The winner in this category has to be RB2. I love the idea of integrated cymbals on GH, but the public has zero tolerance for something that doesn’t work right. Why not just hold it back until it does work? Duh!
Song Choices - Here is where the differences start to really take off. First off, I should mention that I was appalled by the age level of the songs chosen in both products. They are taken from songs that are too mature for the under ten set, but unfortunately that’s a big part of the age group that plays the game. And if you think that no one can understand the lyrics anyway, you would be wrong because they show them on the screen so the singer can sing them.
RB2 allows you to not only use the songs that come with the DVD but also allows you to download songs from a huge list online. Get out your credit card!
However, GH takes a different approach. They allow you to record your own tracks in the Recording Studio mode and upload them to the online community. That would be very cool for a budding artist, despite the fact you’re not really playing a real guitar with real strings.
You still need lessons, son.
I can’t really say which is better since you have to decide which is more important to you: more songs or the ability to be a composer.
The purpose of playing- With RB2 you need to unlock songs in order to get to play all of the songs. It does give you a feeling of accomplishment to unlock a song but you also have to play the songs you don’t like to get to the songs you do.
GH lets you play all the songs, but if you’re really bad at playing and you still want to have fun, you can turn on the no fail mode. This allows the off-keyed, off-tempo “musicians” to still have a good time without the sounds and feelings of failure that RB2 will hand you.
I think the winner in this category is GH.
So, which is better? I really hate this, but by my count it appears to be a tie. The games are basically the same but different. It really is up to you to decide, based on the features, which game is right for your family. If you have youngins, I suggest RB2 so you can download more age- appropriate songs. If you have budding teenage musicians, then you might want to go for GH because of the Recording Studio mode.
I have to go to the store now to get a new wireless controller and guitar. After the kids go to bed I’m putting on my tie-dyed shirt, my dark glasses and head band, and I’m bringin' the house down! Who wants me now?
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