Guitar Hero vs. Rock Band: A Clusterfuck
This Sunday (or Saturday night, if you’re hitting up a Best Buy midnight launch) Guitar Hero III will officially be hitting store shelves. In less than a month, the makers of the first two Guitar Hero games will be releasing their new massive game pictured above – Rock Band. The former is the standard 5-button plastic guitar affair that gamers have come to know and love — or possibly get sick of — while the latter comes in a $160 or $170 (depending on whether the graphics are next-gen or not) package complete with game, guitar, drums, and microphone. But you already knew this.
What you might not have known is how Red Octane made the guitar peripherals for the first two Guitar Hero games, but is part of Activision now, so while Harmonix moved on to make Rock Band under EA, Red Octane is still with the Guitar Hero series. Together with Neversoft (famous for creating the Tony Hawk series) they have created the third installment. For some reason, they’re deciding to be fucking douchebags and are locking out the Rock Band guitar somehow, which means it will NOT be compatible with Guitar Hero III. Complete and total bullshit. At least the 360 GH2 guitar works with 3, though. Over on the PS3 side, it seems that the GH3 guitar will not be backwards-compatible with the old games. On top of that, the adapter that was created to allow gamers to use their old PS2 guitar controllers doesn’t work well at all. What a mess.
Naturally, Harmonix is being awesome and all the previous Guitar Hero controllers (including GH3!) will be compatible with Rock Band. On the bad side, their will be only two packages available this year. Game-only and the massive package mentioned earlier. These will be released for the 360 and PS3 first, while a PS2 version will follow a few weeks later (Wii LOL). I NEED the drums and I NEED the game immediately, so they’ve got me hooked. I’ll never sing and I could conceivably buy GH3 for my 360 and use that guitar, but the Rock Band guitar looks about as cool as a fake guitar possibly can (just look below) and has more functionality. So massive Rock Band package it is. God, I never thought I’d write so much about peripheral compatibility.
So I guess the real question is: Rock Band or Guitar Hero III?
I’m going to have to say that Rock Band is required. If the price seems a bit too steep, think about it: Two friends could share the price of a massive package, buy an additional game-only, and then share the peripherals for $115 each. That’s only $15 more than the game+guitar package for a next-gen version of Guitar Hero III. Of course, maniacs like me will buy both. GH3 does look to raise the difficulty to even a higher level, which is what is pulling me towards it. Plus, I can’t wait a month to get my fake musician fix. But really, looking at these songs, which are supposedly on Expert, Rock Band looks to be pulling a Nintendo in regards to the guitar. (Rock Band is really about the DRUMS to me, and I know that’s going to be hard as hell, so I’ll be more than happy.)
To be fair, most of those parts aren’t solos anyway. And “Epic” does look like it’s difficult enough to make me miss some notes. And Rock Band definitely looks a shitload better than Guitar Hero III. As much as I can gather from a shitty YouTube video, anyhow.
So there we go. I’m spent. Buy Rock Band. Buy Guitar Hero III if you’re really good at the past two games and aren’t sick of the formula yet. The setlists are both awesome, but the DLC (downloadable content) puts Rock Band over the top. Who’s Next and Nevermind (entire albums!) right off the bat. Unbelievable.