I am a self-confessed guitar-game junkie. So of course when Rock Band 2 and Guitar Hero World Tour was announced, I was drooling with anticipation. Apparently so were many other people, because many stores opened at 12:01 on October 26th to sell the new Guitar Hero World Tour.
Of course, Rock Band 2 came for the Xbox 360 several weeks ago, but there really wasn’t much reason to buy it immediately. The new “Rock Band 2” instruments were not available and would only be released once the game hit the PS3 and Wii. So, in effect, Rock Band 2 and Guitar Hero World Tour pretty much opened at relatively the same time. It was obvious that Band games are played more on the Xbox 360 than on any other console (at least in Seattle). The complete Guitar Hero Band Kit (which includes the game, microphone, guitar and drums) were completely sold out for the 360, but there were stacks of PS3 and Wii Band Kits available at several Best Buys even the day after launch.
The original Rock Band game was plagued with poor quality instruments that broke down frequently. The original drum kit was notorious for destroyed foot pedals and wonky tom-tom pads. The updated RB instruments are supposed to have many quality improvements.
Improved Rock Band instruments is great, but they don’t really seem to hold a candle to the new Guitar Hero gear. For one, not only is the new Guitar Hero controller better made, but it is now “full sized”. It is much bigger than the toy-like wireless Gibson, which looks like a ukelele when slapped against my immense torso. The new GH guitar also has innovative solo buttons, but unlike the Rock Band buttons, these are touch sensitive and have a much different feel. It almost feels like you’re finger-tapping a real guitar (without all the pain), but it is very easy to lose your finger placement (and your fingers need to be spread out slightly farther than when holding the fret buttons). Switching back and forth between the touch slider and the fret buttons will undoubtedly make you miss a few notes while getting your bearings.
The GH Drums are also improved over Rock Band. Instead of four Toms and a foot pedal, these drums have three toms, two cymbals and a foot pedal (that’s SIX controls!). Playing drums feels a lot more like the real thing than playing guitar or bass, but these new drums somehow feel more authentic. The cymbals spring back a little better, and all of the pads are touch sensitive.
The microphone is… well… a mic. But now they have all the buttons you’d expect to find on a controller, so vocalists don’t have to have a seperate controller to navigate menus.