Guitar Hero WT vs Rock Band 2 Revisited


I wrote an article comparing Guitar Hero World Tour to Rock Band 2 back in October of last year (read it here).  I was trying to point out the major differences between the games, but it appears that I heavily promoted Guitar Hero rather than being completely fair.

Sometimes when we review games, we don’t  have time to play the game completely through.  In this business, if you don’t get game reviews out soon, then they lose their relevance and there isn’t a point in publishing them at all.  I was seduced by Guitar Hero World Tour at first, but now that I’ve had a chance to play both games completely, I have changed my tune.

Guitar Hero 3 was really fun (in fact probably my favorite in the franchise) and had a lot of excellent music, some of which I hadn’t heard before.  At the beginning of GHWT, the setlist was really good (and I quickly became a fan of Tokio Hotel).  The new solo buttons added a new challenge to the game, and there were several other improvements that made the Guitar Hero sequel much better than its predecessor.

I have found Guitar Hero’s solo buttons thing to be very gimmicky, and rather annoying.  I don’t even use them at all when playing Guitar Hero.  The setlist became very crappy after the first half of the game.  To top it all off, you can play through the campaign very quickly.

I originally hailed the user-created content as a boon, but now I know this gimmick just isn’t enticing.  Many of the user-created songs are absolutely horrible, and the “songs” are just excuses to put random notes on a screen that are absolutely impossible to play.  People just try to put the hardest thing they can think of in one of these “songs”.  Also, the guitar parts are “synthesized” and sound like MIDI through a bad wavetable soundcard.  Yes there are a ton of user-created songs, but 99% of them aren’t even worth trying.

Rock Band 2, on the other hand, has an excellent setlist, and a much much longer staying power.  Instead of powering through the campaign, you unlock more gigs by successfully completing others.  Some can be tough, but each gig lets you create a short setlist, so you can play your favorites to help earn more stars.

The Rock Band 2 instruments have features that in some ways make them better than Guitar Hero’s instruments.  The Rock Band 2 bass actually looks and feels like a bass guitar, and the instruments have knobs that let you change the sound of your instrument.  This may be gimmicky, but it is a fun gimmick rather than GHWT’s useless ones.

So in this editorial I’ve ripped on Guitar Hero World Tour, now that I’ve had a chance to play both games through.  Like I mentioned in my previous article, both games are really fun, but most people only have enough cash for one game.  I would recommend picking up one full kit (with all the instruments) and then buy just the game disc of the other.

The features of one game’s instruments don’t really cross over to the other.  RB2’s sound knobs don’t work in GH, and both game’s solo buttons don’t work in the other game.  Rock Band’s drums will work just fine in Guitar Hero… instead of 5 lanes you now have 4.  If you only have a choice of picking up one game, however, it appears that you’ll get more entertainment from Rock Band 2.

Alan is a web architect, stand-up comedian, and your friendly neighborhood Grammar Nazi. You can stalk him on the Interwebs via Google+, Facebook and follow his ass on Twitter @ocmodshop.