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Published on March 27, 2008 By qrush In Console Games

It simply does. That is all.

Oh, you wanted to know why! Well, if you're still reading and not playing it, there's three reasons why Rock Band is an awesome investment (it's still $169.99) for your Xbox 360, PS3, or (soonly) your Wii. First off, the UI is a lot cleaner than Guitar Hero 3's. Let's look at the two side by side.

Rock Band
Guitar Hero 3

Now, do remember that 1-4 people are watching the TV at a time for Rock Band instead of only 1-2 for Guitar Hero 3. However, the Rock Band interface is extremely simple. No complex images on the fretboard, a scoreboard that is easy to see, and the Overdrive meter is so much easier to understand than the star power gauges. All you want to know when you're playing either of these games is what your multiplier is and if you can use your star power/overdrive or not. With Guitar Hero 3, they're on complete opposite sides of the screen! Also, the star power gauge is made of lights that fill up, and it's even harder to see when playing with two players. For Rock Band, all of that information is in one place, at the very bottom of the fretboard, beneath where you're looking at most of the time to play notes. Obviously, the team behind Rock Band really looked at how people play Guitar Hero and what's essential to see when you're playing, and turned that into a brilliant design that's easy and fun to play.

Secondly, the downloadable content rules. Grant it, I haven't looked that much into GH3's available songs, but Rock Band's library continues to grow. My most recent downloads have been Limelight and Working Man from Rush, Crushcrushcrush from Paramore, and the huge Boston song pack. These new songs bring so much replay value to the game it's not even funny. Obviously they have all 4 playable parts in the songs, but you can opt to play the downloaded songs in the World Tour mode. So now, I can earn money for new looks and instruments by pretending I'm Geddy Lee.

Finally, the drums just rule. It's a completely different experience than the lead/bass guitars, and there's something truly enjoyable about banging pretend drums with real drumsticks. It's also a huge challenge for me, even on Medium the songs are pretty difficult, especially since the bass pedal is a central component to most songs. It's a game controller like no other, one you can beat senselessy and not feel bad about it.

If you're not able to get it yourself, at least visit someone's house that has it, I assure you that you'll definitely feel like a rock star, at least for a few minutes. Heck, if they get the new lights and smoke set, all you'll need are some serious clothes to match.

on Mar 28, 2008
Obviously, the team behind Rock Band really looked at how people play Guitar Hero

Harmonix made GH1 and GH2. Harmonix developed Rock Band. So they've had some iterations to get it right. The publisher of those GH games, Red Octane, got bought out by Activision and so now the Activision-owned developer Neversoft makes the GH games from GH3 on. GH3 was their first attempt, which is barely more than a GH2-clone with new songs, and a few tweaks. We can only go up from here, presumably.

I think one of the most outstanding things Harmonix had done with Rock Band was to let you earn star-power while using star-power. As little of a tweak that that is, it actually makes a huge difference on your potential scoring, and whether or not you make it through tough parts of songs. I also like that I can earn in-game cash in career mode for songs that I have downloaded, as you pointed out.

I own GH2, GH3, and Rockband, all for the 360. I think that Rockband and GH can co-exist. First, as long as there is competition, gamers get better games. But besides that, here's why I think they can co-exist:

In my opinion, Rock Band was developed out of Harmonix's continued frustration at not being able to acquire the rights to songs by artists they really wanted in the game. Part of this problem is that, at least for a GH game, the guitar part has to be the most centric part of the song. Every time they heard a song that they might want to put in the game, they had to then ask themselves if the guitar parts we fun to play, and the most prevalent. After doing that with both GH1 and GH2, they must have at some point came up with the idea to add the other instruments, and thus open the proverbial floodgates for the potential songs. Now when they decide if a song should be in Rock Band they can ask themselves if it has lyrics that are fun to sing. Or they can ask, "is there an amazing drum solo?" Finally, they can continue to ask if there are fun guitar parts in the song. Instead of only concentrating on songs that have "fun" guitar parts, they can go with songs that meet a level of fun on any of the other instruments. They go from guitar-centric songs to band-centric songs. The good thing for them is that, although they can concentrate on songs that meet the "fun" criteria for all the instruments, they can also still pick songs that are really fun for just one instrument (since you can play solo career as just a drummer, or just a singer, etc...)

The whole concept for Guitar Hero was that many of us out there, when we really dig a song, would instictively play "air-guitar" to the amazing guitar solos in our favorite songs. The GH franchise should concentrate on finding and acquiring more songs that meet that criteria. Even though we've had 3 versions of the franchise so far, there are still many songs out there that would be perfect for GH. There are several songs already in the franchise that are better suited to a Rock Band setup, but there are many examples already in the franchise of the type of songs GH should now be concentrating on. Like my personal favorite from GH2, The Trooper. But, if you've ever heard anything by Stevie Ray Vaughan, you know what I mean. You can't help but jam to his riffs. Heck, they could make an entire game with his songs (instead of Aerosmith!). The point is, IMHO, GH would be amazing if it turned into the type of game that is loaded with "air-guitar" inducing songs. As it is, they're just trying to keep up with the songs that are included in Rock Band. Having only guitar-specific songs in your game might seem like a niche market (it won't be if you do it right), but if you instead use mostly band-centric songs (like those in Rock Band), but only allow users to play them on the guitar, then customers are going to find that Rock Band is the better deal every time.

Just my 2bc,


on Mar 28, 2008

Wow! This could be a blog reaction in its own right. You do bring up a great point, that the games have different focuses entirely. If GH4 is filled *only* with Aerosmith songs that will be very disappointing, imo, and I definitely won't purchase it.  Great point too about how overdrive/star power works in RockBand compared to GH: it is a HUGE improvement and really makes the experience better.

Thanks for reading and putting in your...2 cents? More like 20 dollars

on Mar 29, 2008
I have the PS2 version, because that is what I have for consoles. I only have the guitar at this point. It does rock. It's fun, but in it's current state, much like Guitar Hero. That's fine, I like Guitar Hero. But I think someday I will upgrade and get better versions so I can download the Boston song pack. Wish I could do that on PS2. Because Boston rocks.

I also need to get a drum set...
on Mar 31, 2008
I have the PS2 version, [of Rock Band]. I only have the guitar at this point. It does rock. It's fun, but in it's current state, much like Guitar Hero.

Yeah, without the extra instruments, you're missing out on what makes it so different from Guitar Hero.
on Mar 31, 2008
Luckily, I really just wanted Guitar Hero with a cooler soundtrack! And when I do get the instruments, it'll be amazing.