February 22, 2009

Guitar Hero World Tour vs. Rock Band 2

I'm a big fan of rhythm games- they help me discover some great music- but currently, when you say music game, either Guitar Hero or Rock Band comes to mind. OK, maybe Dance Dance Revolution or BeatMania or Guitar Freaks too, but that's another story.

Thus there will exist an internal argument (with yourself) when you consider choosing one of them. This post is here to help. Both of them have their pros and cons, but I personally decided to invest upon Rock Band 2 for the Wii. Find out after the jump.

Guitar Hero: World Tour
1) In all consoles, the features are pretty much similar across the board except for the Wii which has the useless, Wii Music-esque Freestyle mode. (Obviously though, the PS2 version is obviously not eligible for additional downloadable content.)

2) The addition of drums and microphone is a given. If you already have an existing guitar from past Guitar Hero games, it's compatible too. This way, you can have a complete band.

3) If you already have Rock Band 1 or 2, you can go ahead and splurge on just the disc. The PS3 version is an uncertainty though, and the Wii and PS2 iterations? Dream on. Still, you can get the best of both worlds because Rock Band 2 in all platforms support all Guitar Hero World Tour peripherals with PS3 once again, an uncertainty.

4) More songs than Rock Band 2- specifically 2 more, although some songs are the same with the ones on Rock Band 2. Still, they're all master recordings, meaning that the songs are the genuine article- the ones released originally. Popular songs are abound there ("Beat It" comes to mind). Not only that, you can compose your own (or download the compositions of others)!

5) Touch sensitive fret bars are available as a response to Rock Band's introduction of a second fret bar located at the bottom of the guitar for solos. These touch sensitive fret bars put some variation gameplay-wise in the form of a "purply-roped" fret.

6) More celebs in motion-capture glory! If Guitar Hero 3 delivered Slash (and a few other guests), this one delivers even more.

1) This one compelling reason made me not want to buy Guitar Hero World Tour in the first place, and that is the technical issues that plague the hardware. GameSpot reports that fret buttons get sticky after a day, the touch-sensitive bar doesn't register hits accurately and the general public agree that the all-important strum button doesn't register only after a few hours of play. Additionally, the cymbals of the drums do not work very well, many people say.

2) The Music Studio may let you create your own music, but it's definitely not user-friendly- not at all. You'll have to have a never-ending patience just for the sake of ringtone-esque products.

3) Less artist variation is a bit of a minor problem. The setlist has some artists that have 2 or more songs! So the case may either be, you'll hate those set of songs, or you'll love them. The unprecedented succession of these songs may annoy those who hate the set.

4) Unstable downloadable content release dates have been plaguing the series since Guitar Hero 3. While the Rock Band series has a steady weekly stream of downloadable content available for craving fans, Guitar Hero owners will be left wanting.

5) Aren't motion-captured celebrities too uncanny and disturbing? It's like watching Polar Express -shudder-

6) All those instruments need their separate Wii remotes in the Wii version. What the hell?

Rock Band 2
1) While the release dates aren't simultaneous for all platforms, you can't really blame Harmonix since development duties weren't really delegated to several developers like in Guitar Hero. Now that all platforms finally have Rock Band 2, one could say that they also are pretty much feature-identical unlike its disappointing predecessor. Of course, PS2 owners don't have downloadble content.

2) Addictive Band Tour mode is extremely varied and non-linear, and progression is much more rewarding.

3) Rock Band 2 can transfer Rock Band songs for 5 dollars. This is because of song re-licensing. Unfortunately 3 songs aren't permitted for transfer, and this includes "Enter Sandman".

4) There is a lot more variety song-wise in Rock Band 2. One artist, one song ratio (unless you download from the Music Store). Notably, the inclusion of an exclusive Guns N' Roses track from Chinese Democracy (which at the time wasn't released), I guess, is a plus.

5) Online matches seem much more addictive than in Guitar Hero. Song scores are automatically uploaded online and there is also an option to access the Tour mode online.

6) The Downloadable Content available in the Rock Band Music Store is amazing. In total, counting the songs included in the Rock Band 1 and 2 discs, there are 572 songs in the Rock Band universe. Additionally, downloadable content downloaded in Rock Band 1 are compatible with Rock Band 2 so there is no re-purchasing. Wii owners finally get this as well.

7) Two words: No Fail. While the concept sounds oh-so lame, it's actually useful especially during parties- which is where this game usually shines. If you are having difficulty with the game and keep failing on one part (and get annoyed with that), or if you just want to ram on the buttons, you can use this mode. Moreover, bandmates won't have to worry about wasting valuable "Energy" just to save the failed fool.

8) Reliable instruments. The drum pedal is notably reinforced with metal. Plus, it doesn't need Wii remotes for operation, just AA batteries (included in the box!).

1) For the Wii, Guitar Hero: World Tour instruments are compatible with Rock Band 2, but Rock Band 2 instruments aren't compatible with Guitar Hero: World Tour. But this is due more to the fact that Guitar Hero: World Tour was released significantly earlier.

2) Wii and PS2 owners don't get the song transfer feature. This is due more to the lack of a hard drive in both consoles.

3) Wii owners have to wait very long to get the back catalog of songs available for the PS3 and 360 for a long time. At least the schedule is weekly and not uncertain like in Guitar Hero.

4) In paper, Guitar Hero seems like the more sensible purchase.

5) I'm not sure if Guitar Hero's setup is the same, but unpacking Rock Band 2 is a big chore.

There, I've got my points numerically listed for your convenience. If you've been considering which to buy, here are the reasons why you should or should not buy either one of them. For me, Rock Band 2 is the winner, but not all share my opinion obviously.

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