Guitar Hero vs. Rock Band

September 8, 2008

I've been waiting a while to weigh in on the whole Guitar Hero vs. Rock Band debate. Originally when both products were released last year, I didn't really feel they directly competed with each other. Both games really had their target auidence, Guitar Hero focusing mainly on being a guitar god and Rock Band being more of a party-game version allowing your friends to participate instead of just watch you be really good at Guitar Hero.

With Guitar Hero World Tour (the 4th installment in the Guitar Hero franchise) as well as Rock Band 2 fast approaching launches for the holiday season, there are a lot more features that pit these two products head to head.

The first is most notably the addition of a drum kit (pictured), bass guitar, and microphone to the Guitar Hero package which brings it up to speed with the number of instruments available to Rock Band franchise.

Clearly one of Rock Band's most successful selling points was the drum kit in the first place, even spawning a drum kit only version of the product. For Activision to include this in the next Guitar Hero product, it's clear they noticed what helped make Rock Band a success.

The other draw that Rock Band originally had was the release of new tracks each and every week for use with their game. While Guitar Hero has done a decent job of adding new track packs, Rock Band has had the edge.

Instead of simply copying Rock Band and trying to get more DLC, which they are doing anyways, the next Guitar Hero will also feature the ability to create your own music tracks that you can share with the community. This is pretty innovative and for the first time actually makes the game more like a real music product than just "push-this-button now to make the music play" game.

So far the Guitar Hero franchise seems to be leading in the battle for best rock rythym game in the next two installments. I'm not entirely sure what the new Rock Band is really bringing to the table as far as innovations besides more of the same. They've made much welcomed improvements to the instruments and have also made sure most of your previous Rock Band tracks will work in the new game but there really isn't anything differentiating them from Guitar Hero anymore.

Guitar Hero is also doing some amazing things with track line ups for the next product, starting this Friday as the entire new Metallica album is released for GH3 and will also work with World Tour. If that wasn't enough, Tool has also got 3 tracks lined up for World Tour as well as their own set done in the style of their music videos and concert performances.

Originally the GH series was the king of the hill, Rock Band recently displaced it by bringing new instruments, and the party with your friends atmosphere to the genre. GH3 is prime to reclaim their spot as the #1 rock rythym game with all the new features in World Tour. I will be waiting to purchase either products since my little living room really does not have the room for all of those instruments in either package I also want to give them some time in the market to see what the early adopters of each new game think.

On a side note, I'm a little tired of the ad campaigns for both games trying to hype it up that you are forming a "real" band, or somehow playing real music. The music creator in GH World Tour is finally the closest thing either product can claim to being more than just a button mashing game. Now granted, they are both fun to play, but it's not "real" like they seem to try to make it.

The real sound track to this commericial would be a lot of clickety-click, click, click.