While on a routine shopping trip for my next external hard drive, I happened by Best Buyâ€™s â€œGuitar Heroâ€ displays. The guitar-and-TV with â€œGuitar Heroâ€ playing setup has been a mainstay for as long as I remember.
This time, right next to â€œGuitar Heroâ€ was the demo for â€œRock Band,â€ a game officially released more than a week ago still labeled as â€œupcoming releaseâ€ at the store.
Letâ€™s compare the two.
The latest iteration of the â€œGuitar Heroâ€ series, â€œGuitar Hero IIIâ€ is a pretty awesome game. It features a guitar-shaped controller, four difficulty levels and a whole bunch of awesome songs. â€œSunshine of Your Loveâ€ has never been so satisfying.
With controller, itâ€™ll cost you a good $79.99, plus tax. Without controller, its MSRP stands at the standard new-release cost of $49.99. â€œGuitar Hero IIIâ€ is or will be available for PS2, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, PC and Mac.
â€œRock Bandâ€ includes not only playable guitar and bass parts in its songs, but also drumset and vocals. From playing the demo, I could tell that it has a good amount of visual panache, like the â€œGuitar Heroâ€ games. However, when compared to the â€œGuitar Heroâ€ series, the graphics are nothing special.
â€œRock Bandâ€ costs about twice as much as â€œGuitar Hero IIIâ€ packaged with the faux guitar â€” its MSRP is high at $169.99. â€œRock Bandâ€ is available for PS3 and Xbox 360.
Both games are musical rhythm games, and both are fun to play. Both feature some sort of guitar-shaped controller.
While I played the demo, a passerby commented that â€œRock Bandâ€ is ripping off â€œGuitar Hero.â€ That depends on how you look at it.
â€œGuitar Hero IIIâ€ was developed by a different studio than either of the previous two games in the series. Harmonix Music Systems, rather than develop said â€œGuitar Hero III,â€ moved on to their own project â€” â€œRock Band.â€
Backstory aside, comparisons to â€œGuitar Heroâ€ are going to dominate any actual reviews of â€œRock Band.â€ So how does it compare?
Thatâ€™s hard to say from the short demo I played at Best Buy, but the game would be almost worth it for the drumset alone. The drumset there at the store was half-broken and had parts missing, but it was still fun and probably more satisfying than â€œGuitar Hero,â€ for my money.
The set of songs available in â€œRock Bandâ€ is just as strong as any â€œGuitar Heroâ€ game, with a number of more recent popular hits â€” â€œHere it Goes Againâ€ and â€œDani Californiaâ€ â€” sharing time with Deep Purple and The Who.
The karaoke microphone was unavailable â€” who could blame Best Buy for that one â€” but if itâ€™s anything like the one from â€œKaraoke Revolutionâ€ â€” another Harmonix game â€” then itâ€™s responsive and unforgiving. More over, itâ€™s a whole lot of fun.
Having sampled both guitar and bass parts, the guitar-shaped parts of the solo game are certainly the weakest part of â€œRock Band.â€ The controllers have a completely different feel than that of the guitars from the â€œGuitar Heroâ€ games â€” more nebulous and not quite as responsive.
Good thing the â€œGuitar Heroâ€ guitars are rumored to be fully compatible. I couldnâ€™t quite test that in the middle of Best Buy, though.
Once they sell drum set and game separately, Iâ€™m going to get one of my friends to buy it. Unfortunately, I canâ€™t afford even this much fun.
In other news: Lenoâ€™s staff fired, despite promise of job security; lead of Iowa frontrunners still within margin of error; and speaking of frontrunners, Huckabeeâ€™s “anemic” support not so much these days, is it, Washington Post?