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  • Why I Love Rock Band 2, but Dislike Guitar Hero World Tour

    Posted on April 6th, 2009 Shawn 4 comments

    I’m a regular player of Rock Band 2 (RB2), mostly drums and vocals. I play tours, challenges, battle of the bands, with friends online, etc. I buy lots of downloadable songs and look forward to what’s coming in the weeks ahead. When I play the game, I try to play in moderation, but find myself immersed for hours without breaking.

    One would think that a nearly identical game, like Guitar Hero World Tour (GHWT), would have the same (or very similar) effect on me. It does not, and I’m trying to figure out why.

    Drums: 6 versus 5. RB2 has 5, GHWT has 6. You’d think, as a drummer, more is better. But, possibly, my brain has been trained from 11 months of playing with only 5, that the 6th pad is a real detriment. I have to completely relearn the drums for GHWT. I think the 6th pad plays a lot into it, plus I think the charting is very different than RB2.

    Vocals: I have said in the past that the vocal in RB2 are too easy, and the vocal in GHWT are less forgiving…which I like.  Too many people are considered “expert” singers in RB2, when they should be singing at lower levels.  I truly like how difficult the expert level for vocals is on GHWT. Of course, if you don’t know the songs (or don’t have a desire to learn the songs), it doesn’t really matter.

    Charting: For drum charting, when I realized that Sweet Home Alabama, a fairly simple song, was missing some hi-hat beats (also the same in GH: Metallica’s Sad But True), I was a bit disgusted.

    Songs: RB2 has so many more songs, thanks to RB1 imports and all the DLC. I was expecting the GHWT set list to be incredible, but now that I’m playing through it (at about 40% complete), it’s not really grabbing me. Possibly because the repeated songs from RB1 and 2 I have played so much (The Middle, Eye of the Tiger, Mountain Song), I don’t want to play any more. Possibly because songs I expected are from original artists, not from bands that more recently made the famous (Antisocial, Kick Out the Jams).

    Friends: I have a lot of friends that play RB2 online, and only a few on GHWT. That’s probably because I selectively find RB2 players. If I could find more GHWT players, maybe it would be a better experience.

    Game Modes: RB2 has a slew of game modes, where GHWT has prefabricated setlists that increment you towards the end of the game. RB2 is not encouraging you to “finish” the game, they encourage you to come back for more; battle your friends; download new stuff and watch new challenges appear. That might be a big part of it. I must have done the RB2 Don’t Stop Believing vocal battle 15 times last week getting myself in the top 50 of all Xbox Live.

    Graphics: I believe that GHWT has the better graphics of the two games. The instruments, players, and backgrounds are more crisp. Having real rock stars in the game makes it very cool, but to be honest, when you are playing the game, you have little to look at the cool surroundings or characters. There are cut scenes in GHWT, but not in RB2. If you hit the drums when their are no drums playing in a song, the graphic drums for GHWT on-screen animate. That’s cool to see the graphics respond to what you hit. I don’t see that effect in RB2. Both games have some synchronization issues where drums you are playing do not always match up in game (which is poor).

    Let me sum up my thoughts. I don’t know for sure why I can play RB2 for several hours, only to want more. With GHWT, I pick and choose prefabricated set lists and log off after a set or two. I can say that poorly charted drum songs are a killer for me. If I feel like I’m playing a video game, versus actually playing the drums…I’d rather play Grand Theft Auto IV. For some reason, GHWT feels more like a game and less like a real music experience. RB2 feels like a real music experience, and I know that I’m actually practicing songs as if I were playing them on a real drum kit.

    I hardly ever play guitar on these games, so I won’t comment on that.

    I know most of our readers are RB2 players, though I’d love to hear from a GHWT aficionado and figure what I’m missing.


    4 responses to “Why I Love Rock Band 2, but Dislike Guitar Hero World Tour” RSS icon

    • I agree with you almost in everything. but really, there is not wrong or right, just different play styles.

    • Being a fellow drummer, my main problem with GHWT is the wider window for hitting a note and having it register as “correct.” It gives me a very disconnected feeling from the game because I’ll know I’m off rhythm just a bit but I’m still keeping my streak. The problem really arises when you get off just enough to stop registering as correct… Then it takes less than 5 seconds to fail out.

      There is also a distinct lack of feedback to let you know when you’re messing up. The note bar just kind of turns red and suddenly your game is over. In general the whole interface is terrible. It’s tough to tell what your multiplier is at a quick glance, same with how much star power you have. And don’t even get me started on activating star power with the two cymbals… Good idea, atrocious implementation since 9 times out of 10 you will lose your multiplier doing it. Another terrible implementation is the freestyle drum fills. Could the sounds they mapped to the toms and snare be any worse? Rock Band 1 & 2 had fantastic samples for their freestyle sections while GHWT’s lack any sort of bass or punch in general. They sound terrible, almost like the drums in Abnormality’s Visions, to be honest.

      I really want to like GHWT since it has 311, Van Halen and Tool, all of whom I’d love to see in RB. But the way the game plays just doesn’t feel right. Similar to what you’ve said, GHWT to me feels like you’re pressing buttons in time to a song. On the other hand, Rock Band really nails the feeling that you’re actually making the music happen.

    • Maki,

      Did you get a new blog or site? What’s BMFcast?

    • I still have my old blog, I just never write for it anymore. BMFCast is a podcast my friends and I started doing where we watch terrible movies and make fun of them. It’s good times!

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