Before I go any further let me say this, the blog you are about to read will be short (compared to a novel). It will also be completely opinionated based on my personal preference between the Rock Band series and the Guitar Hero series of rhythm games. My opinions will not be grand and my reasons will not be many, they will simply be mine.
But first let me start with a little background:
My first taste of rhythm games came with Elite Beat Agents for the Nintendo DS. I had never played a rhythm based game before and I had no idea if I would even be able to grasp the whole “tap to the beat” concept. See, I’m and old school gamer and had been away from the gaming scene since the PS2 launched. Needless to say that after five minutes with Elite Beat Agents I became addicted and my appetite for matching colors to musical beats needed to be quenched and quenched it would be.
A co-worker of mine was selling her PS2 with Guitar Hero 2 and the Rocks the 80’s pack; she was also throwing in the guitar that came with Guitar Hero 2, two controllers, and some extras. After debating with myself for about 5 minutes I handed her my $100.00 cash and was on my way to plastic guitar / fake rock god fame.
I picked up Guitar Hero III: Legends of rock the day it came out and played the shit out of it. It was a huge improvement over GH2, not just the graphics but the song selection and fake plastic guitar were improved as well. Just as my appetite for destruction (yea, I went there) for rhythm games was coming to an end the shit hit the fan, that shit was Rock Band and that shit my friends smelled good.
I bought Rock Band and ran home like a cub scout runs from a preacher, screaming and kicking looking for some shelter to hide his shame. But my shame knew no bounds and I was soon rocking out on the drums and guitar like I was goddamn Jimmi Hendrix reborn (although he technically did not rock the drums but he was such a fucking badass that I imagine that he could have made any drum set his bitch).
Rock Band took the “guitar” rhythm games to the next level. The songs were all master recordings. The game had crazy special effects while you played that added a depth that was lacking in the Guitar Hero series. It had drums and a microphone. It was literally a band in a box and it was good.
Now I enjoyed Rock Band, A LOT but I always found myself going back to Guitar Hero. There was just something about Guitar Hero that I enjoyed more and with the release of Rock Band 2 and Guitar Hero: World Tour I finally realized what it was.
(Here is the not so grand reasoning why).
When you play a “set” in Rock Band (1 or 2) and come to a song that had a female vocalist your band singer stayed the same, even if it was male, this also worked vice versa. I know it seems petty and small but to me it kinda makes the game seem…dumb.
On several occasions me and my virtual band mates would be rocking the fuck out of some seedy club or huge arena, my lead singer with full beard and flannel shirt, jeans ripped and hair long and unkempt belting out some Bon Jovi or Metallica, screaming his lungs out making the crowd cheer louder and louder. Then all of the sudden my manliest of manly lead singer would suddenly and without warning turn from rock legend Kurt Cobain in to Debbie Harry from Blondie or Gwen Stefani from No Doubt.
This didn’t happen in Guitar Hero. If the song switched from male to female or female to male so did the lead singer, that just makes sense.
Now I assumed that all would be fixed with the release of Rock Band 2, I’m sure other people complained and the developers took note. Nope. Sure didn’t.
So there I was playing Rock Band (and Rock Band 2) and enjoying myself but also feeling kind of let down whenever this happened, this may seem extreme but when it did happen I found myself not wanting to finish the song or continue playing. Typically I would put the guitar down and pop in Guitar Hero (if I wanted to keep virtually rocking) because I knew that transitioning from male to female would be done right and the singer would at least physically match to the singer of the song.
Like I said, this may seem like such a small petty thing to be so biased about but it is what it is.
I’ve also never really been a fan of the special effects that Rock Band brings to the table. Sure at first they seemed cool and fresh! But after a while they all started to seem the same. I found myself preferring the crisp and clean look (albeit cartoony) of the Guitar Hero series.
My last gripe and opinion on both would have to be the guitars themselves. The entire time I played Rock Band (and RB2) I used the Guitar Hero guitar. It was smaller but it felt tighter, the strum bar clicked and didn’t feel mushy like the Rock Band guitar did. Guitar Hero also came packed with a wireless guitar stock, you didn’t have to buy any special wireless third-party guitar and I enjoyed the freedom of not having to worry about tripping over or strangling someone in my house with the Rock Band guitar cord.
So there you have it; a very long lead up to a very small reason why I prefer the Guitar Hero series over Rock Band. I still play and enjoy both but I will always find a little nit more comfort in playing Guitar Hero. Whether it is due to the tighter feeling guitar or the fact that I know that if I am playing a song by Metallica the singer wont be some creepy looking chick with purple hair and a knee high skirt.
Am I the only one on this or does anyone else feel the same?