Rhythm games were all the rage for a few years around a decade ago. Among the crowded field were two titans hovering above the rest, Guitar Hero and Rock Band. The former kick started the music game revolution, and the latter came in right at its peak. Debates raged as to which one was better.
Now that the dust has settled, let's try and take a more objective look at the two, pointing out five things Guitar Hero does better than Rock Band, and five things at which the latter is superior. Regardless of where personal preference lies, both series provide endless of entertainment.
10 Guitar Hero: Did It First
True, Guitar Hero came out in 2005 and Rock Band unleashed itself in 2007, but this fact comes with some additional explaining. Harmonix developed the first game in the series before their partner, RedOctane, was bought by Activision along with the series. The company then sold itself to MTV Networks where it started work on Rock Band.
While one may say the Guitar Hero franchise deserves credit for popularizing the genre, one has to realize the series' genesis and mention Harmonix as well, and not Activision or the current state of the franchise.
9 Rock Band: Library Of Songs
Rock Band's song catalog is unspeakably massive. Anyone playing since the beginning had the ability to export all the game's set lists throughout the different iterations, with the exception of The Beatles Rock Band. Almost all the DLC throughout the years has carried over, meaning songs bought twelve years ago are still playable in Rock Band 4.
For those who regularly purchased tunes, any other rhythm game simply cannot hold a candle to it. The sheer variety also makes it the perfect choice for parties and a way to have fun with those who don't typically play video games.
8 Guitar Hero: Focus On Difficulty
This was a common point in schoolyard arguments back in 2007. Sure, Rock Band has all the instruments, but Guitar Hero is more hard core for those slinging the plastic axe as their weapon of choice. They had a point, too. The original Rock Band's library was brimming with classics, but none of the songs held a candle to Guitar Hero 3's toughest tunes in terms of difficulty.
Activision's series continued this trend, being more about the challenge while Rock Band focused on a varied library for everyone to enjoy. Of course, now that Harmonix's game has thousands of songs, including famously punishing tunes from Guitar Hero, this advantage is a non issue.
7 Rock Band: Vocals
Vocals in the Guitar Hero series never felt right. Rock Band, on the other hand, had it down pat since the beginning. They weren't content simply resting on their laurels, however. in The Beatles Rock Band they added vocal harmony support, which made its way into the mainline titles.
Rock Band 4 retrofitted the existing library with them and also let players add freestyle vocals, providing points in certain songs if the singer sang a different line as long as it was musically appropriate.
6 Guitar Hero: Art Style
Rock Band goes for a more realistic feel in its art design so the aesthetic doesn't get in the way of the songs. For those yearning for something more colorful, Guitar Hero delivers in full.
The venues are all uniquely designed, and the characters pop more on stage. One could even make an argument for the tracks where the notes show up looking more appealing than in its competitor series.
5 Rock Band: Controllers
Harmonix's controllers started out inferior, but they always took time to iterate on the design as new games came out. By the time special edition versions of the guitars and drums released for The Beatles Rock Band, the peripherals were far superior to its brethren.
The buttons on the guitars are closer together, making sliding up and down easier. While Guitar Hero's drums had cymbals, an expansion and pro mode came along to add the same feature to Rock Band.
4 Guitar Hero: Guest Stars
In each game, guest stars came out to perform their classic tunes. Throughout the years, legends like Slash, Kurt Cobain, Johnny Cash, and Shirley Manson would grace the stage in their virtual avatar to rock out to their creations.
While only a video game, seeing them still felt special. It also shows how much variety was in these set lists when stars from different generations were showcased in the same title.
3 Rock Band: Beneath The Tuneage
Rock Band 4's first major update added a story mode called Beneath the Tuneage. The parody of Behind the Music follows a fictional band's rise to stardom, fall from grace, and eventual reunion.
The interludes between songs feature mock interviews with real musicians, and players' choices and performance results effects the story. It is a fun new way to go through the songs, and the fake documentary's sincerity is a reminder of how genuine the folks at Harmonix are in their love for music.
2 Guitar Hero: Some Exclusive Songs
Despite Rock Band's gargantuan library, some songs are still stuck in the Guitar Hero franchise. Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen, for example, is in Guitar Hero, but the legendary artist is still absent from the other franchise.
One would expect such a legend to have already made an appearance in Rock Band by now. Dire Straights are another one that still hasn't shown up. Until they make it in, this is something Guitar Hero will always have over its competitor.
1 Rock Band: Still Chugging Along
Harmonix views Rock Band as more of a platform than a game. This explains their dedication to getting all the DLC playable in Rock Band 4. They took a break from weekly DLC offerings a few years after Rock Band 3 came out, but they resumed the process when the most recent entry released and they haven't let up yet.
People decry the genre as dead and worthless, but enough people must be playing and supporting it to allow Harmoix's continued updates. Hopefully the support continues for years to come. Guitar Hero's only current generation iteration is Guitar Hero Live, which came and went with little fanfare.