Rock Band vs Guitar Hero: Which One Is Better in 2023?

Table of Contents

If you’re curious about a Rock Band vs Guitar Hero comparison, you’ve come to the right post!

Both games allow users to mimic playing musical instruments while singing along to vintage and contemporary rock music.

Let’s dive in to how these games are similar and how they are different!

Will Guitar Hero work on PS5?

Unfortunately, the only Guitar Hero game that works on the PS5 is Guitar Hero Live.

Also, since no new games or controllers are being produced, the after-market ones like this one are very expensive:

Guitar Hero Live w/ Guitar Controller Bundle - PlayStation 4

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However, you can still play Rock Band 4 on PS5, and new songs are still being added to its library!

Rock Band 4 Wireless Guitar Bundle - PlayStation 4

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A Brief History of the Franchises

Harmonix Music Systems created Rock Band in 2007.

Due to its unique gaming elements and the possibility for players to use instruments to play along with the music, it soon developed a following.

Guitar Hero, developed by Harmonix’s former partner, Neversoft, came out in 2005.

It offered similar gameplay but focused on the guitar.

Both franchises have had many iterations, each with new features and song selections.

Jamming Through the Ages: Compatible Consoles for Guitar Hero and Rock Band

Some of the consoles that have supported Guitar Hero and Rock Band games include:

  1. PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation 4
  2. Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox One
  3. Nintendo Wii (Rock Band 1 not supported)

However, except for the specific games noted above, these games are incompatible starting with more recent consoles like the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S.

Impact on the Gaming Industry

Both games affected the gaming industry, helping popularize music as a gaming genre.

Guitar Hero, in particular, was a commercial success, with several sequels and spin-offs.

At the same time, Rock Band provided a more enticing experience for players of other instruments.

It uses more instruments, and it has more multiplayer capabilities.

Yet, the genre’s popularity declined in the mid-2010s, with both games discontinued.

Nevertheless, Guitar Hero and Rock Band significantly impacted the gaming industry.

They paved the way for future music rhythm games.

Popularity Over the Years

Guitar Hero and Rock Band enjoyed enormous success upon their initial releases.

They’ve sold millions of copies and inspired several follow-ups.

Nevertheless, their appeal started to wane when the music rhythm game market slowed, and players seemingly lost interest.

After a five-year absence, the Rock Band series was revived with the 2015 release of Rock Band 4.

Critics gave the game favorable reviews and praised its new features and upgraded graphics.

But it was not as well-received as its predecessors.

Guitar Hero was also revived in 2015 with the release of Guitar Hero Live, which received mixed reviews, and many considered it a commercial failure.

The Guitar Hero franchise ended when the game was terminated in 2018.

Rock Band vs Guitar Hero: Basic Gameplay Mechanics

Rock Band allows players to simulate playing guitar, bass, and drums and singing along to a variety of songs.

The gameplay involves hitting notes in time with the music and can be played solo or with friends.

On the other hand, Guitar Hero focuses solely on guitar gameplay.

Players hit colored buttons on a plastic guitar controller to match the notes on the screen.

Both games offer various difficulty levels to cater to players of different skill levels.

Rock Band vs Guitar Hero: What’s the Difference?

Although Rock Band and Guitar Hero share similarities, their gameplay mechanics differ.

Whereas Rock Band has a full band setup with drums, vocals, and bass, Guitar Hero concentrates solely on the guitar as the main instrument.

The more accurately you perform, the higher your score will be.

Gamers must hit the right notes that match the music on the screen.

Guitar Hero’s simplified gameplay style centered on the guitar makes it perfect for beginners or casual players.

On the other hand, Rock Band can have a steeper learning curve since it requires players to master multiple instruments.

Playing Instruments vs Playing Guitar

The guitar is the primary emphasis of Guitar Hero’s gameplay.

The notes and chords seen on the screen are played by the players using a controller designed to look like a guitar.

On the other hand, Rock Band provides a more all-encompassing experience. 

Players can select from playing the guitar, bass, drums, or singing.

The variety of instruments makes the gameplay more exciting and complex, but it is also more challenging to master.

Rock Band vs Guitar Hero: Levels of Difficulty

Both games offer several difficulty settings for players to choose from.

Although Rock Band’s difficulty curve is more intricate and varied than Guitar Hero.

Guitar Hero bases its difficulty levels mostly on the speed and complexity of the notes.

In comparison, Rock Band bases it on the instrument being played.

For instance, playing the drums might be more complex in Rock Band than playing the guitar in a more complicated, challenging setting.

Rock Band vocals are also tricky because they call for players to sing along with the music while hitting the right notes and keeping their pitch.

Rock Band vs Guitar Hero: How Many Songs Are Offered?

Rock Band leads when it comes to the number of songs offered.

Including both downloadable and on-disc content, the game has a vast music collection with over 4,000 tracks.

In contrast, the music selection in Guitar Hero is considerably less, with only about 500 songs in total.

Rock Band vs Guitar Hero: Range of Genres

While Rock Band has a more extensive selection of songs, Guitar Hero has a more diverse range of genres.

Guitar Hero features everything from classic rock and metal to pop and electronic music.

Rock Band mainly focuses on rock music with occasional forays into other genres.

Licensed Tracks vs Cover Versions

One of the most significant differences between the two games is licensed tracks versus cover versions.

Rock Band features original master recordings of popular songs.

And Guitar Hero often uses cover versions.

This can be a deal-breaker for some players who prefer the authenticity of the original tracks.

Rock Band vs Guitar Hero: Multi-player Options

Now, let’s take a look at their multi-player options.

Co-op Play

Cooperative play is one of Rock Band’s biggest advantages over Guitar Hero.

Up to four players may form a whole Rock Band band, each member playing a unique part.

On the other hand, other players have few opportunities to participate in Guitar Hero.

The gameplay mostly focuses on playing the guitar.

Rock Band is the best option if you want to enjoy the experience with your pals.

Competitive Play

Both games have advantages if you’re more interested in playing against your buddies.

Players can compete head-to-head on the same song in Guitar Hero’s unique competitive mode, striving to outdo each other’s scores.

And Rock Band features a “Battle of the Bands” mode where teams can compete against one another.

It also uses a more conventional score-based system.

Online Play

Let’s finally discuss online gaming.

Rock Band triumphs in this division.

Rock Band offers a more robust internet infrastructure than Guitar Hero.

It enables players to play with anyone, anywhere, and globally while Guitar Hero’s online functionality is far more limited.

Also, Rock Band’s DLC library is more extensive, offering over 4,000 tracks for purchase and playback.

The Pros and Cons: Rock Band

Two names come to mind when discussing music video games: Rock Band and Guitar Hero.

Both franchises allow players to pretend to be rock stars while relaxing in their living rooms.

But which is superior? Let’s look at it.

The whole band experience is what Rock Band is all about.

Gamers can create their own virtual band.

They can perform with instruments like the guitar, percussion, and vocals.

This fantastic party game encourages social interaction because of the multiplayer option.

Also, there is something for everyone due to the variety of musical styles and genres.

However, Rock Band also has significant drawbacks.

For players on a tight budget, it can be challenging to enjoy the complete experience because the accessories and DLCs can be pricey.

Also, learning to play the drums, in particular, can be challenging for beginners.

Rock Band 3 - Xbox 360 (Game) (Renewed)

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The Pros and Cons: Guitar Hero

Let’s now discuss Guitar Hero.

Unlike Rock Band, Guitar Hero entirely focuses on the guitar.

Players can fulfill their ambitions of being the guitar hero with a specific guitar accessory that simulates the real thing.

It’s ideal for enthusiasts of the genre and focuses on rock music.

Which is, therefore, superior?

Personal preference is what matters most in the end.

Consider Rock Band for a large song selection and the whole band experience.

Go for Guitar Hero if fulfilling your ambitions of being a guitar hero is more important to you.

Regardless, both franchises provide rock music lovers with a satisfying and engaging musical experience.

Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock - Nintendo Wii (Game only) (Renewed)

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Learning Music and Musical Instruments

Both Rock Band and Guitar Hero are likely familiar to music lovers who want to learn how to play an instrument.

With the release of Rock Band in 2007 and Guitar Hero in 2005, these two video games have been around for more than several years.

Both may provide enjoyable ways to engage with music.

But, there is a continuous discussion regarding which game is more effective at teaching true musical abilities.

Rock Band’s Features and Benefits for Aspiring Musicians

Let’s start with Rock Band.

Its complete drum set, microphone, and guitar controller are this game’s most significant selling points.

This means that players can try drumming and singing in addition to guitar playing.

Of course, playing Rock Band won’t make you an expert drummer or singer overnight.

But it can definitely help with rhythm and pitch recognition.

Players must hit notes in time with the music, which can improve their sense of timing and overall feel for the song.

Additionally, Rock Band’s drum set resembles the arrangement of a real drum kit.

This can help players get a basic understanding of drumming patterns and techniques.

That said, playing this video game won’t automatically give you musical instrument skills.

It’s only mildly helpful for the total musical beginner.

And ultimately, training in any one of the instruments the game offers would be more helpful in cultivating actual musical ability in that instrument or with your voice.

Guitar Hero In Learning Music Skills

As mentioned, the focus of Guitar Hero is playing the guitar.

Players press buttons on the included guitar controller in sync with the notes displayed on the screen.

This simulates the layout of a real guitar.

Guitar Hero won’t actually teach players how to play the guitar, but it can improve hand-eye coordination and finger dexterity.

Players must move their fingers quickly and accurately to hit the right notes.

This can improve their overall skill and hand strength.

Additionally, the game offers different difficulty levels.

It can challenge players to learn new fingerings and note patterns.

However, critics have criticized both games for not teaching fundamental musical skills.

While Rock Band may help with rhythm and pitch recognition, it doesn’t offer good drumming or singing technique instruction.

Similarly, while Guitar Hero may improve finger dexterity, it doesn’t teach players how to read sheet music or play actual chords on a real guitar.

Your objectives will ultimately determine whether Rock Band or Guitar Hero is superior for learning musical talents.

Rock Band can be a better option if you want to try several instruments and develop your general sense of rhythm and timing.

If you’re primarily interested in playing the guitar and want to increase your finger dexterity, Guitar Hero might be a better fit.

Regardless of the game you select, remember that it cannot substitute actual music lessons and practice because it is only a game.

Rock Band vs Guitar Hero: Final Thoughts

These games provide players with a sense of accomplishment.

They simulate the experience of performing music.

They can aid in developing abilities like hand-eye coordination, timing, and rhythm and expose players to the principles of playing a musical instrument, such as the guitar.

However, playing these games is not a replacement for the study and practice required to become excellent at playing a real instrument.

Still, they will get a different degree of technique, skill, or understanding from practicing on a real guitar or other instruments.

Despite this, playing Rock Band or Guitar Hero may be a fun and exciting approach to encourage a love of music in players of all ages.

It might even ignite a passion for music that lasts a lifetime.

Do you still play these games in 2023?

What has been your experience with them?

Let me know in the comments!

One Response

  1. Guitar Hero has the option to add drums too…

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