This is our first head-to-head review here at pure nintendo. Basically, I’m going to break down the features of each game and compare each aspect head-to-head at the end of the review.

Guitar Hero World Tour

World Tour is the 4th major version in the Guitar Hero franchise and the first to offer a complete band mode to keep up with Rock Band. One of the first things you’ll notice about World Tour is the all new interface and added tweaks for multiple instrument ‘lanes’ on screen at the same time. If you’ve played any of the previous GH games, you’ll feel right at home in World Tour.


While the gameplay is very similar to previous Guitar Hero games, there are plenty of new features to keep things interesting. Most notably is the guitar that comes with World Tour. It features a secondary area on the fret board that is touch-sensitive for doing solos in different songs. You can just tap your fingers or you can slide you finger up and down depending on how difficult the solo is for a song. Another addition is a new type of note where you hold down a key then strum other notes while still holding the first note. It sounds a little complicated, but it’s really similar to doing a hammer-on just without picking up your finger on the first note.


One of the other things you’ll notice about the Wii version is the overall lack of improvement in the graphics department. While it doesn’t really affect gameplay negatively, it’s still annoying seeing highly pixelated crowds jumping up and down on the screen or levels that look like N64 games. One ‘advantage’ of the lower graphics is that lag during a song is basically gone. I don’t recall ever seeing the game lag during a difficult song or even in multiplayer. Still, the Wii is capable graphically of much more than shown, despite whatever framerate issues the developers were trying to avoid.


The song selection in Guitar Hero World Tour is by far the best in the series. With over 80 songs on disk and many more available through the online store, there are plenty of songs to keep you busy mastering for a long time. The mix of classic rock songs and hits from the 90s made this the most fun Guitar Hero for me as a fan of Smashing Pumpkins, Jimmy Eat World, and Blink-182.


If you were able to get the full band kit for World Tour, you found that Guitar Hero is definitely up to the challenge of going against Rock Band. The game comes with the aforementioned guitar, wireless drums, and a wired/USB mic. The drum set for World Tour is really quite good since it separates the cymbals out from the drums to at least ‘feel’ like a real drum set. World Tour also has some tutorials to help you learn some basic drum techniques as well. The new guitar is a nice step up from the GH3 guitar with its added touch-buttons on the fret board and bigger body.

Guitar Hero World Tour also features a complete music creator/editor program.  You can create your own tracks with all of the instruments, and even upload/share them online.

GH Multiplayer

World Tour, just like previous GH games, derives most of its fun from the multiplayer modes. All the modes from previous GH games are here and even some new ones like online band co-op mode and battle of the bands. The co-op modes are really the most fun because you can hook up with anybody else online or your friends to play through a few sets. We’re all pretty spread out here at pure nintendo, so it’s cool to connect with a couple of the guys with the drums while I play the guitar or bass.

Rock Band 2

The latest Rock Band for Wii came out just before Christmas and it’s a good step up from the first one. The first Rock Band for the Wii launched without many of the features of its 360 and PS3 brothers. This time around, Harmonix brought the Wii all the features of the other versions such as online multiplayer, battle of the bands, and downloadable content (not available as of Jan 13, 2009 Update: It’s now available! ).


Rock Band 2 is a lot of fun to play. The gameplay is very, very similar to Guitar Hero, but there are some unique differences. For instance, each song has a ‘solo’ section where a certain instrument has a solo part to play through. You’re still graded on the percentage of notes you hit, but it gives you a bonus for doing particularly well for a solo part. The cool thing is that it could be a guitar solo, bass solo, or even a drum solo (my personal favorite). I also think that the drum arrangements for songs are a little more developed in Rock Band 2 and offer more variety than Guitar Hero.

The graphics in Rock Band 2 are definitely very slick. The interface is clean and easy to use. Graphics during a song are also done well, and don’t detract from the overall experience of playing a song. The progression in the game allows you to choose which city you want to travel to for a gig. More gigs gives you more money and even more gigs. The character creator in RB2 is one of the best I’ve seen in a game. Almost everything about your character can be customized and the graphics are sharp.

Rock Band 2 promises to have over 200 songs once the DLC is all available, but currently there are just over 80 songs available on the disc. The selection is pretty good, and a lot of the same classics from World Tour are on RB2 as well. Don’t worry though, there are plenty of new tracks in RB2 to keep you busy if you’ve already played through GH:World Tour. Once the DLC is available, there will be a lot to choose from in the coming months.

Instruments for Rock Band 2 are virtually unchanged, but the really cool thing about RB2 is the compatibility with Guitar Hero instruments. The GH guitar, drums, and mic all work with Rock Band 2 very well, maybe even more so than the RB instruments.

Finally, the multiplayer modes in Rock Band 2 are very similar to World Tour’s selection. Battle of the bands and band co-op modes are all there as well as local multiplayer options.

Head to Head Breakdown

Winner: Tie

Winner: Rock Band 2

Winner so far: Guitar Hero World Tour

Winner: Rock Band 2

Winner: Guitar Hero World Tour

Song Selection
Winner: Rock Band 2

Winner: Guitar Hero World Tour

Replay Value
Winner: Tie

Verdict: Both Guitar Hero: World Tour and Rock Band 2 are great sequels to both franchises. With GH instruments being compatible with RB2, there’s no reason not to get RB2 if you have World Tour. You get some new songs and you get a better single-player experience. So if you’ve got the cash, get World Tour and then get RB2 when you’re ready for some new songs.