Rock Band for the Wii from scratch

About six months or so ago, I started a thread here asking for advice on what platform I should be getting if I wanted to get Guitar Hero. I got a lot of good information, none of which I actually used, because I kept putting off the decision. Well, as often happens when I fail to make a decision, it has been made for me: I just found out my wife’s parents are buying the Wii for our kids this Christmas. So this time I’m actually going to follow through – I swear.

So here’s the situation – I’ve played Guitar Hero a couple of times. I’ve never played Rock Band. I own nothing related to either game, so I’m starting from scratch. A few questions:

  1. In my earlier thread, it became apparent that most people thought that Rock Band was superior to Guitar Hero. Is that still the case?

  2. I’ve heard lots of good things about The Beatles version of Rock Band, but it’s unclear to me whether the game itself is superior to the standard Rock Band, or if everyone is excited just because they get to play Beatles songs. I like the Beatles as much as the next guy, but if the only difference is the songs, I’m kind of thinking I’d want a more generic game – more variety. Is this dumb?

  3. If I don’t want to get the Beatles version, which version of Rock Band do I want?

  4. Obviously I have none of the instruments/controllers. Are they all basically the same, or are there some I should avoid? Are there some I should seek out? Should I get a bundle that includes the game and the instruments, or should I get them separately?

Also, if there’s anything else I should know, that would be appreciated.


#1. No idea. I like the catalog better overall in Rock Band than in GH.

#2. I think TB:RB is awesome because it’s the Beatles, but I do prefer more variety. So I have both games.

#3. You want Rock Band 2; it allows for online group play in addition to in-person group play. You can choose to get the RB1 game disc and import those songs, in addition to the songs available via “track pack” discs and for purchase and download online.

#4. Check for available bundles - a lot of places had sales in conjunction with the release of The Beatles: Rock Band. Try for a RB2 bundle to try to ensure you get the most recent instrument versions - I’m sure there’s a resource out there somewhere that lists the versions for Wii; I have the PS3 game. Most bundles will have a guitar/bass (one unit works for either), mic, and drum kit.

Rock Band equipment will work across all Rock Band games. I do not know if they’ll work for Guitar Hero. (Anyone know? Anyone know for PS3?)

Also to reiterate what Ferret Herder said - you can get the game discs alone if you want. So you’re not popping for $100 each time you want a new edition. For Guitar Hero, many times they’ll package a game with a guitar, in case you wanted to get a second guitar.

My personal view is yes and the broad consensus of nerds on the Internet seem to agree with me.

Of course not. Rock Band: The Beatles has two things going for it: the best songs ever written and the best production values of any of the games. It’s been the only edition of these games where I actually know more than two or three songs in the game but if that’s not the case for you then variety is a huge selling point.

Rock Band 2. No question.

The official instruments are worlds better than the off brand ones. They sell a bundle of them (one guitar, one drum set, one mike, and the game) for about $170 but you can easily find it cheaper. I found the official instruments for the Wii about two weeks ago for $10 each at a going out of business sale, for example.

Guitar Hero controllers will work with Rock Band 2 though I’m not sure the reverse is true.

The Rock Band 2 drumset for the Wii is wireless while the Rock Band 1 drumset is wired. On the other hand the Rock Band 1 drumset can now be bought at a fraction of the price if you want to do things piecemeal.

Rock Band 1 on the Wii is an acceptable experience but it is a stripped down version of the game that other consoles got (you get all the songs but none of the create a band features). Rock Band 2 on the other hand is full featured.

As others have said, if you buy a Rock Band package with drums and guitar, it is compatible across other Rock Band releases. Here is a compatibility chart.

I have The Beatles: Rock Band for Wii and was totally blown away… I think this is a good start: the songs are fun and a bit easier to play. There are some differences with TB:RB… so far it is the only release with 3 part vocals. The production values are exceptional. For the people that treat it like a game there are 45 songs to 3 start/5 star/gold star, 8 chapters to conquer, 8 chapter challenges and dozens of other challenges. See this link.

Okay, Meltdown, first off, don’t trust a consensus any more than you can throw it, and that goes a hundred times over for nerd consenses. Demand an explanation. I’ve heard a multitude of VG-related consenses in my life, and pretty much every single one of them is a complete 180 from what I believe. Don’t ever abandoned your eyes and ears, no matter how great the temptation gets. Once you start letting others decide what you think, there’s no turning back.

How old are you? The reason there was so much buzz about The Beatles is because this band was so incredibly hot while it was playing. Which was the late 60’s and early 70’s. If you weren’t there when it happened, you can’t understand what a mind-blowing time Beatlemania was. I wasn’t, and I don’t.

The strange thing is, I hear all the time about they’re the most influential band of all time and great and the standard all other rock bands are measured against and a monumental super mega awesome turning point in musical etc. etc…not one word about how enjoyable playing the songs on a video game is. (Or playing them on acutal instruments, for that matter.) Some of my favorite songs on both Guitar Hero and Rock Band are from bands I’d never heard of in my life: Story of My Life, Holy Diver, Radar Love, Time We Had, Holiday In Cambodia, E-Pro, and many others.

Which, I suppose, brings me to my point, that Beatles sounds to me like an incredibly lousy place to start, because it’s one band and one sound. Remember how I cited the sameness of the music as the reason I wasn’t going to get into Guitar Hero* even though it should’ve been a no-brainer for a rabid Bemani fan like me? Well, this is actually true for Beatles. You don’t even get guest acts like on GH’s three single band-themed games.

I mean, if you’re heard their music and enjoy it, it’s definitely worth it (and from what I’ve seen, the programmers really put a lot of thought into it), but make it your second game.

So yeah, 2 is the best place to start, but I absolutely recommend also picking up the first game cheap (which should be really easy now). Whether you want to get the whole package in one go or build your set piecemeal is up to you. For drums, you want a 2nd or later generation official Rock Band drum kit; nothing else is any good. Even if you already have a quality GH drum kit, get the real deal for RB; you’ll be happy for it later. As for the guitar, dry-run a number of models and see what you’re most comfortable with. Personally, I don’t like RB’s Stratocaster at all (strum bar doesn’t return to center correctly, fret keys a bit stiff, and the whole thing feels really cheap and flimsy overall), and my fancy-pantsy RedOctane guitar registers lots of phantom strums and I can never get the slider bar to work right. If there isn’t a specific reason you want frets low on the neck or a dedicated star power/overdrive button, I recommend a plain 'ol GH wireless. Any microphone is fine.

Unless you get the special Track Pack disks (I’m pretty sure they’re standalone, but they’re only 20 songs per), you have to go to the online store to get more songs. There are a lot to choose from, but they’re quite expensive compared to the default setlists. You don’t get to see the notecharts before buying, so make sure it’s a song you like. Buying a whole album or track pack at once will save you some bucks.

Aside from the ones already mentioned, the only other in-store game right now is the Lego one; as you might guess, this one’s more kid-oriented (something of a challenge to Band Hero). There’s reports that Guitar Hero 3 is in development. If you become fan of this game, you might want to wait you have that one before attempting to transfer anything between games. (The difference in interfaces is subtle, but definitely there.)

As for whether this is superior than Guitar Hero? If you’re playing solo, there’s no discernible difference. If you’re playing in a band, well…I have no idea. I’ve played both for several months now, and if there is some grand distinction, it’s completely eluded me. (Other than that Judy Nails is hot. :slight_smile: )

Hope that helps. I have a feeling you’re going to love this game. Really, there isn’t much to not love.

  • Just for the record, I had played it, but only briefly…someone else’s copy at a relative’s house. Mistake admitted and corrected, a’ight?

While I haven’t played RB2, I have played RB, TB:RB, GH:WT and GH5, and for me, the gameplay in the Guitar Hero games is far superior to that in the Rockband ones. The “highway” graphics on GH are better, making it easier to see and time notes correctly, not to mention the better visibility of hammer-ons and pull-offs. The addition of playing additional notes and chords while a previous note is sustained makes all the difference to feeling as much like playing a real guitar as is possible with these games, and I also love the translucent “slide” notes. Also, don’t even get me started on the drumkits.

Guitar Hero 5 has also introduced an intensity meter for all its songs, so you can judge how hard it’s going to be before you play/download.

Maybe the music selection is better in RB2, but I’d much rather be playing Guitar Hero.

Another vote for Rock Band 2. If you like Rock music, it has the best track list and gameplay.

I have GH World Tour and don’t like the track “highway” in Guitar Hero, they look like cymbals and are harder to nail than the rectangles in Rock Band. I’ve only played GH:WT a few times, I play Rock Band 2 quite often.

I played Lego Rock Band last night, and although for the most part the track list is so-so, the gameplay is very interesting with a good sense of silly humor. At the end of each venue your band plays a song with a goal in mind, like destroying a building or driving away ghosts. During the song each player does some solo sections and their percentage correct is displayed and contributes to the overall mission. And for young players, there are various settings/features to make things easier and less frustrating for them, like not having to use the kick pedal on the drum, and “failing out” not ending the song for everyone. I wasn’t crazy about the idea of Lego Rock Band, but the humor and gameplay is quite good.

Please be aware of the compatability issues

I bought the full Beatles Rockband set on impulse and have regretted it ever since. I had Guitar Hero WT with just the guitars before buying the whole Beatles set for the drum and mic. Rockband drums and guitars are not compatable with any of the current Guitar Hero games, but Guitar Hero drums and guitars will work with the Rockband 2 and Beatles RockBand. Were I to do it again, I would have bought Guitar Hero instruments so that I could play all the games with only one set of instruments. Oddly, this compatability issue is only present for the Wii versions, I believe you can use Rock Band drums on Guitar Hero with other systems.