For two years now, Guitar Hero has ruled the music genre with a fret-blazing iron fist. That reign is now contested by Rock Band, which happens to come from the same guys who made Guitar Hero what it is today. Now that their creation is in the hands of another studio, who's to know which team brings the rock?
For the answer, we turn to our custom-built comparison videos that split the screen right down the middle - Guitar Hero III on the left, Rock Band on the right. The two games share six songs, so we played them on hard and stacked them against each other with the actual song playing over them. We're mainly curious to see who gets the song right. Is it Harmonix at Rock Band or Neversoft at Guitar Hero?
"When You Were Young" by The Killers
Our first test shows Guitar Hero III sending several more notes down the track. Where Rock Band has one, Guitar Hero generally has two, and the more melodic spots seem truer to real guitar play than Rock Band's simpler pattern.
"Sabotage" by Beastie Boys
Eerily identical. Certain areas of both contain more notes than the other, but overall it balances out. The similarities here are quite understandable considering how straightforward the song's riffs are.
"Cherub Rock" by The Smashing Pumpkins
Much harder on Guitar Hero III. It throws three-note chords at you right away, while Rock Band sticks to typical two-note chords.
Continue on for the next three songs - and a very telling comparison.