Rock Band vs. Guitar Hero III

Nov 15, 2007

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.


  • MatthewOd - October 1, 2008 6:58 p.m.

    what this proves is that Guitar Hero: World Tour will kick Rock Band's spin-off ass
  • Ravenbom - November 1, 2008 1:45 a.m.

    Cherub Rock is actually easier to play in RL than GH3 makes it. The verse of Cherub Rock is two note chords called "octaves" while the later chords are 3 note chords called "power chords". GH3 seems to get that right, but just listening to it, it should be easy, I hope, to any non musician to hear/see that GH3 is adding so many notes that aren't there. I have GH3, not RB, but the strum bar is overused, there's not that many strums in Cherub Rock. RB has all the strums in the right place. Whatever, it's not that fun for me to play songs I already know how to play, because it screws me up. Still go with whatever you feel is most fun.
  • superkrups20056 - May 16, 2009 8:59 p.m.

    Whoever wrote this article is an idiot. He compares Rock Band to the Guitar Hero series side by side, note by note, to see which one is more challenging. In one embedded video on page two, the author is comparing the note charts of the song Reptilia. He is comparing the Expert chart on Guitar Hero to the Medium or Hard chart of Rock Band. This is a misleading article that supports Guitar Hero for the wrong reasons
  • ballplayer27 - April 4, 2009 1:33 p.m.

    Two problems. Guitar Hero III released first, so neversoft technically cannot be one upping anyone. They were out first, the only ones who can be one upping anyone are the Rock Band devs. Second, listen to the song (Reptilia). The notes are there, rock band just decides not to make you play them. It does not even look like expert on the rock band side of the screen. Guitar Hero III was truer to the songs notes in almost every case than Rock Band. Not taking into account the vocals, Bass, and Drums, guitar hero wins that round hands down.

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