Battle of the Bands: Guitar Hero Live vs Rock Band 4

Rock Band 4 vs Guitar Hero Live

The same goes for the guitars. Guitar Hero's use of six buttons in two rows of three requires more concentration than Rock Band, which sticks with the five coloured buttons down one end and five for soloing higher up. After playing Guitar Hero, Rock Band felt kind of shallow.

That's not to say that Guitar Hero is perfect. Maybe it's the rock purist in me, but something about playing guitar in time to the electronic beeps and squeals from Skrillex's latest abomination really irked me. There's a reason DJ Hero never really took off.

While my guitar gently beeps

Nick: I found the two rows of buttons on the Guitar Hero controller incredibly challenging at first. It was like my brain had to almost completely rewire itself in order to make them shift up and down.

But I didn't get bored by Rock Band. I actually felt that the Rock Band Guitar was significantly better in almost every way.

I really hated the "clickety-clack" sound every time you strum on the Guitar Hero guitar, and the fact you have to stick a Bluetooth dongle into the PS4 in order to use it feels very last-gen. Given the Rock Band instruments manage to connect without taking up a USB port, this really just seems like laziness.

I also enjoyed the new freestyle solo element of Rock Band, which introduces a new rhythm element and the five higher buttons up the neck.

I definitely don't think the Rock Band guitar is worth double the cost of Guitar Hero Live's guitar (which is what it costs in shops around here), but it certainly did have a quality advantage over Activision's unit. Nailing a solo section in Rock Band felt way more satisfying for me than in Guitar Hero.

Rock Band 4 vs Guitar Hero Live

Less appealing, I think across both games, is the track listing. The fact of the matter is I didn't recognise the vast majority of songs in either game. But that said, I really like Guitar Hero's approach: short sets with different bands to unlock songs, or jump into GH Live TV, which is like interactive 80s MTV on crack.

Rock Band does have the benefit of porting old downloaded tracks forward (so long as you've stayed in the same console family), but given my Best of Bon Jovi DLC from Rock Band 3 is on Xbox 360 and I was testing on PS4, that's not something I could take advantage of.

Stephen: I completely agree with you about the Rock Band 4 guitar. I actually really dislike the new button layout on the Guitar Hero axe, and find that its build quality makes it feels like a cheap toy.

While I find that Rock Band 4's on-disc tracklist is severely lacking in quality songs, things do get much better once you've brought your old DLC purchases back into the fold.

Annoyingly, there is no option to automatically download these songs. You actually have to manually scroll through over 1,300 tracks in order to find the ones you've purchased before. this feels like poor design on Harmonix's part.

Thankfully, this gives you the opportunity to grab a few other tracks that you may have missed last generation.

Sure enough, you'd have to spend a significant amount of money to get a tracklist that rivals what's available in Guitar Hero Live's TV mode, but the fact that Harmonix actually uses 4-track masters for all of its songs, and that it uses, in my opinion, vastly superior note charts, makes it much better overall.

We should also compare the vocals in each game. In Rock Band, it feels like a significant part of the overall experience, whereas in Guitar Hero, it feels tacked-on and mostly worthless.