Rock Band 4 vs Guitar Hero Live: Who Will Win?

All the details we know about Rock Band 4 and Guitar Hero Live are here. Who's going to win?

The battle of the bands is back in full swing! Both Guitar Hero Live and Rock Band 4 have been announced for a late 2015 release.

Back in the late 2000's, the world was split between the two franchises, swearing their loyalty to one while cursing the other. Unfortunately, neither quite won the battle, as both franchises met a very abrupt and tragic end in 2009. But, they're both back, and Harmonix and Activision are promising a total revitalization of their respective series. We're here to compare what we know so far about each game, and to decide which is best suited to win the war. 

Rock Band 4

  • Uses same basic mechanics of prior games in series
  • Removing "pro" modes featured in Rock Band 3 in order to focus on the core gameplay elements
  • Working on carrying over DLC library for those who purchased songs for Rock Band 3
  • New guitar and drum peripherals developed by Mad Catz with reduced wireless latency, and a more sensitive tilt sensor for the guitar
  • The keytar has been dropped, but the mic is still included
  • This will be the only Rock Band on 8th generation consoles, as Harmonix plans on supporting the game through the consoles' life cycles with updates and DLC
  • Improved graphics and 3D models that take advantage of the new consoles' hardware
  • Coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One
  • Will release a band bundle with the game, guitar, drums, and mic as well as a guitar only bundle

Guitar Hero Live

  • Only uses a guitar
  • All new guitar with a 2x3 fret layout which makes the game easier for newcomers and more difficult for masters
  • GH Live mode gets rid of 3D models in favor of filmed, live crowds and band mates that react in real-time to your performance
  • GH Live features members from bands Broken Tide, Blackout Conspiracy, Portland Cloud Orchestra, The Jephson Hangout, and Our Pasts Collide
  • GH TV mode alternatively has you playing with music videos in the background
  • In GH TV, you can quickly change between channels (songs) to play another with its music video in the background
  • GH TV features a continuously updated library of songs
  • GH TV features online competitive play and a leaderboard
  • Coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Wii U, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and select mobile devices

In comparison, Guitar Hero Live is actively trying to fix the downfalls it saw with the entire genre, directing it more toward its original goal of making people feel like rock stars. Alternatively, Rock Band is simply pulling back from the additional modes and peripherals that muddled the core gameplay. However, Harmonix does have a leg up, as Rock Band 4 will (probably) be compatible with older controllers already sitting in thousands of homes across the world while Guitar Hero Live requires the purchase of a brand new peripheral. Then again, it is only the guitar. 

There is definitely room to argue, but our bet is on Guitar Hero Live. From what we know now, it seems like Activision has really considered and attempted to make up for the shortcoming of the game's predecessors. Additionally, the GH Live and GH TV modes seem fit to develop alongside this console generation.

Who is your vote on? Do you think history will repeat itself, and they'll both fail? Let us know down below!

Featured Contributor

Amaad Delmar is a senior double majoring in Game Design and Creative Writing (May 2015 graduate). He's an avid gamer, and narrative creationist. Amaad's favorite game is the best game ever made (whether you like it or not): The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

Published Apr. 19th 2015

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