Help me parse my Rock Band options!
September 23, 2008 8:56 AM   Subscribe

Thinking about taking the Rock Band plunge, but there's so much to think about! Help me decide what to buy and when!

So after perusing the various track lists and DLC for Rock Band, it seems like it's finally time to buy, but what version to buy?

It's for Playstation 3. I've mentioned to my boyfriend that RB2 would be an excellent Xmas gift for me, but he tends to way underestimate the popularity of videogames, so if I rely on him to pick up the RB2 bundle it probably won't happen. Also might be a bit too expensive and greedy for a present.

I'd pick up the original bundle now, but I understand it has a wired guitar, which is kind of a downer. I don't care so much about wireless drums, and I've heard the RB2 drums (at least for Xbox 360) kind of suck.

So the way I see it I have a few options:

1) Buy the current bundle and deal with wired guitar
2) Buy the current game and wireless guitar now, then maybe my boy can get me the drums and RB2 disc for the holidays.
3) Wait and just buy RB2 bundle.

If I buy the parts separately, it seems I'm missing out on the microphone. Do they sell it separately, or what other mics work?

Another question (sorry, try to think of this as a massive RB infodump). - Will the original Rock Band controllers work with Guitar Hero IV when it releases, or just the RB2 ones?

I would ask if GH4 would be a better buy, but looking at the tracklists and RB's record of excellent DLC, it seems like Rock Band is the choice for me.
posted by yellowbinder to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (15 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I just play RB at friends houses and don't actually own it. BUT: I think wireless guitars are almost a requirement. Especially when you've got 4 people trying to play at once, it gets really tangley if you're jumping around with acceptible levels of ROCK with wired guitars.
posted by excitementMD at 9:02 AM on September 23, 2008

RB1 bundle for the PS3 has a wireless guitar (wired mic and drums).

I've seen the mic sold separately. I've heard that most any usb mic would work but I haven't tested that out.
posted by simplethings at 9:05 AM on September 23, 2008

Are you sure RB1 bundle has wireless guitar on PS3? Every online listing I can find says it's wired. It would be better to get the bundle, I feel I'd have a weak Rock Band experience if I just had a guitar for a few months.
posted by yellowbinder at 9:09 AM on September 23, 2008

There's really no reason to get the original Rock Band bundle. For a $5 fee (licensing fee legal wrangling, they say), you can export all (but 3) of the songs from the first Rock Band onto your console's hard drive, where they will be playable in Rock Band 2. So I'd recommend getting the sequel, and then just renting or borrowing a copy of the first long enough to export its songs.

By accounts, the RB2 instruments are a little better than the RB1 equivalents, even aside from being wireless.
posted by Drastic at 9:13 AM on September 23, 2008

I feel I'd have a weak Rock Band experience if I just had a guitar for a few months.

Rock Band 1 in Band mode is much more fun if all the songs are unlocked in single-player mode first. It won't take a couple months, but it might take a week or so.

Also, the bundle only comes with one guitar, and full band mode requires two. What about limping along with one wired guitar for awhile then supplementing it with a wireless guitar in a few months? Really, a wired guitar was never much of a problem for me..
posted by muddgirl at 9:14 AM on September 23, 2008

Oh, I forgot that the Rock Band 1 guitars (for Xbox) keep breaking on us. I've heard that the RB 2 guitars are much better.
posted by muddgirl at 9:16 AM on September 23, 2008

Are you sure RB1 bundle has wireless guitar on PS3? Every online listing I can find says it's wired.

Speaking as an owner of such a bundle, yes. The PS3 guitar is wireless.

Rock Band 2 will support other microphones, notably the Singstar ones, according to Sony.

I concur with Drastic's feedback otherwise - buy RB2, borrow RB1 to do the song export. (I'm sure lots of copies of RB1 will be available soon on the cheap.) Pick up an extra guitar if you frequently have 4 people looking to play.
posted by Remy at 9:18 AM on September 23, 2008

Thanks for clearing up the wired/wireless issue with the RB1 bundle.

I know about the export thing, and it certainly sounds awesome. I guess my hesitation on that is part "but the RB2 bundle will probably be hard to find when it first comes out, and possibly through the holidays," and part "but I want to play nooooooooooooooow."

Thanks for the answers so far, keep 'em coming. In particular, does anyone know if the original RB instruments will work with GH4? I know the new ones will...
posted by yellowbinder at 9:24 AM on September 23, 2008

Pretty much any USB mic should work, so no worries on that score.

There's a chart over at Joystiq that goes over what guitars work with what.

If you do end up getting two guitars down the road, keep in mind the Guitar Hero guitars tend to have a different feel to them — GH guitars make a slight click when you strum them, and some people like the audible feedback while they're playing. The RB guitars are larger, so they feel more like a real guitar, and the strumming is quiet but can seem ... mushy compared to the GH. I'm hoping the RB2 guitars will play well.
posted by rewil at 9:25 AM on September 23, 2008

Don't buy the original Rock Band bundle right now. There will be a Rock Band 2 bundle coming out for your console of choice soon for the same price as the original bundle and the instruments are a bit more sturdy than the originals. I believe the new guitars/drums are now wireless.

You can import most of the original Rock Band songs into Rock Band 2 for $5 so I recommend that you buy the Rock Band 2 bundle when it's available, rent RB1, import the songs, and you have a track list of 130+ songs.

You'll need to pick up an additional guitar to get the full band experience. I use a GH2 guitar and I think it's superior to any guitar out there right now but it's all personal experience.
posted by Diskeater at 9:26 AM on September 23, 2008

After reading your question further...RB2 is only out for the 360 right now. You'll have to wait about a month to get the game for PS3.

All guitars/drums/mics from the RB and GH series are going to be compatible with each other so as long as you have the hardware, feel free to get both games!
posted by Diskeater at 9:32 AM on September 23, 2008

Definitely sure about the wireless guitar.
I even purchased an extra guitar for the PS3-RB1 and it was wireless as well.
posted by simplethings at 9:42 AM on September 23, 2008

Thanks very much, looks like most of my questions are answered! Wireless in the bundle, all instruments will work with upcoming games, very helpful!

Now the only issue is to wait to get the RB1 songs for cheap/maybe better instruments or to take the plunge now. Obviously waiting makes more financial sense, but I tend to have poor impulse control over things like this. We shall see. Thanks very much to everyone again!
posted by yellowbinder at 9:54 AM on September 23, 2008

I have Rock Band 2 and the RB2 guitar for the 360, and I can say that it is way better than the original RB guitar. The strum bar, while still squishy (unlike my favorite guitar, the GH III Les Paul), is much more responsive. The RB2 guitar also has a built-in light sensor and mic for automatically setting the audio and video delay on your TV, which is really nice.
posted by joshrholloway at 11:25 AM on September 23, 2008

RE: wired guitars -- I do wired guitars for rockband, but I also purchased an extension wire for all of my normal PS2 plug in controllers that the wired guitar can plug into. With the extension wire, things work out fine with everyone spread out.

Determining the amount of bass playing (only multiplayer in RB1) you'll be doing may be hard, but it will determine the importance of having 1 or 2 wireless guitar controllers.
posted by garlic at 2:10 PM on September 23, 2008

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