I was thinking about waiting to get Rock Band, but decided to get the “disc only” version (without the drums, guitar, and microphone). I might get the drums at a later date or buy a complete set and sell the pieces I don’t want, but the game itself is more than enough for now. The missus and I logged an hour or so with Rock Band last night, played about 8 or so of the songs. Our impression is that, in general, Rock Band is somewhat easier than Guitar Hero 3 (and 2). While later tracks are likely to become more difficult, I would say if you can competently play Hard on GH2/3 you should be able to competently play Expert on Rock Band. For some, this is a bad thing, but in my opinion Hard in GH2/3 is where I have the most fun (again, this is for me — I know a lot of people really get off on nailing Jordan on Expert – more power to them). Yes, it is an awesome feeling to pass a GH3 song on Expert, I just generally have more “fun” in GH2/3 on hard. Many, many people don’t get past easy or medium on GH2/3, so it is probably somewhat of a moot point. I think that orange button is just incredibly intimidating to some people (it was to me, for a while).
Aside from difficulty and the slightly fewer bundled songs in Rock Band, my initial impression is that I like Rock Band better. The graphics are incredibly clean and super slick. While is harder to differentiate the hammer-on, pull-off notes, I like every other aspect of the graphics and gameplay better than Guitar Hero 3. I like that in co-op you don’t have to deploy “energy” together (Star Power for the GH2/3 crowd). I like that one player failing doesn’t make the entire “band “fail, and you can actual recover the failed player (up to three times). I like that you can SEE what progress you are making in the overall score (number of stars for your performance). And the major one… I like that in co-op play, every band member gets Xbox Achievements. The fact that GH3 effectively broke co-op achievements is just terrible.
So, while I am glad I have GH2, GH3 and Rock Band, I think newcomers should probably get Rock Band with the entire kit, and possibly a second guitar to round out the set.
I’m also continuing to play Assassin’s Creed. This is a really solid game, the graphics are incredible. The major complaint of critics is that the gameplay is repetitititititve, and while that is largely true, it is still a lot of fun. The “average” review score seems to be an 8/10, which is probably pretty accurate. After I finish Assassin’s Creed, I’ll probably get Mass Effect, as I really enjoyed Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.