Guitar Hero 5 came out yesterday. Rock Band 2 came out 10 months ago. I was considering buying one or the other. Before I go any farther, let me give you some background. I own the original Rock Bandand some instruments for the PS3. I wanted to make the switch to the Xbox 360 version for the longest time, but couldn’t justify spending full retail price for it. Recently, the price of the full band set of Rock Band 2 has come down to $99 and I was considering taking that plunge. But, at the same time, I liked the idea of trying something new. Since I had never owned or really played at length any Guitar Hero games, I was on the verge of buying it instead. Guitar Hero 5 with the guitar is $99, as well.
I wasn’t quite sure what to do…until yesterday. Activision did me a great service in making up my mind for me. For weeks I’ve been reading that the Guitar Hero: World Tour songs could be imported into GH5. In fact, there were some songs on the GH:WT soundtrack that I really wanted. I was looking forward to that, actually – trying out GH, trying something new. Then, yesterday it was brought to the attention of gamers all over that only 35 of the 85 tracks on the GH:WT disc could be imported into GH5 – and none of them were the songs I wanted.
Well played, Activision, well played. I realize some of this may not totally be the fault of the publisher, as extra rights have to be secured and royalties paid for the songs they transfer from one game to another. However, Harmonix did it with Rock Band. All but three songs from Rock Band 1 could be imported into Rock Band 2…not to mention all – all– of the downloadable content. This, to me, just reeks of half-ass-ness on Activision’s part, to be perfectly honest. Granted, more songs from GH:WT and other titles may be licensed and built for importing into GH5 in the future, I’m not denying that. But, in my opinion, this does impact purchase decisions until that happens.
At the time, I was even going to ignore the fact that GH5 and Band Hero songs won’t be interchangeable, because I was interested in both titles. But now, I don’t know what to think about that either. It feels like gamers are getting played by Activision. This, I guess, isn’t anything new – they’re milking the Guitar Hero franchise for all it’s worth, and, since they’re corporation trying to make money, I can’t fault them for that.
I’m not saying I’ll never buy or rent GH5 or Band Hero – the Rock Band 2 instruments will work just fine with those titles. I’m not even saying that one game is better than the other – stick with what you enjoy. And, on top of it all, I’m certainly not saying that I will boycott Activision products or that they make horrible games, because I know better. But, I definitely have to thank Activision. They did an excellent job of selling me Rock Band 2 yesterday. An excellent job indeed.