If you want to have all of you Music Game songs in one place, then the Rock Band series is the clear winner over the Guitar Hero series. Every disk released, and planned to be released, has an export feature. This allows you to download all of the songs on the disc onto your Xbox 360 or PS3 hard drive. Also any songs bought from the Rock Band Store are compatible with all of the disks bar the Track Packs. This is true of both the Xbox 360 or the PS3.
There are a few exceptions:
- The Beatles: Rock Band has no export and is only compatible with Beatles DLC. All Beatles material cannot be played in any other Rock Band Game. It is completely and intentionally stand-alone.
- Lego Rock Band has a filter of allowable songs. Those songs deemed inappropriate for children cannot be played via Lego Rock Band.
- The export for Rock Band 1 misses Run to the Hills, Paranoid and Enter Sandman for all releases and Monsoon for the European release. This is due to licensing issues. I assume the idea to export the songs to you HDD came about after the release of Rock Band 1 and they had to re-license for the export and weren’t able to re-negotiate those 4 songs. Subsequent releases would have a license created for both the disc and and the HDD export.
- The Rock Band 2 track list cannot be exported yet, as it is the current “master” Rock Band Disc. You should be able to export them once Rock Band 3 is released.
Rock Band now has 1000+ songs available on disc or via download. This still stays over 1000 even if you remove the isolated Beatles tracks. With a copy of Rock Band 1 or 2, or even Lego Rock Band you can play 99% of these songs without having to change a disc.
Compare this to Guitar Hero series and it’s clear Rock Band does it right. More recent Guitar Hero games allow you to export some of the tracks from the disk (never more than half) but it works out at a higher price per song. Guitar Hero: World Tour, Guitar Hero 5, Guitar Hero: Smash Hits and Band Hero can all export some tracks. Guitar Hero DLC is not fully compatible from game to game. GH2 and 3 have isolated downloadable tracks. DLC from Guitar Hero: World Tour is forwards-compatible but DLC from Guitar Hero 5 and Band Hero are compatible with each other but not backwards-compatible with GH:WT.
With Guitar Hero you need to change discs!
Please note that this is not comparing the actual music featured in the two series, both have excellent soundtracks which are getting more and more varied. This is merely talking about convenience for Music Game sessions or partys.
To quickly boost your Rock Band Song List on the cheap, I suggest you do the following:
- Use Rock Band 2 as your main disk as it includes 80-odd songs that you can’t get anywhere else. Make sure you buy a new copy as you get a code to get a set of 20 free songs. This code can only be used once so a used copy might not be usable. Usually about £25 new it works out as 24p a song.
- Rent Rock Band, or buy it used/new as cheaply as you can and exchange it at CEX/sell it on eBay. This should work out as less than £5 after selling it. Whilst you are in temporary possession of the disc you need to load it up whilst connected to Xbox Live and make sure you download the latest update. This will allow you to select the Export option. For a fee of 400MSP you can add all of the tracks on your Rock Band 1 disc minus the 3 or 4 tracks mentioned above. 12p a track.
- Buy a brand-new copy of Rock Band: Song Pack 2 and AC/DC Live Rockband. Use the one-time redeem code to get the songs on your hard drive. Buying used risks getting a code that has already been used. Exchange the discs at CEX or sell them on eBay.You should be able to pay under £4 each, after the sale of the game. Doing this should net you another 38 tracks for less than 30p each!
- Buy a brand-new copy of Lego Rock Band and buy the export license for 800MSP. This will net you 45 more songs. Exchange or sell the game on as second-hand. The price of the disc after sale or exchange should be less than £10. I would expect you would be able to get it down to around a fiver if you’re lucky. Around 30p a song.
- Export codes from Track Packs are international. So if you are in the UK you can still get the tracks from the Classic Rock (20 tracks), Metal (20 tracks) and Country (21 tracks) Track Packs by importing the game from the US, using the code and flogging the game on eBay. Alternatively look out for eBay auctions for the code only. Should be near instant access after payment and no postage fees! Get it for $15 after any exchange/resale and you will be paying 55p per track. I managed to get a code from the Classic Rock track pack for just under £6 (about 30p a track).
You may not love all of the songs, but you will certainly have a lot of variety. Doing all this will net you 300+ songs for £110. Which on average works out to ~50MSP or ~40p per song. The going rate for a single is 160MSP or £1.33.
If, however, you ignore the imports as they are currently quite expensive you can get 240+ songs for about £70. This works out at ~35MSP or ~30p per song.
You obviously don’t have to buy everything, but if you can get a set of songs for around 30p each you are saving around 80% of the standard single cost from the Rock Band Store.