Testing The ‘Guitar Hero’ Drums In ‘Rock Band 2′

With the release of “Guitar Hero: World Tour,” gamers finally have some legitimately different choices in what instruments they rock out with.

Activision Blizzard’s drum set works just fine with “Rock Band 2.” The PlayStation 3 version of “Rock Band 2″ still needs a patch, but on Xbox 360, everything’s good to go.

I’ve been playing with the “Rock Band” drums for almost a year now, but the moment I played with “Guitar Hero”’s elevated cymbals, I fell in love. It feels so much more natural. Cymbals are coming to “Rock Band” soon, but they’re not here yet.

Is plugging the new “Guitar Hero” drums into “Rock Band” the perfect solution? I tested that theory…

There is an extra button on the “Guitar Hero” drums because of the two cymbals. Each of the cymbals is their own, separate button. That’s not built into the “Rock Band” interface, so “Guitar Hero”’s right cymbal doesn’t do anything. It doesn’t even function as a copy-cat of the left-hand cymbal. When hit, nothing happens.

You end up pivoting to the left in your chair while playing with the “Guitar Hero” drums in “Rock Band” because you’re usually hitting the red and yellow pads. It becomes incredibly awkward to shift over and hit the green on the right. It’s not a problem while playing “Guitar Hero” because the interface is designed for you to be sitting forward and hitting both of the game’s cymbals.

There’s a bit of a learning curve to it, too. The blue pad is in the middle of the “Guitar Hero” drum set, but on the right-hand side on the “Rock Band” drums. I found it incredibly difficult to hit the blue and green buttons. My mind, used to playing with the “Rock Band” drums, would suddenly forget everything and for me to actually look at the drum set, trying to remember where to hit. It’s even worse when the colors disappear during overdrive. My brain literally melts.

That’s also something that can be overcome with more time on the “Guitar Hero” set. It would be nice if Harmonix could add basic support for the second cymbal and let me smack away at if I feel like. It’s just awkward to have it just sitting there. I doubt that’s on their priority list, though.

But maybe that can be remedied when “Rock Band” starts playing with cymbals a little more. The Harmonix-approved Mad Catz set should arrive at my place any day now. “Rock Band” will let players attach up to three cymbals to their drum kit, but they do not add a new button to the interface. The cymbals simply take the place of the yellow and green pads.

It’s clear that cymbals are a game-changer for music game enthusiasts. “Guitar Hero” has upped the ante, but “Rock Band” will shoot back soon enough. For now, if you want to use the “Guitar Hero” drum kit in “Rock Band,” it works. It’s fun. Just expect a bit of a learning curve before turning on expert difficulty again.

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