WARNING: You cannot play the Wii version of Rock Band with the Guitar Hero III guitar. Only the Rock Band guitar (Wii edition), and drums for that matter (Wii edition), are compatible (both of which you will have to acquire separately - or together, along with a mic and USB hub, in the Instrument Set if you can afford it!).
And now for the review (or just pros/cons!)...
- It's a cut-down version. Unlike the 360 and PS3 iterations of Rock Band there's no character creation, no world tour mode (the career mode), no online multiplayer, and no downloadable content (although there are additional 20-song disc-based Track Packs instead - albeit only 1 so far).
- It's expensive... and to not get at least 1 guitar, the drums, and a mic is basically limiting the (absolutely brilliant) experience as a multi-player.
- 'Guitar Hero: World Tour' is coming out in November, will have better drums (with raised symbols - woo!), will let you use your GH:III guitar, support online multi-player as well as downloadable content, and *hopefully* won't cost as much (although some retailers are already taking pre-orders for the Instrument Set + the game for £149.99).
- If you're only likely to play it with a guitar and don't buy anything else it's just going to seem like a slightly different looking Guitar Hero (well, because it is! More so than the 360/PS3 versions as well, since there is no world tour single player mode).
- Despite the omissions the single player is still great with just the guitar.
- The drums are awesome and offer a fresh twist to the experience (at least until Guitar Hero World Tour appears!). Be prepared to get some noise-reducing drum pads though - the noise can detract from the gameplay if you don't (or can't) have the sound high.
- Singing is alright too! It's thankfully a lot more forgiving and a heck of a lot less embarrassing to murder songs on this than something like SingStar or run-of-the-mill karaoke. Even if you're tone-death and can't sing for toffee it's easy to enjoy.
- The song selection is superior to Guitar Hero III, and arguably more contemporary.
- Multi-player has the potential to be the most fun you have ever had with a videogame and friends/family. This is not an outrageous claim either! With a full 4-player band setup (or 3 player, minus 1 guitar) and the right mix of people this can be absolutely brilliant fun - it really is one of the best party/social games available. Even when faced with complete newcomers to the genre (like your parents!) this can easily entertain just about everyone who has ever liked rock music and is open-minded enough to try!
If you also have a 360 and/or PS3 and want Rock Band with all the bells and whistles (and by that I mean features not peripherals) then obviously you are better off getting that respective version. The Wii iteration is more limited but still immensely fun as both a single and multi-player.
As with all versions of Rock Band though, the enjoyment this game is going to offer you is largely relative to how much you're willing to shell out on it. Get just a guitar and you're essentially not even getting half of the game, and although there are differences it's more of the same if you're already well versed in Guitar Hero - so you're basically spending £85-ish (game + guitar) for a new roster of songs (for this, taking into consideration the price, I'd rate it 4-star for fun / 3-stars overall). Get just the drums and you're all but guaranteed to have a blast but you have to ask yourself if the £95-ish (game + drums) is worth it (this time, 4-stars for fun / 4-stars overall). Naturally if you're unlikely to be able to play multi-player with others in person you're a bit stuck to do anything else but the aforementioned options. In this case if you're strapped for cash you may as well wait for 'Guitar Hero: World Tour'.
If, however, you have a set of like-minded friends or family and can afford to go the whole hog and get at least 1 guitar, the drums, and a mic (the instrument set) - setting you back £130-ish - then the investment, while undoubtedly steep, can feel totally worth it as the co-op experience is utterly superb. This is where the game becomes 5-stars for fun / 5-stars overall! Suffice to say, if you love Guitar Hero, and have friends/family who are receptive to it (if they don't already love it too!), then this is the only way to go.
The required spend is practically as much as the Wii itself but bare in mind that even when 'Guitar Hero: World Tour' hits in November the Rock Band Wii standard instrument set and game is likely to fetch an average of at least £80+ pre-owned so if you decide to sell up and move on you will be able to recoup most of the money. It should also be noted that the Rock Band peripherals will be compatible with 'Guitar Hero: World Tour', although unfortunately you won't get the full experience out of using them (i.e. the new features of the new peripherals).
I guess the best advice is that if you can share the cost between a few people who are likely to be interested in this game then do it! If it's friends, you could meet up and play together and share the instruments in turn for single player if you each have a copy of the game. Not ideal, but it's a lot better than one or more of you needlessly buying the whole lot each!