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Guitar Hero: World Tour Review

November 18, 2008

Introduction

Finally a sequel to guitar hero 3. Well, you might be saying this if you haven’t gotten yourself any Rock Band games but if you already have, there isn’t a whole lot to be excited about. This game is basically like Rock Band except it does so many things wrong. Don’t get me completely wrong, it does throw in some interesting elements into the mix. This game certainly has things that you wouldn’t be able to do in Rock Band but more importantly it is a major leap from Guitar Hero 3, unlike Rock Band 2 compared to the first. If you haven’t already noticed this game takes up the same concept of playing in a band, you can play as a drummer, singer, guitar, or bass player.

Songs

One of the biggest issues that people seem to have is the question, which game has better songs? What makes World Tour different from Rock Band? Well it does have a big variety to choose from and definitely isn’t horrible. But I definitely do have to say the Rock Band series has a much better song list to choose from. But World Tour has some amazing personal favorites of mine that make up for the fact that it’s not all epic, such as Michel Jackson’s Beat it, Korn’s Freak on a Leash, and Sublime’s Santeria. There are actually a handful of songs that you’re going to find on here that are also on Rock Band 2. But then you also have a handful of artists that are also on Rock Band but instead give different tracks, such as Linkin Park’s What I’ve Done vs. One Step Closer, System of a Down’s BYOB vs. Chop Suey, and Dream Theater’s Pull Me Under vs. Panic Attack, among others. There are plenty of oldie songs and obscure bands you might not have heard of. They even throw in a couple of Spanish songs such as La Bamba, great now I can finally sing this song correctly or most likely fail miserably.


Gameplay

The gameplay is vastly different compared to Rock Band and I think this is mainly what will make people like this game or not. First of all you get to do a career with a band or with any single instrument you want. The difference is depending on which career path you take, the cinematic changes and each one sort of completes the story as a whole, sort of. Another difference, I believe, is that you get slightly different setlist of songs you have to play depending on the instrument you have. The game is broken up into a variety of songs you have to play, starting from easy towards hard, and the number of songs you have to play grows. This is different from Rock Band because there are no songs you have to repeat while you’re playing the campaign, unlike in Rock Band where you have to constantly play some songs over and over again. You don’t have to worry about losing fans but the more money you get, the higher your rock rank goes up by. You can also quit during the middle of a setlist and come back to that song later on without re-playing all of the songs on the list. Also unlike in Guitar Hero 3, you don’t have to complete every song to be able to come to the end of the game. I actually skipped more than 25 songs, played and beat the final setlist, finishing the game with about 70% complete.
Once you beat the game you unlock a set of new songs that you have buy to unlock. There are a couple of other moments where you have to buy out a set list to play it, which is weird. Along the path of the campaign you also start to see and unlock different characters modeled after rock stars such as Travis Barker, Ozzy Osbourne, etc. There are also two battles you have to play but don’t worry it’s not the crappy battle system that Guitar Hero 3 had, just a regular meter that tells you who’s doing better. You can play as these characters, choose from a setlist of characters from previous guitar hero games, or make your own custom character. You can also customize your instruments; change the guitars body, neck, head, faceplate, design, etc. You use the money you gain from the campaign to also buy more custom parts for the instruments, clothing, and characters. The clothing and guitar parts are a lot more unreal and crazy compared to Rock Band. This makes customizing things very fun and whacky. Now I also have to mention, during the actual game play, as a band it’s not as satisfying as playing in Rock Band. There is not much team work that goes on, which just dulls things down. You all share a life bar so if one of you act’s like a douche bag you’ll take the whole team down with you. But star power is shared, which makes no sense and eliminates any reason to use star power with everyone at the same time. You get a number a different star power slots, but as a band you can individually only use one slot at a time. This just seems to want to stay away from anything team related so why play as a band?

Story

The story comes along similarly to that of Guitar Hero 3, you get a set of animations and each character speaks trough grunts and moans. Someone who could possibly be Lou, hypnotizes a band and a bunch of new characters come together to stop the curse trough rock. Then depending on, which career mode you take the story changes. If you play as only the guitarist then you get to see the story behind how he became the guitarist and what happens do to the fact that he played solo the entire career. There are also a couple of videos you can watch that don’t pertain to the story but the making of World Tour.

Instruments

Now I haven’t actually played the instruments that come with World Tour but have used the Rock Band 2 instruments, which work flawlessly. When you actually play the game you are now introduced to a new difficulty mode called beginner mode. I don’t understand why this was implemented since everyone seems to do just fine with easy mode. How much fun can an even easier mode be anyway? Guitar Hero 3 was known for its difficulty but that seems to have toned down a bit in my opinion. I can’t say for sure how much it has because I’m actually very skilled on the guitar. This is describing Expert mode, I’ve only failed 3 songs trough out the career, BYOB was a big pain but I eventually figured out the pattern. But Joe Satriani’s Satch Boogie is the biggest pain for its insanely long solo. Everything else was fine, many 5 out of 5 stars in the beginning, 4 starts in the middle, 3 stars for the last set of songs. The guitar is personally what I think makes this game what it is. They also implemented sort of what Rock Band has with its solos, where you don’t have to strum and only hit the notes. The difference is you don’t actually have to swing your hand to the bottom of the guitar you can do it with the colored notes at the top. The bass is not that much different except for the fact that there is a new note created for this game, a big purple line, which you hit by just strumming without holding any notes.

The drums are ok, they definitely don’t feel as nice as Rock Band makes it out to be, and the difficulty is possibly slightly easier. I haven’t played the harder songs on drums so I can’t say for sure. I also find it strange that they made the foot pedal color purple. This would be ok even though I would rather have it orange like it should be, except for the fact that the bass guitar has a purple strum note. Why would they keep two of the same color? They also made activating star power very frustrating, you have to hit both the yellow and blue pads at the same time. Good luck doing that in the middle of a hard song on expert mode. It seems if I had the cymbal attachments things would be more fun but the star power mechanic still fails. Finally the mic. is just a piece of ass, it is no fun. The difficulty for this instrument is just spiked up compared to Rock Band. I don’t even know if it was intentional because it just doesn’t seem to register to well. As your singing the words the dot following the line you have to hit just shoots up. So you’re basically forced to hum instead of sing the words since that seems to keep it steady. Singing in this game is just over all bad and doesn’t really make anyone want to try again.

Graphics and Sound

The graphics in this game are not as satisfying as it is in Rock Band 2. Everything is just rendered a little lower, more polygons are seen, and all the amazing video effects Rock Band has is not present here. The facial expressions look stupid and the animations are just ok. The notes you hit by them self, don’t even look that great, it looks the same as Guitar Hero 3 and even have the same lame animation when you hit a note. They also don’t have a good system of telling you how many notes you’re hitting for a combo. They throw you all the information you need to a different side of the screen and the combo multiplier on the side of where the notes scroll. Rock Band has a more neat and organized way of telling you all this information without distracting you as much. But they did fix the fact that when you get a 100 note streak it doesn’t flash at you with giant letters, it’s less noticeable now so you don’t mess up. Also when you play with 4 players everything gets shrunk and it looks even worst. The sound is fine except for the drums. When you don’t have anything to play on drum’s you can hit any note you want to produce different drum beats. The thing is that unlike in Rock Band 2, the drums are not touch sensitive, so you get the same exact sound played every drum hit. This can get very annoying especially in areas where the drummer can get points by bashing the pads, it sounds horrible. Also when you miss a note, you get the same sound as if you messed up on guitar, WHAT?!

Music Maker

One thing that this game actually has that Rock Band doesn’t is a custom track maker and editor. You can make any song from scratch using the set amount of sounds already built into the game. One flaw is the fact that almost no matter what your song is, it’s going to end up sounding like it belongs on a Super Nintendo or Sega system. But it’s really fun none the less and you really can use it for some amazing results if you are skilled. It’s simple to make the songs but it’s hard to make something good. But lucky for us you can download custom songs that other people make on xbox live. I’ve found many video game themed so

ngs from Zelda, Mario, F-zero, and Pokemon. Also some imitations from Dragonforce’s Fury of the Storm, Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give you up, and Europe’s The Final Countdown. With some practice you can make some fun thing’s but I have a feeling you need some musical background to make imitations from other songs. They give you a tutorial for each of the instruments so no need to worry about figuring out everything yourself. You can start with a guitar and choose to record for lead, rhythm, bass, or keyboard. When you press record you play your instrument like normally, each note produces a different sound, in

cluding pressing two buttons together or three, even four. If you tilt the guitar up the sound gets more high pitched. You can then sign onto your drums and record hitting the pads. You press play and everything u just recorded lays at once, minus the mic. since you cannot do that. Finally you can edit it, copy and paste everything to loop it, delete notes, add notes, etc.

Xbox Live

Well if playing with 4 people isn’t as fun as it is with Rock Band then I’m pretty sure you might already figure out that playing with strangers online won’t be much fun either. You get a bunch of options that you can do online, from dueling 1 on 1 with the specific instrument, 2 player co-op, band quickplay, to band vs. band. I personally am not a fan of dueling with people but if you are it looks like this is a majority of what playing online will be about. Band quickplay is useless, after finding a couple of people, one of them failed and quit. I then searched for a new game and found the same exact people I just played with minus the singer. After playing some song’s I started to realize there is no point to this mode. All you really get is a final big score at the end of a song; it doesn’t even tell you how everyone did individually. You might as well play by yourself because it doesn’t affect your career, you won’t have someone else fail, and it just takes up the entire screen. I searched for band vs band a bunch of times yet no matter what it could never find enough people. The searching system is stupid, the maximum people I found was 6, instead of making it fair and matching up instrument with instrument it automatically cancels the search and asks if you want to try again. Good luck finding enough people every time, if they wanted to have 8 people they should learn from FPS matchmaking games.

Conclusion

Overall this game was disappointing but I’m still having a grand ol time playing by myself. If anything its still pretty fun playing with at least one other person, but you could really do without the Bass player and the singer, unless you find someone crazy enough to enjoy the poorly designed karaoke. After I’m done I might play on the drum career so there is your replay value. I’m also going to spend a lot of time with the custom song creator and will keep downloading a lot of cool songs people make. But if you have a choice you should definitely pick up a copy of Rock Band 2 instead of this. If you’re a fan like me, get both. It will still last you a long time and no matter what you will have fun. You just might have some friends complaining that they want to play Rock Band instead. Poor mic design lacks something in drums, frustrating elements, ok graphics, and a fair set of songs.

Decent

Decent

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Dave permalink
    November 19, 2008 4:52 pm

    Great review. Totally agree. I tried out GH:WT at Best Buy and was extremely disappointed by what I saw in the band mode.

  2. Erik P permalink
    December 3, 2008 10:12 pm

    Hehe yeah, I usually see a bigger crowd around Rock Band in Best Buy.

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