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Guitar Hero: World Tour Review

Written by FooFan on Friday, 5 December 2008One Comment

Title: Guitar Hero: World Tour
Format: Wii
Price:  RRP £39.99 - £149.99
Wi-Fi: YES
Players: 4

Guitar Hero has swiftly become a household name with each new game racking up tons of sales with each release. But does the new ‘Band’ version continue what has been one of the most successful gaming franchises to date? In a word. Yes.

The latest edition carrys on what Rock Band started by introducing some new instruments into the music game concept. The previous games have featured just the Guitar or the Bass, but now gamers can also play Drums and Sing through a mic in the same Guitar Hero fashion. As mentioned, Rock Band has already done this, so what could Guitar Hero possibly do that would make it worth owning over that? Well quite simply it’s not simply ported a multi-platform game to the Wii, it’s given the Wii version it’s own development team and what they’ve achieved will set the benchmark for future games utilising the Wii’s memory.

Graphics

Probably least important aspect of a Guitar Hero game is it’s graphics, so I thought I’d get it out the way first ;) For the most part of this game, all you’ll be watching is the fret board which the notes will be travelling down. Behind this, there will be various shots of the performance, but you’ll be concentrating far to much on the fret board to notice! Having said that, people watching and not playing may take more note and the graphics are pretty standard for the Wii. Good, not great, but more than acceptable for this game. The Character representations of the famous Guitarists/Bassists/Vocalists/Drummers are pretty good and the characters you can create yourself are very detailed.

Sound

Right, now onto the important stuff! On a game like Guitar Hero, you can only judge the Sound in one way… by the songs available to play… and  what a selection! With over 80 Original recordings(No covers here!) you’ll be spoilt for choice. Now that’s a lot of songs and it would’ve been easy to just include a few decent songs and fill the rest up with filler. Well the tracks available to play on World Tour easily surpass that of Guitar Hero III In my opinion! With tracks from: Jimi Hendrix, Foo Fighters, Oasis, Muse, Motorhead, Fleetwood Mac, Coldplay, Wings, REM, Smashing Pumpkins, Ozzy Osbourne, Metallica, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bon Jovi, Linkin Park, The Eagles, Nirvana, and Michael Jackson to name but a few, it’s a cracking list! All big songs by these artists as well, don’t expect many album tracks here!

This is also one of the first games to include Nintendo’s ‘Pay and Play’ system, by allowing you to download extra tracks in exchange for Wii points. There’s already a lot of tracks available from Blind Melon to Metallica! Not to mention the GH Tunes service that allows you to download songs that other people have made for absolutely free, but there;ll be more about that later…

Gameplay

Ok, so the Graphics and Sound pass the test, but where’s a game without decent gameplay?!

We know the Guitar works for these games, so there was little worry about that as t wasn’t likely to change much… and it hasn’t. The only new additions to the Guitar are a touch sensitive pad just below the fret buttons for playing special notes, using instead of the strum bar to look cool or for a Wah effect. Apart from that, it feels a lot more solid that the previous GH3 Guitar and has a slightly longer Whammy bar along with a new button for activating star power where he Bridge is(although I still find it easier to tip the guitar up). So playing Guitar really just improves on what they already had, but this game isn’t about just the guitar anymore, it’s about the whole band and that’s where the fun really begins!

First up… Drums! :D Having played drums for quite a few years now, I really couldn’t wait to give these a try! Boasting a better design than the Rock Band kit and with more functionality, it was obvious that a lot of work had been put into making sure they were up to scratch and it hasn’t been time wasted. World class drummers such as Chad Smith(Red Hot Chili Peppers) and Travis Barker(Blink 182) were called in to help develop th kit and it really shows. The pads have a great feel and the inclusion of 2 cymbal pads just add to the experience and make it that bit more realistic. The drums are also dynamic, so the harder you hit them, the louder the sound will be played. I had a couple of issues with sensitivity when I first got the kit, but Activision have acknowledged this problem and are sending out free tuning kits to anyone that feels they need one. Since I’ve tuned it, I’ve had no problems at all. The Drums are played in exactly the same way as the guitars, by hitting the right corresponding pad as that colour not crosses the line on the screen. Simple. That is until you’re trying to play Van Halen’s Hot for Teacher on anything above easy :P

Vocals are done slightly differently with the singer being judged on timing and pitch. Their ‘Highway’ appears at the top of the screen and looks very similar to karaoke with words scrolling right to left and their corresponding pitch being shown above, with a line showing your current pitch. The harder the difficulty, the more accurate you have to be. I’m going to be honest and say I haven’t even given this a try yet, but I’ve watched others and it works very well. The Bass works exactly the same as the guitar to complete the full set, and it’s when you’re playing with  group of friends that this game really excels! There are 5 difficulty settings ranging from beginner(Just playing the instrument at the right time, regardless of note) to Expert, so anyone can pick up an instrument and join in. I recently was playing on drums with both my parents on Guitar and Bass! You’re playing as a band so you’ll pass the song as long as you play fairly well, but if one person is failing pretty badly and the other 3 are doing alright, the band will be fine ;)

There’s several modes for you to play in. The main one is career, where you can create a rocker and either play alone on one of the 4 instruments or play as a band. You can also progress through the band career by joining up with other people online to complete the band. When you create character you have tons of things to change so that he or she is exactly as you want them. You can completely re-shape their face to your requirements and choose from a wide selection of tops, bottoms, shows, accessories etc with more being unlocked as you progress through the game. It doesn’t stop there though, you can even fully customise(right down to what knobs are used on your guitar) every one of your instruments! It really is an impressive feature and well worth spending an hour or so going through. Once you’ve created your guy, it’s off into the world of rock and onto the gigs! Gigs start of with easier songs and shorter sets and gradually get harder and longer, although you can change difficulty at any time during the career if you get stuck. As you progress through the different careers you will unlock character accessories, Instrument Accessories and, most importantly, songs for quickplay.

Quickplay is the easiest way to play when there’s a group of you. Simply pick up your instruments, pick a set list of up to 6 songs and you’re away. There’s also a Wii-exclusive mode called ‘Mii Freestyle’ where 2 people can basically just jam using the instruments. You can also use the remote and nunchuk for drums in this mode. There’s also online play that allows you to play either with other people in a band, or against other people’s bands in Band v Band mode, or a number of single/double instrument modes such as Face-off and battle. The online is very smartly executed, with the game signing you in when you first load the game up meaning people on your friend’s roster can see if you are playing the game. They can then send you invites for games that you can either accept or reject(With a reason). There is also the Music store where you can download new tracks which is where the ingenious use of SD cards come in. The last GH game on the Wii didn’t allow for Downloadable Content(DLC) because of the Wii’s reduced memory, but what activision have done this time around has totally changed the way developers will view this problem. They have effectively used SD cards as an external hard drive. When downloading new songs, the game will save it to your Wii’s memory and then ask if you would like to transfer it to your SD card(providing you have one in the console), select yes and the song will be moved across to the SD and deleted from the Wii memory. When you come to play that song it will oad up straight from the SD card seamlessly! It’s a fantastic piece of work and they really have done the Wii justice. :)

The only problem I have with the online play is that it will only allow 2 Wiis to connect at one time. I.E no chance of 8 wiis being connected with each player on a different instrument. If you want to do band v Band mode, you have to have 2 Wiis where each one has a full band on! It’s disappointing because both the 360 and PS3 versions support 8 individual consoles and since activision has managed to keep so many of the same features that appear on the other versions, you kinda hoped they would’ve been able to get that as well. :(

The final mode is possibly the deepest and has the most potential. It’s the Studio. That’s right, you can now use your Guitar Hero instruments to make music! The recording studio is basically a 4-track mixer that allows you to record Guitar, Bass, Drums and Keyboard to create your own original songs.

Let’s start with the Guitar, you can choose from several different scales and arpeggiate away with single notes, or you can set your guitar to play either power chords or full chords. So at a touch of a button you can play any conceivable note that could be played on a real guitar! Not only that, but there are tons guitar and amp effects to play around with So not only do you have access to pretty much every note on the guitar, but you can also fine tune the sound with effects until it’s exactly as you want it.
The drums are probably simpler, as it simply records what you play. Although, you can choose from a variety of drum kit sounds also. If you don’t fancy playing the drums, you can choose from a wide selection of loops, or sequence the drums yourself using the guitar.
Unfortunately, due to legal reasons, you won’t be able to record vocals This is a real shame as it’s the one thing that will be missing from creating your very own song! Once you’ve recorded all the parts, the note highway is then automatically mapped. The original recording of your song will always be the hardest difficulty, however the game will scale it down for future playings on easier settings.

There’s still more to come! After the parts are recorded, you can use a mixer to isolate various tracks, swap others and just generally master your song as though you were in a studio. When you’re finally pleased with your song, you can design album cover art and throw it onto the “GH Tunes” online content-sharing service. This is where players will be able to download other peoples’ songs and rate them (which is mandatory whenever you download another person’s song). So within minutes your own personal song will be available for the whole GH community to download and rate!

Summary

Guitar Hero: World Tour takes the Guitar Hero franchise onto the next stage. The new instruments work brilliantly and the features in the Wii version are almost identical to the 360 and PS3 versions, something that cannot be said for most multi-platform games. The effort put into the Wii version means that it really is one of the console’s best games. The only downside being the lack of more than 2 Wiis at once online and the price. The standalone game is around the £30 mark, the Guitar + Game bundle around £60 and the Full band(Guitar, Drums and Mic) is around £150. Although expect stand-alone drums to be available early next year. If you’re a fan of the Guitar Hero franchise then pick this up and and you won’t be disappointed. If you’ve been waiting to try one of the games out, then this has the best setlist and the best features, so it’s a great place to start, even if you just get the Guitar to begin with. I hope to be playing with you soon!

Overall: 92%

One Comment »

  • Arlinda Burich said:

    wonderful points altogether, you just gained a new reader. What would you suggest about your post that you made a few days ago? Any positive?

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