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Sunday | October 21, 2018
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Guitar Hero World Tour (X360)

Guitar Hero World Tour (X360)

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Today we take a look at the true sequel to Guitar Hero III, Guitar Hero World Tour.  For the first time in the franchise the game offers options to play the drums and sing, as well as mashing your fingers on the fretboard with bass or guitar. Is this a poor counterpart to Rock Band or a great standalone title in its own right?

Firstly, a game like this is made or broken on its track-list and developer Neversoft have managed to acquire the rights to a very strong cross-section of songs from acts such as Jimi Hendrix, Motorhead, Ozzy Osbourne, Sting, Bon Jovi, Metallica and Van Halen. Bundled in the mix are even a few live tracks from artists such as Willie Nelson which has clearly been included to broaden the scope of genres.

The big news however is the involvement of Tool and their involvement is not only high profile but rather unique. Neversoft have worked with the band to create Tool specific venues that combine art style and content from their more recent videos and album work. As Tool requested, you don’t see the band members playing but you experience the pulsating artwork they designed. Fans will be very pleased to see the involvement Tool invested in this aspect of the game and they certainly picked great tracks to play as well (Schism, Vicarious and Parabola).

Not only does the title ship with a considerable list of songs but there is a store built into the game which allows you to purchase new tracks without have to quit and purchase through the live store. There isn’t much available right now for download, but we have been assured that this will continue to expand and develop as the months progress towards Christmas and the new year.

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World Tour differs from previous games in the series because now you play a series of songs in “gig” format which follows a similar progression to Rock Band. You browse through ads and flyers posted on a wall to see the available options and once you enter to play the relevant gigs they also have hidden encores to beat. Beating a gig means you normally unlock another gig (or more), and this style of play means the game feels less linear than previous outings.

It is quite clear even by reading this so far that there are certain ideas being pinched from Rock Band however the overall interactivity is not yet there yet as you don’t hire people, gain (or lose) fans etc, which is sadly part of the overall experience.

Single player progression is completely separate from multiplayer band experiences, so while you get to keep your modified clothes or instruments, you don’t keep the tracks you unlocked, even in the custom list configurations.

Band management is not presented very clearly (at all actually) and as you form a band you assign someone to be the band leader and that persons information appeals to everyone else. This sounds fine in theory (and logical) but in practise there are issues. The band information is attached to the band leader and not the individuals so if you (as band leader) want to play solo shows and band shows with friends then your band logo and name appears in both places. To compound matters further there is no band management screen and you merely choose Band Info on the character select screen … as everyone in the band can do this and only the band leaders info matters, it all ends up a bit of a mess. I am not surprised if you don’t follow this explanation, but trust me, it just doesn’t work!

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I also would like to see them paying more attention to the note boards because when problems occur with a player in the band performing badly you aren’t altered to this issue aurally, you have to look over to see his note board flashing and if the track you are playing is particularly challenging then this is extremely difficult. Also unlike Rock Band, if a player fails, then you can’t bring him back, the game basically ends as you all get kicked out.

With the negatives out of the way, Guitar Hero World Tour has plenty of redeeming features, Neversoft have created some wonderful customisation features which means you can not only select a pre built musician but you can build your own with a plethora of sliders with options for heads, hair, face and body shapes. The array of clothes should cover everyone’s tastes and with further unlockable options the array of choice on hand is top class. Again maybe not quite as varied as Rock Band but impressive nonetheless.

As well as character and clothes customisations, there are options to tailor instruments to your hearts desires. Guitars have options for bodies, necks, head stocks, pickups, bridges, even strings. Drums are also catered for with a wide selection of options at hand, you can even edit the artwork on your bass drum to match the band.

Game mechanics are very similar to before however there are a few new additions which are worth mentioning. Bass guitarists now have a bar which goes left to right across the fret board, when this appears you simply strum without holding a note (button). This sixth note means that on expert some of the more challenging songs take on a new dimension … yes this time around, bass is not the walk in the park it has been in the past.

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Additionally there is now a new mode which has notes connected by a semi transparent blue bar which looks like it is made of string. When these appear you can play these notes like normal or just hit the buttons on the neck without strumming. This is quite similar to hammer-ons, but the difference is that if you miss the notes you don’t need to strum once to re-initiate the sound to the amplifier. It works in a similar style as if you were on stage with the amplifier and pick up very high so hitting the strings with a plectrum (or your right strumming hand) isn’t needed.

If you have one of the new World Tour guitars however you now have a touchpad section which is colour coded to match these sections so you can play them either by touching the colour coded sections or by sliding your finger up and down to match the subsequent notes (creates a wah-wah style effect). You can also tap the bar to strum a note to fake a tapped solo hammer on style or you can hit it with your thumb like you would when slapping a bass.

While this certainly adds a lot of variation to your playing style I personally found it rather hard to nail solos however I am sure with some perseverance (and skill) it would make some of the more difficult sections slightly easier to play.

The GHWT drums are slightly different to the Rock Band kit. There are three drum pads, two cymbals and a kick pedal. If you are used to the Rock Band drums it might very well take a bit of getting used to and my friend (who plays drums for a band in Seattle) says the positioning alone of the cymbals above the pads is a much better layout to mimic a real set. The kick pedal is adhered to the ground with a sticky substance but it tends to move around a little without a bar holding it in place.

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The vocal aspect of the game works just as expected and you are given the option for static or flowing lyrics which should help cover more bases for a wide audience of people. Guitar Hero World Tour also provides options to create your own music … you can record all the instruments and then upload them for other people to try.

To download these creations you head over to GH Tunes (a cut down copy of Apples’ Itunes) and you can search in genre, most highly rated, top artists. When you preview a track it downloads to your computer then plays and as they are small files this all happens in a few seconds. Once you have the ones you like downloaded they appear in your track list just like any other track.

This creator is in two parts, the GHMix and the Recording Studio. Four people can record at once in the studio and you can patch in at any time to record or play on the fly. Pressing start brings up a menu of options where you can switch instruments, change effects and set scales.

The GHMix section lets you adjust fine control over the recordings and it all works pretty well except for an issue with lag, which I worked out is just under a second. I also found the interface rather confusing and convoluted so I didn’t spend as much time in this as I would have otherwise. The lag was also a nasty issue that ruined some recordings for me, especially as I am not the most patient of people. It also doesn’t help that everything you create sounds like a midi file…..

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Guitar Hero World Tour is a fun game to play on your own or with buddies, but it is pretty hit and miss in some areas. The music creation tool is rather disappointing and nothing ever ends up sounding good, this is not helped by the lag and complex menu configuration which confuses and frustrates. As another Guitar Hero, it is certainly entertaining and a great party game but I can’t help but feel that Rock Band is the more polished of the two. The track list is pretty decent however.

Click Here To SHOW Track Listing

More of the same but with Rock Band style multiplayer.
No more robotic drummers and the graphics are colourful. Nothing out of the ordinary however.
The track list is quite strong but the music creator is weak and frustrating.
If you played the other games and like Rock Band you will get something from this, just don’t be expecting anything ground breaking.
(Not an Average)
Good fun with friends but I can’t help but wonder how much life is left in this series.

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About Author

Stuart Davidson

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