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Guitar Hero: World Tour
Platform: Xbox 360
Publisher: Activision, Inc.
Developer: Neversoft Entertainment
Style(s): Musical Instrument/Band Sim
Synopsis: The first name in music instrument gaming returns with a Rock Band-esque focus on full band simulation, the ability for players to create their own music, and more than 80 new tracks in Guitar Hero: World Tour. For the first time in the series, wannabe rock stars can simulate singing and drumming in addition to the familiar strumming of guitar-shaped controllers, and with the addition of a bass guitar, up to four players can form a band and jam together. As with all titles in the Guitar Hero series, gamers must "play" their instruments by rhythmically matching onscreen prompts in order to earn high scores and unlock new songs. The singing mechanic resembles Karaoke Revolution and SingStar in that it requires vocalists to match the pitch and notes of each song, whereas drummers must be timely when depressing the kick drum and striking the proper combination of drum and cymbal pads. A revamped single-player Career mode lets gamers advance their musician through a series of gigs by playing a specific number of songs, with the option to change difficulty level or instrument at any time. The Band Career mode works in a similar fashion, offering up to four players the opportunity to advance through a full career, with the Battle of the Bands mode letting two groups duke it out online. Boss Battles also return in a form more akin to previous Face-Off modes, and they no longer feature the attack power-ups used in Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock and Guitar Hero: Aerosmith. Gamers can use the new "Create-a-Rocker" feature to customize the posture, age, hair, makeup, and tattoos of their unique characters, and real-life rock legends such as Ozzy Osbourne, Jim Hendrix, and Ted Nugent are also playable. The song list spans several decades and is made up of a diverse selection of master recordings by artists such as: 311, the Allman Brothers Band, the Beastie Boys, Billy Idol, Blondie, Coldplay, the Cult, the Doors, the Eagles, the Foo Fighters, Jane's Addiction, Jimi Hendrix, Korn, Linkin Park, Los Lobos, Metallica, Michael Jackson, Modest Mouse, Motorhead, Nirvana, No Doubt, NOFX, Oasis, Ozzy Osbourne, Pat Benetar, R.E.M, the Sex Pistols, Steely Dan, Sting, the Stone Roses, Sublime, Tool, Van Halen, and Willie Nelson. In addition, players can create their own songs in the Advanced Studio mode by playing tracks for each instrument in either real or slowed time. Songs can be either 1,200 notes long or three minutes in length, but vocal recording is unavailable due to storage issues. Players can then upload their songs to an online service where other gamers can rate and download each original creation. ~ Christopher Brown, All Game Guide
Package Contents: 12-page Instruction Manual
Controls: Other, Joystick/Gamepad
The third Guitar Hero title released since development duties passed hands from Harmonix to Neversoft, World Tour expands the formerly string-centric series to include both vocals and drums. Though it established its finger-fiddling credibility with Guitar Hero III and Guitar Hero: Aerosmith, Neversoft once again draws comparisons to Harmonix by trying to outperform the music maestros at their own game. World Tour doesn't have enough chart-topping features to unseat Rock Band 2 as the top band game for 2008, but it is nonetheless an entertaining entry in a genre more crowded than a Springsteen concert in New Jersey. It's amazing how far the series has come, with the first game offering a modest 30 covers of rock hits. Guitar Hero: World Tour includes a staggering 86 tunes, all of which are master recordings from the original artists. While there is some unfortunate crossover with Rock Band 2, World Tour's soundtrack is far more diverse than previous offerings. Any game that combines songs from Willie Nelson, Los Lobos, Michael Jackson, Wings, the Doors, and Metallica can't be criticized for having a narrow focus. Still, there are some disappointing omissions, likely due to licensing issues. The Rolling Stones, the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, U2, and Pink Floyd are conspicuous by their absence. And while the eclectic mix of songs will help sell World Tour to a broad audience, hardcore rockers are going to have some trouble thrashing to Fleetwood Mac or Oasis. One of Guitar Hero III's complaints was the lack of character customization, which has been addressed in World Tour. You can now tweak your rocker's appearance by selecting a gender and adjusting his or her age, face, body type, and more. You can also create custom tattoos and instruments. The rockers are still highly stylized, falling somewhere in between cartoons and action figures, which some might find disappointing. Yet the series has always been a tongue-in-cheek look at rock, which is perhaps the healthiest angle to take in a game that has you feverishly clutching a toy with colored buttons. The packed venues are especially amusing, ranging from real-life places like the House of Blues and Ozzfest to a frat house, farm, castle, and more. The career mode isn't particularly deep, however. After selecting an instrument, you'll play through a series of 13 gigs, each spanning three to seven songs in length. Five optional gigs are also available, but you don't make any choices during your career other than the city you'll play next. Clothing items, characters, and meaningless sponsorships are unlocked automatically, so the only real purpose of playing through the career is to amass the cash needed to buy the extra stuff. Boss battles also make a return, only this time they no longer rely on cheesy power-ups. Still, they are often frustrating simply because the songs are long, and the computer has an uncanny ability to steer the audience away from you within the final minute. The biggest change from previous Guitar Hero titles, of course, is the ability to team up with three other friends and play through each song together as a band. Vocals support wired USB microphones and display the lyrics across a horizontal "tunnel" along with a pitch marker, which resembles a fireball. The problem is that the pitch marker is not nearly as sensitive as the one found in Rock Band 2 (or Karaoke Revolution), so it's not as easy to "steer" your voice so that it stays within the tunnel. Unless you happen to be a really talented singer or have a mean falsetto, you'll find it difficult to achieve consistently high scores on the more challenging settings. Guitar and bass follow the same format as you're used to, though the developers added a few slight twists to keep things interesting. The new wireless guitar controller now has a slider bar located before fret buttons, which has some optional but fun uses. Instead of strumming the notes, for example, you can hold down the fret buttons as usual and play the notes simply by tapping the slider bar. Certain notes can also be played by sliding your hand across the bar, and you can add a subtle wah-wah effect to sustained notes. The biggest issue with the new guitar controller is that the strum bar has a tendency to squeak after prolonged use. The drum kit features two elevated cymbal pads, giving the set a realistic feel, though the hit detection can be spotty at times. The drumming is otherwise similar to Rock Band, only with five basic notes to worry about instead of four. The most groundbreaking addition to the series is easily the music studio feature, which lets you create your own tracks for personal use or to share them online with the Guitar Hero community. There's only one problem: it's not particularly easy to make something worth listening to, let alone playing. The results sound like MIDI versions of songs that dominated less sophisticated websites in the early days of the Internet. The basic rule is that the more instruments you add to a song, the crappier it sounds, until you end up with the musical equivalent of a cat using a chalkboard for its scratching post. Fortunately, the community has patient people willing to make better songs, with an interesting mix of video game tunes (like Mario, Sonic, and Mega Man themes) and original creations already available. Since each song is rated, it's easy to separate the hits from the misses. Guitar Hero: World Tour introduces some slick looking instruments, a huge soundtrack, and a few surprises, including unlockable musicians like Sting, Ozzy Osbourne, Ted Nugent, and Jimi Hendrix, as well as the ability to create your own tunes. Not everything is pitch-perfect, however. Online play offers few significant changes from Guitar Hero III, and band versus band battles are more trouble to set up than they are worth. World Tour is neither as user-friendly as Rock Band 2 nor as flexible in terms of downloadable content. So if you're looking for the most extensive song library and the more complete band experience, Rock Band 2 has to be first on your shopping list. World Tour's most distinguishing feature is its challenge: its expert setting is sure to elicit wicked grins from those who deem Rock Band 2 unworthy of their plastic peripheral proficiency. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide
the game requires Other, Joystick/Gamepad.