Guitar Hero: World Tour is set to release in late October for PS3, Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii, and you likely already know that Guitar Hero now focuses on guitars in name alone. World Tour is a full-band affair, with bass, drums and vocals added to the musical mix, much like Rock Band and Karaoke Revolution.
We recently traveled to Los Angeles to get some hands-on time with Guitar Hero: World Tour, and appropriately enough, the event took place at an actual recording studio. Much like the new song-creation mode in World Tour, this studio had knobs and thingamajigs everywhere. But rather than be overwhelmed, the studio — and the game — impressed us. This article is a preview for the Nintendo Wii version; click the following link if you’d like to read our hands-on preview of Guitar Hero: World Tour for PS3 and Xbox 360.
Waggle-mania spreads across the Wii version of Guitar Hero: World Tour like the warmth of a billion casually gaming suns. This isn’t a bad thing though, and some of the implementation on the Wii is downright neat. For starters, the Wii iteration doesn’t even demand you use the entire drum set. Instead, the game allows you to play “air drums” using a Wiimote and Nunchuck. I’ll send a pizza to the first person to do this in their underwear, film it and post it on YouTube. It’ll be a smash!
Oh yeah, and the best part: it works, too. It doesn’t work as well as the full peripheral, but it is more realized than it should be, considering it doesn’t even need to be there. There are the usual slight waggle recognition problems, but nothing to write home about. This idea definitely has some potential once Wii MotionPlus enters the fray, however. I, for one, can’t wait to recreate a Keith Moon performance using one-to-one motion capture. If only future versions of the franchise allow me to virtually pop pills and blow up sets of drums in front of the Smothers Brothers.
In addition to the non-studio modes you’ll find on the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions (read about them here), the most compelling and unique mode on the Wii version is Wii Freestyle Mode. This mode differs significantly from the song-recording done on the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions, and there will no doubt be some tersely written comments about it on the online message boards. The thing is, I think I liked it.
I hesitate because I couldn’t figure out how to make music that didn’t sound like the first practice of a teenage death metal band, which probably sounds cool to you unless you actually knew a teenage death metal band. I did. They were inexplicably leprechaun themed, and it was a harrowing experience. After a few play throughs, I realized this wasn’t a fault of the program. The drummer and I just, well, sucked. The music creation mode on the Wii has an actual learning curve. Much like my friends in “Pot of Bloody Gold” could only use a rudimentary understanding of their instruments to make loud, atonal nonsense, newbies to the Guitar Hero: World Tour music-creation process on the Wii will find it difficult to make something you can actually dance to.
This is because you actually play the instruments. The drums act like drums. I wouldn’t say the guitar acts like a guitar, but at the very least it acts like the electric guitar sound on an old Casio keyboard. Because the Wiimote is nestled inside of the guitar, the system also takes into account guitar placement. So, if you raise the guitar, for instance, it allows you to activate a series of sustained notes. It can be tricky if you have no musical acumen.
Graphically, the Wii version of Guitar Hero: World Tour is a notch down from the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions, which is odd considering the “big boys” aren’t exactly the Sistine Chapel to begin with. Still, the Wii version looks adequate. I mean, colored dots are colored dots.
All told, the Wii version was a blast. Being as how Rock Band 2 won’t release on the Wii for a while, this is far away your best choice on the system for fake rocking out.
— Lawrence Bonk