The Guitar Hero franchise is back, and this time it’s brought along other, um, heroes. The game has finally gone the full band route, taking a cue from Rock Band, which last year took its own cue from Guitar Hero, which before that took a cue from actual musicians. Progress is wonderful.
Developer Neversoft has really gone out of its way to add a lot of bells and whistles to Guitar Hero World Tour. In addition to the new instruments, there are several music creation modes and a meaty online experience. But we can get to that in a bit. How does it actually play? How do the instruments feel? Those are the important questions. Point for point, it’s a mixed bag. The equipment is pretty solid and has a certain heft that’s lacking from the instruments packed-in with Rock Band. The drum designers have raised the ante considerably. They feel great. The guitars feel fine. The buttons work. What else is there to say? The gameplay is great and as fun as ever.
There are some presentation issues in the single-player department, however. Simply put, it’s kind of boring. You move on from song to song in a linear fashion, meaning it plays just like earlier iterations. You’ll run into similar problems in the full band modes as well. We don’t need the wheel reinvented, but we’d at least enjoy some new spokes. Or maybe one of those flaps with a silouhette of a naked lady. Is that asking too much?
The set list is pretty impressive, with cool tracks from Tool, Dinosaur Jr., the Allman Brothers and even a live Willie Nelson track. You’ll definitely find more variety here than in Rock Band. I know I keep bringing up Rock Band, but what else am I supposed to compare Guitar Hero World Tour to, PaRappa The Rapper? Fine. The set list is better than that game’s, too. Also, there’s an online store built-in to keep you filled to the brim with content.
Not that lack of content is a problem in Guitar Hero: World Tour. The game has an on-board studio that allows you to make your own songs. More importantly, there is an iTunes-esque music store that allows you to download other people’s creations. If you like someone else’s song, the game will integrate it into the main play experience. After time, it will begin showing up alongside the packed-in songs. Pretty cool. Recording the tracks is pretty easy, though it won’t let you do vocals. The editor allows you to record live on the fly with up to three other people. You can also pop in for quick overdubs when needed. I did encounter a little bit of lag every now and again in the PS3 version. That could have just been my natural lack of rhythm, melody and tonal structure though. Also, the created songs don’t sound all that great. Imagine a slightly-more-rocking ringtone and you’ll begin to get the picture.
All in all, Guitar Hero World Tour is a fun experience. The developers tried to shoehorn in a lot of features, and some end up working better than others. But at least they tried. Bottom line, this game is Guitar Hero, and you know what you are getting into. Even at its base, it’s still a good time. Once they work out some of the music-creation bugs and beef up the presentation, this could once again be the go-to franchise for fake music making. Here is to hoping.
Click the following links to buy Guitar Hero: World Tour for the PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii: Guitar Hero World Tour – Guitar Kit for PS3 | Guitar Hero World Tour – Guitar Kit for Xbox 360 | Guitar Hero World Tour – Guitar Kit for Wii.
- Score: 8.2
— Lawrence Bonk