With EA’s Rock Band improving on the much loved Guitar Hero series by simply adding more to do, its little shock to find Activision about to unleash their own take on the full band gaming genre.
The biggest addition over the last Guitar Hero title is obviously the extra batch of instruments available to those with ample cash. Brand new drum kits complete with cymbals (something the Rock Band drum kit lacked) and a solid feeling microphone now come with an improved guitar with a new touch bar below the standard fret buttons allowing to easily slide your fingers from note to note.
Each instrument has its own particular drawbacks, unfortunately due to poor production. The drums suffer from an unresponsive bass pedal which can infuriate with its frequent ignorance of your foot blatantly stamping down on it. The guitar might look and feel more professional to the initial touch, but the strum bar has an annoying eagerness to sometimes ignore your finger flicks.
With this full batch of apparatus to manipulate, it means the game is so much more than any other Guitar Hero title before it. Sick of strumming away as the lead guitar? Then simply have a shot at the drums. Realise you’re a rubbish singer? Then have a go at some slack bass.
The real treat is when you bring together a group of friends for a try at recreating one of the 80+ classic tunes included on the game disc. As far as drink fuelled riotous fun goes, spending an evening with a group of pals with a set of plastic instruments is difficult to beat.
For the less social among you, never fear. The standard single player modes are available, allowing you to play through and unlock tunes as you wow the crowds. Now you can even tweak the difficulty settings at will, going someway to negating those horrific difficulty spikes when the game seems intent on halting your rapid progress.
Even if you cant get a group of you packed in your living room for some multiplayer fun, the online options allow you to form some kind of online only superband. Lag is a rarity, making a fun old time available for one and all.
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One major inclusion is the chance to knock up your own tunes and share them online for others to try. Though you can’t add any vocals, the customisation levels are pretty top notch, and if you take your time, there’s little doubt that you can create something that other users may very well enjoy. But if you’re not the creative sort, you can easily sift through the tunes already available from other users and try and master the cream of the crop.
As irrelevant as the visual aesthetics should be for a music based title, the sheer amount of polish that’s been rubbed into World Tour is blatantly obvious. It’s not dripping in visual splendour like Gears of War 2, but all the information you need is constantly easily available to view. And in a game reliant on such things, that’s a major plus.
With the series so astonishingly popular these days, the 80+ songs on the set list are all master tracks from the original artists. And while a few smaller names remains, there’s a huge number of artists offering up the chance to try your hand at some of their classics. Oasis, Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Michael Jackson, Metallica: all the big names are here. Even Jimi Hendrix is ready and waiting with Purple Haze.
As far as musical gaming goes, Guitar Hero: World Tour is right up there. The instruments might not feel as top quality as their Rock Band counterparts, but that doesn’t prevent this from offering some classic gaming thrills.
A huge track listing, fantastic online options, and the brand new feature allowing you to create your own tunes make this the big one for multiplayer gamers this Christmas.