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Guitar Hero: World Tour

Score: 94%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Neversoft Entertainment
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 - 4
Genre: Party/ Rhythm/ Online

Graphics & Sound:

Guitar Hero forever changed the way gamers played on a console. Instead of playing rhythm games using a controller, they decided to let us all become guitar gods. Or at least let us feel like we are by giving us a guitar-shaped controller instead of a normal boring controller. In order to keep up with the rock revolution that they started, we now have Guitar Hero: World Tour, which allows vocalists and drummers to join with the guitars.

Graphically, things have changed somewhat. Instead of the classic characters like Casey Lynch and the Reaper that you're used to, you can now create your own character. If you want to customize any little piece of your character, you can. The controls are pretty easy to use. It's quite nice to be able to make your character look exactly like you want to.

Being that Guitar Hero: World Tour is a music game, then the song selection is going to be pretty important. Instead of just having to pick good guitar songs like they have in the past, now the songs needed to be more robust and have good parts for all the instruments. I really like the selection that they came up with. When you first play the game, there are over 20 songs available for Quick Play. After everything is unlocked, there are over 80 songs available and even more that you can download. A few of the downloadable songs are even free. The choices range from classics like Blondie or The Doors to more modern choices like Linkin Park or Korn and just about everything in between.


There are a few different modes of play that you can choose from. Career Mode is where you go to play specific set lists and unlock more songs. It's a little different from the Career in the previous games though. Instead of a list of 4 or 5 songs that you play one at a time and beat a set number of them to unlock the next set, you play a gig that consists of 2 or more songs. After you beat the gig, you'll unlock another gig and more songs. Career Mode can be played single on any instrument or as a band with any number of instruments.

Quick Play will let you choose any song that you have already unlocked or downloaded and play it. You can play alone or with any number of band members in Quick Play. When you want to just play without worrying about having to play specific songs and sets, you'll enjoy Quick Play. If you happen to want to play against your friends locally, you can do so with Head to Head mode. To play against other people online, choose the Nintendo WFC. You'll also find your download store under there (or just choose Music Store from the Main Menu). One new and very interesting feature is the Music Studio. Here you can create your own rhythms to play to the songs. I didn't spend much time in it though; creating the patterns just isn't my thing. But that's the great thing about having so many options; you can play the game in whatever mode you like.


There are five different difficulty levels to choose from, so you can start off very slowly with Beginner and work your way up to the hardest level of Expert. This makes it really nice because it does take a little bit to get used to the vocals and drums, even if you're already a god on guitar. Plus, there are some new notes and techniques in Guitar Hero: World Tour that throw in a new twist for you to get used to.

The first big one that I noticed was the new button beside your strum bar. On some songs, you'll notice a line across the strings that looks like you're supposed to hit the foot pedal on the drums. This is a palm note. You play it by holding down that new button beside the strum bar and strumming at the same time. It is meant to imitate the hollow sound made by tapping the guitar with a hand. Personally I found these notes very hard to hit. You have to manage to hold down the new bar with the palm of your hand and still strum the strum bar with that same hand. My hands just aren't big enough to do this very easily. I would love for the palm notes to be gone!

The other big thing to get used to is the new drum layout. If you're used to playing Rock Band, then you're used to only having four drum notes and a foot pedal to hit. Guitar Hero: World Tour has rearranged this configuration and added an additional note. Instead of the four pads being all beside each other, you have 3 pads and 2 cymbals above them. The foot pedal is still the same. It did take a little bit of work to wrap my head around the change, but it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. You can move the cymbals around so they're in a position that is easier for you to hit and the foot pedal works great. I like the new drum set configuration.

Game Mechanics:

There are so many little details for each of the instruments that it would take me forever to list here. Luckily, there are Tutorials that cover every little detail of every instrument for you to go through so I'll just give you the big things.

For the guitar, bass, and drums, you'll see your notes scrolling up the screen. You hold down the color button that corresponds to the note and strum the strum pad when the note hits the main bar. For the vocals, your words and pitch that you're supposed to hit scroll at the top of the screen when you're playing with a band and at the bottom of the screen when you're playing solo. Vocally, it doesn't care what words you're saying; only what pitch you are singing. So as long as you're singing on key, it doesn't really matter what words you sing.

Star power is still a part of the game. When you're playing solo or with a band, you can activate it at any time. Star power is shared when you are playing as part of a band. To activate it with the guitar is the same as it has always been, just tilt the guitar neck up. For the vocals, you simply hit the (A) button. The drums are a little bit different. You have to hit both cymbals at the same time to activate Star Power. Be careful though because if you're a little off on one, you'll mess up your combo. It is a little difficult to get used to, but it is also nice to be able to activate it whenever you need.

I'm sure your big question is whether or not to get Guitar Hero: World Tour if you've already got Rock Band. When I first started playing it, I wouldn't have said yes. The new changes, especially the palm notes, threw me off guard. But after playing it for a while, I decided that I like the drum changes and the song list is really good. Personally I would now say go get Guitar Hero: World Tour, even if you already have Rock Band. There's just so many new songs that you could be playing on it right now and overall, the additional features are worth it.

-Cyn, GameVortex Communications
AKA Sara Earl

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