previews\ Sep 15, 2008 at 8:00 pm

Guitar Hero World Tour - WII - Preview 2

The champion of the rhythm game genre, Activision’s Guitar Hero franchise will get a pretty serious boost in the arm this October when Guitar Hero: World Tour launches. The latest entry in the hugely successful series will let you play in a full-on band with your friends, introducing drums and a mic to the mix, 84 licensed tracks, and a great new music suite called GH Tunes that will let you create and upload your own songs.

GameZone recently got a chance to spend some quality time with the game at an event held by Activision in LA, playing through a sizable chunk of the game’s tracklist and even checking out the new GH Tunes feature. World Tour is shaping up to be the quintessential music game, moving a step beyond anything else that’s currently offered while retaining what has made the series so great.

Guitar Hero: World Tour’s interface lends a lot to Rock Band in terms of instrument layout. The look is very similar, with the drum chart in the middle, the bass and lead guitar on either side of it, and the pitch register and lyrics for vocals on the top of the screen. Aside from that, the look is very similar to other games in the Guitar Hero franchise, from the notes to the band that plays in the background. The cartoon musicians do look more synced than in previous entries.

One of the best things in Guitar Hero World Tour is the setlist, which is extremely huge. Featuring 86 master tracks on the disc, the list features a very diverse group of tunes from many artists, from Tool and KoRn to Joe Satriani and Ozzy, and even Michael Jackson. The mix is varied and a ton of fun to play, and there truly is something here for every shade of rock fan.

Instead of simply resting on their laurels and throwing in mic and drum support without any changes to the guitar and bass, the developers have actually made some distinct changes. The bass notes will feature open notes in addition to fretted notes, which is a nice addition to the somewhat stagnant instrument. Additionally, there have been a few key additions made to the lead guitar as well, including hammer-on sustains, and finger-tap solos (entire sections where you won’t have to use the strum bar at all) that help keep things fresh for guitar players.

One of the biggest new features in World Tour is the Music Studio feature. The Music Studio is essentially a music suite that allows you to create your own songs by using the various instruments to lay down individual note charts. These original songs can be uploaded onto the game’s GH Tunes servers for other users to download and check out. While you’ll only be able to upload five songs at first, if you receive good votes from the community, you’ll be able to upload 15 songs. Another facet of the Music Studio, GH Mix, will allow you to get into the nitty-gritty and tweak your song within a mixing board-like interface, adding more notes and adding some complexity to your song and really making it stand out against others.

Unique to the Wii version will be Mii Freestyle, which works a little bit like the Music Studio but is a bit more freeform. With your Mii avatars replacing the normal characters, you'll be able to jam with your friends playing either the guitar or the drums. While you won't be able to record songs, it's still a lot of fun to just mess around with.

Even without the deep custom song features, Guitar Hero: World Tour’s robust songlist and great instruments would make it a title that no rhythm game fan would want to be without. Look for it to launch this October.

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