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.