For those who are about to rock, we salute you. Many describe Guitar Hero as being a music rhythm game controlled by using a plastic replica of the real instrument; whilst others see it as a unique gaming experience. Two years on and five games later (including Guitar Hero: Aerosmith and Guitar Hero: Encore – Rock the 80s), Neversoft (developer) and Activision (publisher) are set to revolutionize the Guitar Hero series by introducing two new instruments. The first of which is the wireless drum set.
The drums contain three drum pads, two cymbals and a foot pedal. Unlike the Rock Band drum set, the Guitar Hero: World Tour drums seem to be more life-like. Unfortunately, there seems to be one major fault with the design: How on earth are we supposed to keep the foot pedal in position? The last thing we want to think about when we’re playing away is keeping the foot pedal straight. Let’s hope a solution to the problem is solved before or even shortly after the release of the game.
The second of the new instruments to the series is the wired microphone. Yes, wired. In this day and age, the use of wires should almost be eliminated so this comes as a slight disappointment. There is the alternative of using an Xbox 360 headset though this may not satisfy some player’s expectations who want to create the band feeling.
Whilst the guitar controller may not be new, improvements have still been made to it. The most obvious difference is that the guitar now sports a rather nice-looking sunburn design. Isn’t it sexy? According to RedOctane, the guitar will be round about 25% larger than the Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock controller and will also contain a longer whammy bar as well as a quieter and longer strum bar. I personally feel this is a step forward as the guitar will be more life-like though I’d have to get my hands on the guitar to give a justified opinion of it.
A new feature to the guitar is the touch-sensitive pad, positioned on the detachable neck of the guitar, below the fret buttons. The touch pad encourages the use of ‘tap strumming’ – a new guitar style for players to learn and can also be used to play regular notes. The touch pad can also be used with a new in-song feature called ‘Slider Gems’ which connect notes using a purple line. Alternatively, the fret buttons can be pressed without strumming.
As for the game itself, I’ll start with arguably the most exciting feature of Guitar Hero: World Tour; the set list. This year’s game contains a staggering 86 songs on the disc including rock legends such as Ozzy Osbourne and Jimi Hendrix to the likes of Michael Jackson and Bon Jovi. As with previous Guitar Hero titles, many players will discover – through playing the game – new favourites. Download content has already been confirmed to release on a weekly basis with tracks packs for Jimi Hendrix and The Raconteurs releasing just after the game’s release at 440 Microsoft Points each.
If that wasn’t enough, Guitar Hero: World Tour features a custom song creator which will limit users to 1,200 notes or three minutes. In the creator players will be able to choose from a range of drum kits and guitars. The vocal track is added to the song using a keyboard track to set the notes which are then hummed when the song is played. Whilst it may not be ideal, it’s progress in the genre and a feature that is bound to appear in many games to come. Line 6 has confirmed they will be sticking to the Guitar Hero series by allowing their amplifiers to be used in the Music studio.
The created songs can be shared through Xbox Live using the “GH Tunes” service. The service will be run by Neversoft who announced they will be including a Showcase to show off some of the best creations. Users will also be able to rate other player’s songs as well as upload five of their own songs. There are even achievements for doing so.
The achievements for Guitar Hero: World Tour have already been unveiled and they are more-or-less what we expected and more. Unlike previous Guitar Hero titles, the achievements for World Tour actually look doable. From completing a tutorial to completing each instrument’s career, the achievements will be unlocking faster than you can say Mississippi Queen.
The rest of World Tour’s new features include character creation, online Band Career and eight player “Battle of the Bands” – all of which are self explanatory and will help give the title the edge over Rock Band 2. Of course the familiar game modes including the single player career and quick play will still be available.
Guitar Hero: World Tour looks set to rock the series to a whole new level. The release date of the game is Friday 7th November 2008.