Uh oh, it looks like we might have been wrong on this one. Preliminary reviews of Guitar Hero: World Tour suggest that things might not be as rosey in the Guitar Hero camp as originally thought with their first foray into the “full band” experience.
In previous Guitar Hero titles songs were always presented to you in pre-determined collections of songs. You had to play through and beat them in order to unlock the next pre-determined collection of songs. If you ever got to a point that you could no longer complete 1 of the songs in the collection, your progression in Guitar Hero simply stopped. You would physically unable to unlock anymore songs. Out of our set of friends that have the previous Guitar Hero titles, almost every one of them have complained about this.
It looks like in Guitar Hero: World Tour the layout is a bit more non-linear feeling, but essential still the same functional approach. You play in “gigs”, or sets of songs, and as you complete the entire gig, you unlock more gigs. It looks like completing a gig also unlocks followup encores for you, so if at any time you become unable to pass portions of your gigs you will not unlock the encores and I believe at later levels will not be able to unlock subsequent gigs… so there still seems the sick reality that your career can come to a standstill if you actually suck at playing plastic instruments. Doesn’t seem to fun to me.
In addition to that, it looks like there is no way to revive downed band members during a gig, you simply fail the song and have to try again.
It looks like character and instrument creation are solid and instrument play is generally looking good with some interesting enhancements like the new 6th note on the bass guitar (you just strum without holding a fret). Unfortunately it looks like the new touch-sensitive bar on the guitar is too hard to actually be awesome. Chris Roper from IGN said this in his review:
Unfortunately though, using the touchpad during the solo sections is really difficult. While it works, it’s very easy to lose your hand position and play the wrong note. I’m sure that some folks will master it and be able to nail some sections with it after memorizing the hand placement, but it’ll take some work. There are small crevices between each piece of the pad, but there isn’t a solid placement marker like the tab on the yellow fret button to help keep your hand in place. Also, the colors on the pad are inset in the guitar, so you can’t really see them when looking down on it.
Chris also goes onto mention how the touch-sensitive bar also incorrectly regsitered notes played on it during times that he wasn’t even touching it, failing him out of a song immediately on startup. He did mention that one of the guitars was more faulty than the other one, but both did it; and you also have to consider the odds there… 50% chance of a pretty-buggy guitar over a sorta-buggy guitar? Great…
Unfortunately for the drummers out there it looks like they might not be the best touch-sensitive implementation with a possible problem originating with the Red pads specifically. Ben Smith picked up Guitar Hero last night and had this to say about the drums:
So far it seems good, but I’m not in love with the drums. They feel less responsive, like they have less rebound, and the symbols (although cool) too small.
DLC, Track List & Music Creator
Not too much to say here. There is a store built into the game, it doesn’t have anything (much?) in it yet and you cannot transfer any music (except for 1 Metallica song) from any previous Guitar Hero game. So you are essentially stuck with what ships on the disk out of the box while the Rock Band folks get the track list from Rock Band 1 and Rock Band 2 plus god-knows-how-much-DLC all to play with out of the box.
However… the music creator in Guitar Hero: World Tour provides an integrated iTunes-esque experience with browsing user-created music in the form of “GH Tunes”. You browse by genre, rating, etc. and preview/download the songs you like that people have put together.
Unfortunately it sounds like this potential deal-maker is really hard to use and the music you are actually able to create sounds a lot like “MIDI” according to Roper; as you only have sound samples to pull from and compile into a song. Also, forget trying to add lyrics to your music (sung or written), cause you can’t.
I have a feeling that except for the hardcore fans the music-creator is DOA from the sheer fact that people buy these games to feel like a rock star, not learn how to lay down tracks of shitty sounding music that still aren’t as fun to play as the licensed tracks are.
While plenty of other reviewers liked the Guitar Hero: World Tour release, I’ve read enough things to take pause and consider the following tidbits:
- The Music Creator is not what people ultimately wanted
- DLC and tracks to play is more than 2x as big on Rock Band 2 right now
- Possible instrument problems with GH drums and guitar make me want to stay miles away
- Harder “cannot progress until you pass” approach of the GH series turns me off immediately
One tone I did get out of other reviews is that existing Guitar Hero fans will be happy, which folks on the fence, casual players and Rock Band fans are likely not going to get pulled over. You just have to figure out where you lay.