Everyone knows that Horror and Heavy Metal are made for each other. It’s a fact! So being able to sit in your bedroom with a miniature plastic guitar and play along to songs from Metallica and Ozzy Osbourne – to name but two – is something of a wet dream cum true.
That’s my lame excuse to justify my review of Guitar Hero World Tour…
Guitar Hero World Tour is the fourth game in the Guitar Hero franchise. And certainly one of the most elaborate. I played a fair bit of Guitar Hero III which (I believe) was one of the first guitar games to use motion capture technology to capture the performances of Brett Michaels, Tom Morello and Slash (they were also the ‘bosses’ that you had to beat in a duel) but Guitar Hero World Tour (aka: GHWT because I’m too lazy to keep typing the full name for the entire review) has upped the ante with motion captured Ozzy, some drummer guy that I’ve never seen before, Sting (no, I’m not kidding, it has Sting in it. Maybe they were strapped for cash after getting Ozzy and went for some lower priced talent, I dunno, but he looks totally out of place) and Jimi Hendrix, I’d be interested to know how they got the motion capture for him (just kidding). GHWT is also the first game, in the series, to include Bass, Drum and Vocal tracks for players to use, hence the inclusion of motion captured drummer-guy and Sting. So, yeah, you can terrorize your neighbourhood with a plastic drum kit too! Yay!
Just a side note about the instruments: I played GHWT with no problems at all using my GHIII guitar.
Why would GUITAR Hero include other instruments? Because it has begotten a bastard son, named: Rock Band. It was the first game to use several instruments and a serious rival to GHIII, so GHWT really had to include other instruments to keep up with Rock Band 2. So there’s also Rock Band 2 to satisfy your finger twiddling delight, but for me the song list in GHWT is far superior.
Speaking of songs: this is also the first guitar game to use the original songs in the game, 86 songs to be exact. Guitar Hero III had some original tracks, but some were recreations of the original, but for the most part they sounded ok. Here it’s the real deal. For a full song list from GHWT, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_songs_in_Guitar_Hero_4, just be aware though: that isn’t the order in which you play the songs. It starts off nice and easy and increases in difficulty. Even when you’ve completed all 86 songs, there’s a ton of downloadable content including the entire Death Magnetic album from Metallica, oh how they’ve changed their tune since Napster. It also has a built in music editor for creating your own music! AAAAAND it can also use XboxLive to exchange songs and do musical battle with. If they could include an option for it to give out slippery hand-jobs, it’d be the greatest thing since the invention of the sex doll.
Anyway, I digress. You start the game by deciding which instrument you want to play, then create your guitar hero (or drum hero, whichever). Like GHIII, you start by playing dingey, smokey, clubs and work your way up. Along the way you must battle musical greats such as Zak Wylde, Jimi Hendrix, Sting, Ozzy Osbourne and drummer-guy. You can begin by playing on the Easy setting (using only three out of the five buttons) and unlocking songs along the way. When you’re ready, you can move up to the more advanced settings using four, and eventually all five, buttons. Don’t worry, you can also practice songs too (once they are unlocked) section by section to get it nailed. Scoring is done by not missing any notes and by using your ‘star power’. Some notes will be star shaped, play the entire string of star notes and you get one star power. When you reach three, four, or five, stars you can unleash your star power which will increase your score for the length of the power, more stars means a longer star power.
Good as it is, GHWT does have a couple of little flaws:
- Tool. The band Tool, that is. There’s a section of four Tool songs that look totally out of place. Why not scatter the songs throughout the game? Why do I have to play four boring Tool songs in a row? And why does the background need to have a large eye with little floaty eye things? Every other section shows the stage with the musicians doing their thang, for the Tool section its some weird trippy looking background.
- Sting. What the hell is he doing in a rock/metal game? I hope he was cheap!
- The last section of the game. This is where the creators obviously wanted their monies worth from using Sting, Ozzy and drummer-guy. For the last section it wheels them out and, including yourself, is the ultimate band. Fair enough. Not so bad you think. Yeah, great until you see Ozzy dancing and singing La Bamba! Then have Sting headbang to Trapped Under Ice (Metallica)! Utter madness.
- The end. The game doesn’t have a story as such, but still, I won’t spoil what happens at the end but, suffice to say: it’s completely out of place, surreal, and could easily have had a Dio song in the background… odd, VERY odd…
But even with those flaws, GHWT is still an awesome game! I’m no guitar virtuoso by any means, but I’ll certainly be going back to it again and again to play the songs and up the skill level.
For more background info and history on GHWT: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guitar_Hero_World_Tour