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Guitar Hero World Tour

Guitar Hero World Tour

Guitar Hero World Tour

Guitar Hero World Tour is a music rhythm game developed by Neversoft, published by Activision and distributed by RedOctane. It is the fourth main entry in the Guitar Hero series. The game was launched in North America in October 2008 for the PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Wii, and Xbox 360 consoles, and a month later for Europe and Australia. A version of World Tour for Microsoft Windows and Apple Macintosh was later released.

While the game continues to feature the use of a guitar-shaped controller to simulate the playing of rock music, Guitar Hero World Tour is the first game in the Guitar Hero series to feature drum and microphone controllers for percussion and vocal parts, similar in manner to the competing Rock Band series of games. The game allows users to create new songs through the "Music Studio" mode, which can then be uploaded and shared through a service known as "GHTunes".

World Tour received generally positive reviews with critics responding positively to the quality of the instrument controllers, the customization abilities, and improvements in the game's difficulty compared with the previous Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock.

Guitar Hero World Tour Gameplay

Guitar Hero World Tour builds on the gameplay from previous Guitar Hero games, in which players attempt to simulate the playing of rock music using special guitar-shaped controllers. World Tour expands beyond the core guitar-based gameplay by introducing the ability to play drums and sing vocals, and supports the ability for up to four players to play together in a virtual band through these different instruments. Successfully hitting notes increases the player's or band's score, as well as increase the "Rock Meter" that represents the song's performance. Missed notes are not scored and negatively affect the Rock Meter. If the Rock Meter drops too low, the song ends prematurely, with the virtual audience booing the band off stage. Completing a consecutive series of notes successfully will increase a scoring multiplier for that player up to 4x. This multiplier is doubled when the player activates star power. Similar to Rock Band, the band shares a common score, scoring multiplier and band performance meter while each player has their own performance metric; the band also shares the same "Star Power" meter, though any player may activate it at any time. A player that performs poorly and reduces their performance meter to zero can still continue to play, but they drain the overall performance meter for the band, requiring the other players to make up for this. Successfully completing a song garners a three to five-star rating based on the accumulated score, and rewards such as in-game money that can be used to buy new guitars and outfits for characters.

The guitar interface remains relatively unchanged in World Tour. As with previous Guitar Hero titles, the guitar and bass player must hold down the correct fret button(s) on the controller while strumming in time with the notes as they scroll on-screen. One addition to the guitar gameplay is the ability to play notes while holding a sustained note. Additionally, the bass guitar player will be required to play notes representing an open E string, which is shown on-screen as a solid line across their note track. To play these notes, the bass guitar player strums the controller without pressing any fret button keys. The drum interface is similar to the guitar's interface, with each on-screen note track equivalent to a colored drum head on the controller, with the bass drum indicated by a line across the note track. The drum player only needs to hit the correct drum pads simultaneously to the note gems to successfully play their track. There are also marked sections on the drum part wherein the player may play any notes they wish in a 'solo' to gain points. The vocal track requires the player to match the pitch of the notes in a manner similar to Karaoke Revolution to be successful. Special sections of each players' note track are marked with glowing notes, which, if completed successfully, builds up Star Power. Once enough Star Power is accumulated, it can be released via various means to double the band's current score multiplier. For guitar and bass, this is done by lifting the guitar controller vertically or (though not in bass) by pressing a button on the guitar face; for drums, by striking both cymbal pads on the controller at the same time; for vocals, by tapping the microphone or making a similarly quick sound. Star Power's use has been modified over previous Guitar Hero entries in that Star Power can now be accumulated even when Star Power is in use by successfully completing additional Star Power phrases, which extends the Star Power's duration.

In addition to the standard four difficulty levels (Easy, Medium, Hard, and Expert) for each song and instrument, a new Beginner level has been added in World Tour. This difficulty is aimed for younger and unskilled players; notes are generally simple straight lines in time with bass drum beats, and allowing any or no fret button to be held while the note is strummed (for lead and bass guitar), any drum to be hit (for drums), or any sound to be made (for vocals).

Reception
Guitar Hero World Tour has received generally positive reviews from critics, many making comparisons between it and the Rock Band series. 1UP noted that while World Tour is not as good a "party game" as Rock Band, the game still provides "great peripherals and fun-to-play music" and delivers what the player should expect. GameTrailers stated that "another viable challenger has stepped onto the stage." IGN's review was lukewarm, noting that "A number of things it tries to accomplish were already done better in Rock Band", but stated that the game would be a good "stepping point" for the next iteration of the series.

While reviewers were satisfied with the single player modes of the game, the Band tour mode was considered weaker than Rock Band's Tour mode. The interface for a full band, despite being similar to Rock Band, was found to be confusing, making it difficult to determine if a fellow bandmember was about to fail or identifying how much Star Power the band had accumulated. The Band tour was found to be little different from the single player modes, and lacked the additional incentives and challenges that Rock Band had. The note charts and the game's difficulty curve were found to be significantly easier than the more punishing ones in Guitar Hero III. Critics did observe poor note charting, stating that some of the song charts "simply don't match the music" and that "you'll be asked to hit notes where there are none, or not hit notes that are there." The soundtrack was generally praised for containing all master recordings. However, critics found that the setlist contains very few standout hits, and that the inclusion of a number of foreign-language and difficult-to-recognize songs weakened the overall list. Reviews also commented on the number of songs that overlapped with Rock Band 2's set list.

Reviews of the instrument peripherals for World Tour were mixed. The new touchpad on the guitar controller was found to be imprecise to make it difficult to use during difficult song sections and would sometimes fail to register taps or slides; some of these issues were attributed to initial manufacturing problems. The drum kit has been praised for ease of set up, the drum pad layout, and the response of the drums, though the lack of a means to fix the location of bass drum pedal was seen as a drawback when compared to the Rock Band drum kit.

The music creation feature of the game, while seen as a useful addition to the game, was found to be difficult to use, suffered from on-screen lag that could interfere with song creation, and the quality of the resulting songs were compared to ring tones for cell phones. The character customization in World Tour was generally seen as an improvement over the limitations of Rock Band. However, reviewers noted that the use of the real-life celebrities against the cartoon-like visuals, along with the emphasis on the band and not individual players, made their presence "anachronistic".

The Wii version received additional praise from reviewers, mostly from the changes in the Wii operation to accommodate the game's Music Store and online play features. The Mii Freestyle Mode was also found to be a good addition, allowing the game to be accessible for younger players. IGN noted that most of the credit for the Wii version is due to Vicarious Visions, as that "the only real aspects that hold the game back from being truly amazing overall are - oddly enough - the ones implemented by Neversoft's core design". It was awarded Best Music/Rhythm Game on the Wii by IGN in its 2008 video game awards. IGN also nominated it for several other Wii-specific awards, including Best Family Game, Best Online Multiplayer Game, and Game of the Year.

World Tour sold more than 534,000 units during its first week of release, less than half of the sales of Guitar Hero III during the same period, with the Wii version selling the most with 183,000 units. During the month of November 2008, 978,000 units were sold, with 475,000 being for the Wii platform. The Wii version was the fifth best-selling game of December 2008 in the United States, selling in excess of 850,000 copies. The PlayStation 2 version was the 17th best-selling game and best-selling PlayStation 2 game of the same month in that region. The Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions did not rank, but ranked the sixth and fifth best-selling games respectively for their respective systems. World Tour sold 3.4 million copies across all platforms in North America during 2008. Full band bundles represented 41% of all unit sales of World Tour through January 2009, equating to 61% of the game's revenue, while 35% of unit sales and 27% of total revenues came from the guitar and game bundle. In a March 2011 list, the NPG Group placed World Tour as the 7th highest grossing game in the United States since 1995.


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