Thursday, June 5, 2008

Guitar Hero: World Tour. Why you should give it a second look.

This afternoon was pretty slow. I spent most of it cleaning out the fridge, moving couches, and watching movies. Despite all of that I was asked a question about a particular game in the works from Activision. Guitar Hero: World Tour. The question was from my wife and my friend Liz, which was placed inbetween sessions of the Ps2 version of Rock band, was about what's included with this new game. Good question. Other than the fact that it includes a drum set, guitar compatibility and possibly a microphone, I had no idea, and for all I knew it was just another way for Red Octane to cash in on the success of ex friend, and newfound rival company Harmonix's Rock Band.

What do you do in this situation you ask? I look to my old friend, the internetz. The internetz can be a double edge sword. For all we know it could possibly be a blessing, or a misinformed curse, so I advise you, dear reader This information is what I've found so far, it could change, at a moment's notice, or possibly just be the proverbial smoke blown up our collective behinds.

There are a lot of elements in this game that are similar to Rock Band, which are the "create-a-character" application, the Career mode, and World Tour modes. Online play will be included, with "co-op" and "battle of the bands" play, but let's talk about the new stuff that Activision has planned for this game.

For starters that heavy level of difficulty that has burdened the recent sequels appears to be lifted off of the shoulders of veteran, and newbie gamers. Career mode is possibly stated to shift in difficulty to prevent players from being stuck on songs, and unlike Rock Band Activision states that you can swap out instruments on your savefiles without starting up an entirely new game.

Guitar Hero: World Tour (or GHWT as it will be called for all convenient purposes) Has quite a few differences from it's rival predecessor, and one of the most notable changes will be the drum set, which now consists of two cymbal pads, one snare pad, two tom pads, and a bass drum pedal. The drums are reported to be "velocity sensitive" (fast motion tracking capibilities?) a feature forged from previous patents from games like MTV drumscape. The newly added cymbals will become the trigger for drummer star power. Activision says that this will be the "most realistic drum experience ever in a video game". Activision also promises that there will be more drummer focused solos, which is something I wish Rock Band had more of.

The most epic Boss Battles from "Legends of Rock" will be included in this game, but this time Activision has stated that they want to focus more on the aspect of attack power-ups, which might be a novel idea. It would be pretty awesome if they brought in more Guitar or Drumming Legends to go up against you and your friends, maybe go up against Def Leppard's Rick Allen for an epic drum battle, or possibly have Dimebag Darrell challenge you guitarists to a duel from beyond the grave?

On the subject of guitars, Red Octane will be creating a new guitar peripheral for this game. There was news of a possible lawsuit against Activision by Gibson, due to an infringement of patents, which means you might not see a Les Paul bundled into this game, but what you will find is a new guitar that Activision says will "make the guitar as expressive as a real guitar". What does that mean for you? Well, according to Game Informer's article on GHWT, it's speculated that this may mean fret sliding or possible freestyle solos!

Lastly, GHWT features a new customizable option that allows you create digital music from scratch. This new option was likened to Apple's "Garage Band" application, and will utilize each and every instrument to create new content to be shared via internet between players. This option could possibly be the biggest thing to come out of a rhythm based game in a long time, but will it work out? we shall soon see.

On another note Konami has dropped information on their new rhythm based game "Rock Revolution", which boasts a six-button drum set and less constraints on it's drum freestyling options. It seems that the rhythm rock genre is turning into an all-out war using music as it's weapon.

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