Guitar Hero World Tour, Band Kit (Xbox 360)
Manufacturer: Activision Part number: 95519
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New Guitar Hero, same old weaknesses
by jahpeople on October 29, 2008
Pros: Full band kit (with drums!)
Very well designed guitar controller
Interesting game modes
Cons: Poorly designed drums, it's criminal how bad they are!
innovative, but ultimately unsatisfying "new" game modes
Charting is out of control once again in the GH universe
Flimsy kick pedal
Summary: It was with a bit of skepticism tinged with excitement that I picked up this bundle at my local Bestbuy last Sunday. I hadn't planned on getting in on ...
Summary: It was with a bit of skepticism tinged with excitement that I picked up this bundle at my local Bestbuy last Sunday. I hadn't planned on getting in on World Tour's action, but once I saw the display in the store and the handful of 360 kits available I couldn't resist. If there's one thing my fake rocking has been missing lately after all, it's cymbals on the drum set. Once I got this home and unboxed though, even my low expectations weren't enough to shield me from disappointment.I have since returned this product to bestbuy. Interestingly enough, when I approached the customer service counter the rep just looked at me and said "drum problems"? After giving him the affirmative he shook his head from side to side and said something to the effect that I wasn't the first one returning his kit for that reason. Apparently the drumkit issues are pretty widespread, so if you plan on purchasing this you might not want to buy the full kit, just the game and guitar ... and mic if necessary. As it is the drums have so many problems that it's not worth the risk, in my opinion, of picking them up right now.
World tour offers what you would expect by now from a "band" game. 4 player co-op, head to head challenges, a decent track list, cool looking peripherals, a song creator and sharing mode, and big honking box. Unfortunately the game, for me at least, failed to pique my interest even with all the bells and whistles.
First, Guitar Hero is notorious for over-charting their songs, in other words throwing more notes at the player on-screen then there actually are in the song. The same is true for WT, so the "most realistic band experience" that Activision has been touting is instantly undermined by this bizarre practice. Once you get past that glaring flaw what do you have left?
Graphically the games animations look great, but the color schemes of backgrounds and even the note chart sections looks incredibly bland in action. The game just comes across muddy looking, even on a 40'' Sony Bravia. The game is still very much set in the Guitar Hero style, cartoony characters appearing in over the top designed arenas. All the action in this game happens well outside anything that could be considered reality.
Gameplay and new game modes:
Anyone who has played GH will instantly be familiar with World Tour's gameplay, as it is identical to previous entries. The addition of extra instruments is the only real change there. The new modes are, again for me at least, not all that interesting. The song creation mode is kind of nice, but I'm not all that interested in making new music, nor sharing it with the xbox community. Calibration is pretty easy and fairly accurate, which is what one would expect. I don't really have much more to say on the game itself. If you've played GH and Rock Band, then you will be familiar with this experience, since it's basically Activision's take on Rock Band.
In the Box: the peripherals
The guitar controller is amazing. Very well designed with a better strum bar, whammy bar, and d-pad this controller is a cut above the rest in every way. The neck features a touch pad that you can use to play translucent notes or tap out regular notes instead of strumming. Pretty cool actually. In all honestly this is hands down the best guitar controller I've ever used. No complaints.
It's a mic, you sing into it, it works. Nothing out of the ordinary here.
The drums -
Boy oh boy, where to start. Okay, so these drums were the most innovative piece of hardware in this entire kit. A 3-pad drum kit with two cymbals seems like a much more natural way to play a music game. Riding the high hat while tapping out a beat on the snare just seems so darn ... real. Sadly the drum kit is also the most poorly designed piece of hardware in the bundle.
The pads are very large and made of a nice rubber-like material. They don't register hits very accurately which could be a result of the velocity sensitivity. Sometimes soft hits don't register, sometimes hard hits do not. I personally had a lot of problems with the red pad more than any other. If the pads are not working properly, you've got a busted drum game on your hands. Sadly this is not where the defects stop.
The cymbals are a really neat piece of hardware, but in my case one of the cymbals was almost completely defective. My left (yellow) cymbal barely works. It would occasionally register a hit, but never two quick hits in a row and never enough to actually play through a song. After checking and re-checking the connection, making sure the cymbal stayed firmly plugged in I gave up. It just didn't work. Let me reiterate, IT DIDN'T WORK RIGHT OUT OF THE BOX. That's not good.
The Kick Pedal-
The kick pedal works, but it is distinctly uncomfortable. The pedal itself is only a few inches away from the base, making the learning curve for figuring how far to pull your foot up in order to register hits pretty steep. It's made entirely of plastic, and as a result your foot kind of rocks back and forth on the surface. It works, but it's not a very elegant solution for the kick pedal.
Guitar Hero World Tour aspired to be great, but was only just "ok". Innovative game modes mixed with mediocre gameplay, still makes this a mediocre game. Add to that the unforgivable defects of a brand new drum kit, and this is a game that should be avoided at all costs. But what am I saying, there is some fun to be had here, but I would avoid buying the full band kit until Activision works out all of the kinks. Not good.
Updated on Oct 30, 2008