Playing online, I found the experience to be a mixed bag. I didn't have any bad experiences due to lag but the options available to playing online isn't that clear. I tried playing in full band modes but I never got to play with less than a full setup. This comes to really be a hassle when doing a band vs band mode where you have to have eight people. Now, maybe I'm doing something wrong and there's nothing in the manual I could find but I didn't see a way to start a game without having all four or eight band members in the game. You're just put in a queue of matching people and have no option but to wait. Once you do find players to play with, you are again forced to play at a difficulty level predetermined before you get into the songs. I've had a few games where the guys maybe great players but one a song or two they are still practicing or just can't get. If they would have the ability to choose a difficulty level a little less than what they had defaulted we wouldn't have failed the song quickly. At the end, you are just given a general score and not even any breakdown of how the other band members did which is a little disappointing. I do like that it randomly choose a person to choose a song to play so not one player is hogging the selection of the setlist. It was also easier and quicker to get into games with other guitar players playing those types of gameplay modes but having all four players in a game is where it's at and the interface to do it is confusing and needs work.
Something unique to Guitar Hero World Tour is the music maker and here I thought the intentions were good but the final product leaves much to be desired. There are no vocals allowed of course so there’s one strike against it. The music created by the editor sound more like MIDI music and come nowhere close to actual songs. Still there are a lot of options to tweak how it sounds and using the instruments to create songs. It's when you get into some more tweaking and fine tuning where you find some interface issues making it a little more confusing and difficult. If you spend a good amount of time though to work through some of the nuances, you can generate a decent melody albeit without vocals and sounding a little computery. You’ll find a lot of original content to download and play online and you can share your creations easily with others. As you probably guess, the folks monitoring the songs are already taking down works that sound like copyrighted material so you won’t be able to create tribute to works that are by other artists. Still, I applaud Neversoft for putting out a music creator even at it’s basic stage in terms of music sounds and I hope we see it evolve more in future games as well as appearing in games from other companies.
Now, is Guitar Hero World Tour worth it if you own Rock Band 1 or 2? I have to say no for the full set but maybe for the game itself. If you already have Rock Band instruments, you won't miss out on the extra drum pad or the slider bar and all the instruments are compatible on the 360 version. The small additional elements and different songs are OK but there are other issues at hand that really make the game seem incomplete compared to the Harmonix games. While band play is there, it's not as polished as Rock Band's. The music creator is an OK feature but a little limiting. It is a lot to ask for shelling out $180 or so for a brand new set but dropping $50 for the game if you already have drums and a mic isn't too bad. Based on name alone, Guitar Hero World Tour will probably sell well but I think Neversoft's offering is a little behind of Harmonix's even though it came out later. Perhaps they can tidy some things up in next year's version and fix some of the hardware issues that seam to be plaguing a few owners out there. For now, I say pick it up if you really love the style and are a fan of the series. If you already own Rock Band instruments, it wouldn't be bad to add just the game for different music and some minor gameplay changes. I am looking at next year's version to be a lot more solid though with Neversoft's year of experience in doing a full band style game.
It's not as polished compared to Rock Band 2 but it's not a bad game. There are some gameplay tweaks that I like and some I don't such as those concerning Star Power. Online play needs some work as well. Other than that, it's good for those that like the brand and it's not a band overall band game.
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