Guitar Hero: World Tour

aka: Guitar Hero IV
Moby ID: 38712
PlayStation 2 Specs
Buy on PlayStation 2
$110.34 used on Amazon
Buy on Wii
$262.50 used on eBay
Buy on Xbox 360
$213.19 used on eBay
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Description official descriptions

Guitar Hero: World Tour is the fourth main game in the series and brings a major change to the concept. Following the release of Rock Band that built on the Guitar Hero concept but added additional instruments, World Tour introduces these as well to allow players to play together simultaneously as a real band. Next to the guitar that was the main peripheral for the previous titles, the bundled edition of the game adds a microphone for the vocal parts and drums for percussion. Just like the previous game, the guitar tracks are split up for the lead and bass. The lyrics and the vocal pitch is shown near the top of the screen, while the bottom part is split up for bass guitar, lead guitar and drums, each with a separate set of notes that need to be hit to correctly play the part.

While playing, a rock meter keeps track of successive notes hit (one for each player), which leads to score multipliers. When the meter becomes too low, other players can make up for this on a shared, general performance meter. In the same vein players share a star power meter, built up by playing through certain sections successfully, that any player can access.

There are four difficulty levels and a new beginner mode where notes are made as easy as possible to introduce the concept to new players. Most of the game content is centered around a Career mode (both Solo and Band) where players start a new band, choose an avatar an instrument, and then play different gigs unlocking new songs along the way. Completing tracks earns money that can be spent on outfits or instruments. There are once again encore songs and "boss challenges" where the lead guitar enters a duel. This is similar to the battles in Guitar Hero III, but without the power-ups. Instead it returns to a call-and-response mechanic similar to the Face-Off mode. Bands consists of offline players but online members can join as well. Complete bands can take on others online through the Battle of the Bands mode.

Through the Music Studio editor new songs can be composed and shared using the GHTunes service (not for the PS2). In this edition avatars can be customized with more detail using the Create-a-Rocker mode. Major artists have licensed their appearance in the game. The Wii version contains a Mii Freestyle mode where players can use their Mii characters in-game and compose songs through motions of the Wii remote and the Nunchuk controller.

There are several bundles for the game, based on the amount of instruments included, but also a stand-alone version as most of the versions are compatible with the controllers of previous games and even some of Rock Band.

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Credits (Windows version)

1,513 People (1,317 developers, 196 thanks) · View all

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 84% (based on 61 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.2 out of 5 (based on 34 ratings with 2 reviews)

Just another Guitar Hero without anything new

The Good
The Guitar Hero franchise is one of the best party games you are likely to find because everybody will instantly know what to do and in my experience almost everybody would like to try it at least once. If you pick the right song (like say for example: "Living on a Prayer" from Bon Jovi) you can also piss the hell out of the singer because everybody will sing along. This installment in the franchise is also perfect for parties due to a huge assortment of songs to choose from with a lot of different bands and genres.

This is also by far my favorite soundtrack in the franchise so far with songs from Bon Jovi, Ozzy Osbourne and Paramore just to name a few of them. I actually played through the single-player and multi-player career and that is quite an accomplishment when playing Guitar Hero games because most of the time it just get's too tedious to make it far. In this game with it was decent and you are allowed to skip quite a few gigs if the songs don't appeal to you and still unlock the finale.

The graphics have improved a lot since Guitar Hero II (the only other Guitar Hero game that I own) and now it looks pretty good. The background and stages look very nice and special effects during the show are very good. Lip-sync is also a big success and I swear it looked like the sound actually came from the singers.

I really like making my own characters when playing games and in this game it's amazing to see how many options there are and how straightforward it all is. Within ten minutes I was able to design a character that looked exactly like how I pictured it in my mind (a hard-rock version of Saria from Ocarina of Time) complete with her own instruments which I was also able to design and name with the same amount of options. This character was also playable in the Story mode and practice modes.

The Bad
The guitar is still as annoying as ever when you want to activate star power because you can go completely insane with the thing and it still won't register the movement. When you finally do activate star power you will most likely have made a mistake because it's hard to have a spasm-attack and correctly press the buttons at the same time as well. However it is made worse by the latest addition to the hardware, it's some kind of weird-ass part of the guitar that is beneath the buttons. The songs now have parts where you need to touch this area instead of the buttons. but switching between the two is very annoying and it just requires too much thinking while you are in the middle of playing a song.

The story is flimsy as hell, you start with a cinematic showing a young kid getting angry because he isn't the only one who plays a guitar and then it shows him as a grown-up getting angry at other guitar players at some kind of show and then nothing else. You are suddenly looking at a job board where you have to select which gigs you want to play and the story doesn't change at all, you just play at a lot of gigs and somehow still have to run back to the job-board to get a new one. It's pretty odd when you have been on-stage with Ozzy Osbourne and you still need to use a job board, you'd think they would ask you to play for them, not the other way around.

There are a lot of songs in here that are just pure mediocrity and some are very unbalanced (the guitarist is bored to death, but the bassist can't keep up), but the worst of them have to be the Spanish songs. Don't think I hate the Spanish, I really don't, but why in the world would you want to have Spanish songs in an English party game that requires people to do karaoke? I only have one Spanish friend and if he has to sing the entire evening then he will make himself both very unpopular and he might lose his voice as well.

The Bottom Line
This installment in the Guitar Hero franchise is decent, but far from perfect. The soundtrack is very good and you can customize a lot, but at the same time it is very flawed as well. If you want to have at least one copy of Guitar Hero then I will recommend this one if you have enough space to store two guitars and the drums (the microphone doesn't take up too much space) and if you are going to use it for parties a lot. Parties is where this game shines the most because the career mode is lacking an actual story and without anybody else around you will most likely get bored off this game is a day or two.

Xbox 360 · by Asinine (957) · 2011

Keeping Up With the Joneses

The Good
The gaming world hadn't seen a battle quite like the one that Guitar Hero III and Rock Band had in 2007, but when the smoke cleared, Guitar Hero III was the clear winner in sales, while Rock Band came out on top critically. In 2008, history would repeat itself again, with Guitar Hero and Rock Band going directly head to head with their respective sequels: Rock Band 2, essentially an expansion of the first game, and Guitar Hero World Tour, which was Neversoft's first attempt at a full band game.

Someone at Activision obviously saw what Rock Band was doing with their multiple instrument controllers and co-op band play, and decided that they wanted a piece of that pie too. So, for the first time, "Guitar" Hero was no longer just that, but also Drums and Vocals, too. In addition, the game was absolutely overhauled in every aspect: the graphics engine was changed, the career mode was changed, a deep character creator was added, and to top it all off, a music studio was included to extend the fun beyond what was on the disk. Oh, and the number of celebrity cameos was tripled from the last game, including one from beyond the grave. GHIV was an absolutely massive game, and with all of the stuff that was packed in, I'm honestly surprised that they were able to finish the game within the span of a year, let alone fit it all on one Wii disc. Of course, a lot of these things ended up coming short in some areas, but we'll get to that later.

The celebrity cameos were, for me, one of the strangest features about the game. This game was absolutely PACKED with guest stars from all corners of the rock world, from pop-rock singer Haley Williams and bassist Sting, alternative rock legend Billy Corgan, punk drummer Travis Barker, classic rockers Jimi Hendrix and Ted Nugent, and metal icons Ozzy Osbourne and Zakk Wylde. The band Tool also puts in a guest appearance, in the form of their own unique venue and THREE songs just from them, the most of any artist on the setlist. And yes, you saw that right, Jimi Hendrix is in the game. Needless to say, this got a lot of flack from fans of the long-deceased guitarist, who felt that Guitar Hero was commiting an utter sacrilege against the very thing they were supposed to be celebrating. That begs the question: Were ALL of these cameos necessary? I think if they had spent more resources polishing the gameplay instead of on all of these cameos, we would have had a stronger game overall. Still, I have to give the game some credit: No game, outside of that Celebrity Deathmatch video game, has this much celebrities in it.

In addition, the setlist also has a good amount of choice cuts on it, ranging from pretty much all genres: Even hip-hop and Spanish rock get a tune or two here. Michael Jackson's "Beat It" turns out to be one of the most fun songs to play, oddly enough. Other songs I really enjoyed included Coldplay's "Shiver", "Band on the Run" by Paul McCartney, "Love Me Two Times" by The Doors, and "Do it Again" by Steely Dan. Needless to say, I tend to prefer the classic rock in these games compared to the newer stuff. It's perhaps a little too varied, though. There's simply too many songs that some people just won't enjoy. In addition, the setlist also has the major problem of having more than one song from certain artists. There are two Jimi jams, three Tool tunes, two Ozzy operas, and two Ted Nugent numbers. So much for diversity. For me the setlist is like the rest of the game: overambitious. Overall, it's not the worst setlist in the series (I'd say 2 is the worst), but compared to the last one where almost every song eventually grew on me, this one comes up a little short.

The game in general wasn't as hard as past titles in the series for guitarists. While the game did offer us one nightmare song in the form of Joe Satriani's "Satch Boogie", the difficulty was compromised by the inclusion of a new "slide" mechanic, which allowed you to merely tap the frets in order to hit certain notes rather than strumming them. This turned a lot of hardcore fans off, but for the rest of us, this was a nice change of pace. The game was no longer about challenge, it was about kicking back and having a good time with some great rock and roll.

The character creator was also very deep, as well. It went so far in-depth that you could even customize minute details such as the head stock on your guitar. It was perhaps a little hard to use with the guitar controllers, however, so using the Wii-mote to create your character was the best thing to do.

Finally, Vicarious Visions once again did a stupendous job with the Wii conversion. Not only did almost every single feature from the HD versions make it into the game, including DLC, but they also incliuded a Wii exclusive "Mii Freestyle" mode on top of it as well. The conversion was so good, that it pushed the developers of Rock Band 2 to bring over a more competitive product with their own game on Wii. But that's another story. VV is one of the few developers to take the system seriously, and as a result the Wii gets features many thought were not possible in these types of games. That said, one crucial feature went missing from the Wii version, one that seriously dragged it down for people who wanted to save a little cash.



The Bad
The problem with Guitar Hero World Tour in general: It tried too hard to be all things to all people, and as a result there are many parts of the game that could have had a little more time spent working on them. Due to the rushed schedule, though, the new ideas wouldn't be fully formed until the next game.

The biggest problem by far with World Tour are the very things that were supposed to be it's calling card: the new instruments. To begin with, you had to have a Wii-Remote for each and every instrument you wanted to play with, in addition to the instrument hardware, forcing you to pay even more if you didn't already have the amount of Wii controllers that you needed for a full band experience. Oh, and if you wanted to use Rock Band controllers? You're out of luck, kid. The Wii version didn't allow for such things, although the HD versions did have compatability with other instruments patched in. This made GH: World Tour a seriously tough purchase to make on Wii compared to other systems. But that's just the console-specific problems.

The game was notorious for the poor quality of it's drum kits. I read so many reports of broken cymbals and faulty equipment, STRAIGHT OUT OF THE BOX. It was unbelievable how bad the drum hardware was. While RedOctane generally made good hardware ( I still use my GHIII guitar even today), this was definitely one of their biggest mis-steps by far. Compound that with the fact that, again, you couldn't use Rock Band drums with the Wii, and as a result this game left many potential drummers out in the cold.

The gameplay that was designed around these drums was also questionable. In an attempt to distance themselves from Rock Band, their kit had three pads and two raised cymbals, + a bass pedal. That was a fine change, but in order to activate star-power, you had to hit BOTH cymbals at the same time, which was essentially impossible to do whenever you wanted to. It wasn't all bad, though. You could play a little more looser compared to the almost mechanical precision required from Rock Band because the timing window was larger, which I enjoyed.

The vocals were also sloppily handled, no thought was put into making them playable and rewarding. To begin with, the scoring system for the vocals was completely broken: You had to hit EVERY LITTLE PIXEL of EVERY LITTLE PITCH in order to get 100% on vocals, which was virtually impossible on all but the simplest songs. Whose idea was this? In addition, the font for the words was incredibly difficult to read. I mean, REALLY difficult to read, almost as hard as trying to pass "Through the Fire and Flames" on Guitar Hero III. It was incredibly tiny and compressed, and as a result the words underneath the vocal pitches resembled ISBN codes more than lyrics. I'm not joking. This is a crucial problem, and it's baffling as to how no-one could have complained about it during testing. Again, they had to have rushed this game out the door.

The much-touted music creator turned out to be a dud for one simple reason: It sounded like pure and utter garbage! You could not record vocals, and the length of your songs was extremely short. You had to put in hours of work for something that sounds like it came out of an SNES, and I'm pretty sure they weren't trying to go for a retro sound with the music creator. For a game released in 2008, this is unacceptable. Actually, an SNES sounds BETTER than what the game can do; there are many SNES games with better sounding music than what you'd get here.

Finally, the Guitar Hero art style is still as ugly and unappealing as the last game, though the engine seems to be given a slight boost in terms of graphical fidelity, and the animations aren't as stiff as before.



The Bottom Line
Guitar Hero IV: World Tour can best be described as a hot mess. You will undoubtedly get some fun out of just playing the tracks that you enjoy on guitar or bass, but going beyond that will yield disappointment at every corner. Guitar Hero 5 would be a lot tighter and more polished than this one, but by then, it would be too late for the series..

Wii · by krisko6 (814) · 2011

Trivia

1001 Video Games

Guitar Hero World Tour appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

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Only the PS3 version features dynamic, in-game advertisements.

Awards

Guitar Hero: World Tour won the "Soundtrack of the year" category in the 2009 Golden Joystick Awards

At the event "GameStar/GamePro Leserpreis 2008" (February 26, 2009) Guitar Hero: World Tour received the trophy "Best Family and Lifestyle Game in 2008" after the reader's voting of German gaming magazines GameStar (PC) and GamePro (consoles).

Information also contributed by Sciere.

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Sciere.

Macintosh added by Xoleras. Windows added by Sicarius.

Additional contributors: Zeppin, Patrick Bregger, Starbuck the Third, piltdown_man, FatherJack.

Game added January 12, 2009. Last modified July 16, 2023.