GC 2008: Guitar Hero: World Tour Hands-On

At long last, we get to try out Guitar Hero's new suite of instruments.

It won't be long now until the name "Guitar Hero" becomes an odd relic of the past, given that the forthcoming World Tour is introducing drums and vocals to a series that originated as a six-string simulation. But just because the name might begin to feel a bit funny doesn't mean that the new instruments need to feel funny. In fact, the new hardware seems to have turned out quite well. This is something we can finally attest to, having just had the opportunity to get our hands on both the new drum kit and guitar during a visit to Activision's Games Convention booth in Leipzig.

To kick things off, we sat down at the drum kit and set up a six-song quick-play playlist. The ability to quick-play more than one song at a time is one of the game's new features, and a very welcome one considering how much time it saves when bouncing through the menus. Some of the songs available in the Leipzig build included Michael Jackson's "Beat It," Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer," Interpol's "Obstacle 1," and No Doubt's "Spider Webs."

It didn't take us long to realize that we really like the feel of the new drum kit. It begins with the surface material. The drum heads and cymbals feel nice and quiet with the thick rubber and silicone coating, but there's still plenty of bounce-back. The cymbals don't seem to have quite as much give as we initially thought, but they don't exactly feel stiff, either. Moving between the two is easy thanks to the surface area of each drum head, which allows for a friendly margin of error. In addition, the kick pedal feels quite different from Rock Band's version. The pedal itself doesn't seem to require quite as much pressing, given that the default position of the pedal surface is a little closer to the base. This tends to make it a bit easier to do quick double taps, though without anything to attach the pedal to the base, we noticed it sliding a bit more than the Rock Band pedal.

When you first begin playing the drums, the addition of an extra input makes the notes on the screen seem a little daunting, but we felt right at home with the new display in just a matter of minutes. Once we got the hang of the basic playing, we ventured off into some more advanced techniques. Activating your star power is done by hitting both cymbals at once, which is a feat that requires clever timing because you need to hit an extra cymbal at a moment when the game prompts you to hit just one, lest you throw yourself off the beat by going for two cymbals when the game is telling you to just stick with the drum heads. There are moments when the game prompts you to throw in some freestyle fills just like Rock Band, but these are done more for your own fun than anything else, considering that they're not linked to your Star Power activation.

The one thing that we noticed about the drums is that the overall difficulty in our admittedly limited sampling of songs seemed to be a few notches below Rock Band's. This may be simply because the songs that we played were taken from early in the game, but there was a noticeable difficulty gap; it's almost as if the two games have become symmetrical opposites, wherein Rock Band features tough drums with easier guitar and Guitar Hero has just the opposite. However, we're perfectly willing to hold final judgment on this until we get to play more songs.

Of course, it wasn't all drums for us. We also took a stab at the guitar. The biggest new addition is the touch strip, which functions as a second set of buttons on the neck. It's not just for solos; you can play the entire song using the touch strip if you like. Bassists can play in a slapping funk style, whereas guitarists can go with a finger-tap technique. You can also rub your finger on it to produce a wah effect during sustained notes, and there are certain parts of songs in which notes are connected with a wavy line that requires you to connect them with sweeps on the strip. Beyond this strip, the strum bar has been lengthened, and the start button has been shrunk and placed next to the bridge to reduce accidental pausing. Overall, we like the feel of the new guitar, but we can't help but suspect that the new additions are best appreciated in the song-creation studio, which we were unable to try.

After this hands-on session, we've suddenly become very fond of Guitar Hero's new hardware. Although the guitar additions seem to have a lot of potential that you probably won't grasp right away, the drums steal the show with their responsive feel and enhanced realism. You can expect to see more on World Tour in the near future.

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Discussion

131 comments
dragon_favor01
dragon_favor01

to Kingdomkat: yes, the gh3 guitars do work on the new guitar hero

Kingdomkat
Kingdomkat

Can guitar hero 3 guitars work on this one?

cats12r
cats12r

too bad this games instruments suck.

madgamer11087
madgamer11087

it will pay off there is going to be a lot people wanting to get gh wt

MiiWiiNumber2
MiiWiiNumber2

i agree, and i think the've made the right descision with adding new instruments, it was a risk and we'll have to see if it pays off

KyoKusanagi
KyoKusanagi

"Michael Jackson's "Beat It,"" This just sold me.

Jor999tm
Jor999tm

Guitar hero never did suck

HVPinc
HVPinc

YAY GUITAR HERO PROBABLY WON'T SUCK!!! WOHOO!

RockEvo
RockEvo

for "jamthulhu"---yeah both Rock Band drums and Guitar Hero drums work with each other. But the Rock Band Drums has four pads and GH drums have 5 so its gonna be a bit harder to play GH with Rock Band Drums cuz the orange note will be mapped on any of the four pads based on a song.

jamthulhu
jamthulhu

Kind of curious and not sure if I just missed it - but will the GHWT instruments all be compatible with Rock Band 2? Anyone know if it would work the other way around?

xk2y
xk2y

since i got my ps3 i would totally buy this game and post my high score on the leaderboards i just want to show off

xk2y
xk2y

since i got my ps3 i would totally buy this game and post my high score on the leaderboards i just want to show off

hammerman316
hammerman316

Score89 you said "beat It?, rely?, i think it was Eddie Van Halen guitar, but Michael Jackson in guitar hero sounds wrong to me" seriously you need to learn your music before commenting stuff like that. It's not gonna be michael jackson that plays the guitar on this lol that would just be stupid and itll be amazing to sing along to michael jackson and the guitar will be great fun as SLASH! was the guitarist for MJ so no it really dosent seem wrong.

fetus_scrambler
fetus_scrambler

Rock band drums will work with this. I'll probably get this game along with the guitar but I'll stick with my rock band drums. The elevated cymbals would be too weird. Hot for teacher and crazy train will be so fun!

happybara
happybara

i hope I can use my rockband drums with this

cheese4927
cheese4927

I can't wait for this game to come out... pre-ordered it already. Can't wait to play Hot for Teacher!

dazo5
dazo5

Can't wait for this to come out. Tho it will probably mean no more dlc for GH3.

rachkovsky
rachkovsky

This game is cool and im a fan but im gettin rock band 2

carlogz
carlogz

Well I'll take Beat it than Black or White Any Day!!

DanzigThrall
DanzigThrall

why does everyone argue which one will be better? Cant you play both and like both?

marvingamebeast
marvingamebeast

Rock Band 2 old game but basically rock band same instruments not really any new features and basically rb1 with dlc.

narutoyomper
narutoyomper

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

score89
score89

beat It?, rely?, i think it was Eddie Van Halen guitar, but Michael Jackson in guitar hero sounds wrong to me

Mr_Peeps
Mr_Peeps

if you go to ultimate-guitar.com u can see both setlists for rb2 and ghwt.

julianwelton
julianwelton

Well I've been planning on getting GHWT since I heard about it, and I might rent RB2 if they say that it's compatible with the old RB instruments.

DanzigThrall
DanzigThrall

wanna get this and rb2 like both series think they will both be good and fun to play hopefully there will be alot of metal on them

gearsofwar1221
gearsofwar1221

omg cant wait for it hope it comes out this year

Faustus01
Faustus01

Rock Band two's normal kit has a metal pedal and the pads are cushioned now so they don't clank. It's supposedly more durable, but not sure seeing at it looks more or less the same. The $300 super drum kit would be cool to get if I didn't all ready own a bigger real kit. :p I'm really interested in Guitar Hero World tour for the music system. Kinda want to know how the system compares to Garage Band and Reason in terms of just fun to tinker with.

earthnuggets
earthnuggets

Actually, ericorange2, Rock Band 2's drumset is unchanged from the original. The premium set they're selling has the three cymbals, but is pretty pricey at $300.

reject09
reject09

i'll probably rent it. i think im gonna stick mostly to rb2

belboy1206
belboy1206

i agree with nakedsnake16.. guitar hero has more rock and metal and overall a more diverse set-list of music

denaz
denaz

Can't wait for this, looks like it will be great fun!

NakedSnake16
NakedSnake16

Ive always favored guitar hero because it was more metal based than rock band, however this addition will take that away, so im gonna have to give it a pass.

Taylor9124
Taylor9124

Ill be getting GH World Tour for sure. no rock band 2 for me.

-Demon01-
-Demon01-

I wasn't really paying much attention to this one since I have GH 3, I didn't think it'd be worth getting but yea, in agreement with Ice Man 1985, music creation is a huge point for me with this one.

Ice_man_1985
Ice_man_1985

creating music is my thing, so im going for GH.

i_am_AcTive
i_am_AcTive

Guys its going to be like perty much the same Guitar Hero has WAY harder songs and Rock Band has the fun party play BUT NOW since Guitar Hero now has the party play feature its up to Rock Bands so called "nonbreakable" instruments to win the war (btw GH3 won the war against RB in my opinion)

Kalki_Avatar
Kalki_Avatar

It feels like a cheap rip off, but at the same time, guitar hero had to do it to survive the company. Harmonix breaks new ground and Activision refines it. In an odd way it is almost like they are working together again. No matter what competition means a better product for the consumer. I expect the Guitar hero kit to fall apart, but maybe it will be better. Rock band will have a larger better selection of tracks, but World Tour will have a song creator. Either way, their going to both kick a profane amount of @$$ and be the coolest thing ever, to date.

ericorange2
ericorange2

The rock band 2 drum set is much better four pads and three symbals guitar hero world tour has three pads two cymbals and a plastic foot pedal wich is gonna break all the time rock band band has the steal pedal.

Eat_My_Shorts35
Eat_My_Shorts35

how could the ghwt soundtrack be better than the rb2 soundtrack if they havent even announced the entire songlist for ghwt???

gladi8or19
gladi8or19

GH soundtrack is way better than Rock band, cant wait to make my own songs too

Darth_jacob22
Darth_jacob22

HELLSSSSSSSSS YEAH!!!!!! I Can't freakn' wait for this game to come out!!!!! YESSSSS!!!!! YESSSSS!!!!!

easykill_astari
easykill_astari

They couldn't just change the name man... If the words "Guitar Hero" wouldn't have become what they did, They might have been able to change it's name but the franchise is so big now, They couln't just decide to start something else.. I don't think it would have worked so much..

p00phead
p00phead

im looking forward to this but why is it called Guitar hero world tour if it has other instruments

e424pd5
e424pd5

pickles......we don't live in a world of originality, everyone copies everyone, that's how companies survive

daveg1
daveg1

when ever i play this games i just wanna play classic rock!

daveg1
daveg1

these games are becoming old now so they need something to waken them up again.importing your songs would be good..