Guitar Hero World Tour Hands-On - Full Set List, Music Studio, and Mii Freestyle

We cast our gaze on the full tracklist and a few different ways that you'll be making your own music in this ambitious sequel to Activision's massive rhythm franchise.

In case you missed it, Activision recently let the cat out of the proverbial bag by confirming the entirety of Guitar Hero World Tour's 86-song tracklist. We had the chance to play through a good chunk of these songs earlier this week when Activision held a Guitar Hero press event in Santa Monica, with every song in the game available for Quick Play fun. In addition, we were treated to a demo of the Music Studio mode by members of the Neversoft team, and a run-through of the basics of the Wii-exclusive Mii Freestyle mode from the folks at Vicarious Visions.

Ozzy Osbourne shows up in World Tour to sing "Crazy Train" and "Mr. Crowley."

The recently unveiled tracklist is a behemoth that spans an eclectic mix of music. At one end of the list are laid-back tunes such as Willie Nelson's "On the Road Again" and The Allman Brothers' "Ramblin' Man," whereas situated at the other end of the spectrum are more frantic, aggressive numbers such as "One-Armed Scissor" by At The Drive-In and the borderline schizophrenic "B.Y.O.B." by System of a Down. And to make sure you're not overwhelmed by pure rock and roll, wildcards have been thrown into the mix as well, including Michael Jackson's "Beat It," the Beastie Boys' "No Sleep Till Brooklyn," and Los Lobos' "La Bamba."

Another item of note about the soundtrack is the number of repeats. Whereas Rock Band had only one song per artist in the original game (before adding to an artist's stable of tunes with downloadable content later on), Guitar Hero has isolated a few artists for special attention right out of the gate. Jimi Hendrix, Ozzy Osbourne, and Tool all feature more than one song in the game--two each for Jimi and Ozzy, and three in the case of Tool.

Many have been clamoring for a "No Fail" mode in Guitar Hero World Tour, and though the game won't offer one per se, there are a few alternatives that we picked up on during an evening spent watching a large number of people getting acquainted with the game's new setup. For one, there's the beginner difficulty level that sits even lower than easy. This one is monumentally difficult to fail out of, and though it makes playing the actual instruments a touch on the boring side, it gives you the ability to embellish your singing quite a bit without suffering a substantial penalty. Another option to approximate No Fail is the ability to change your instrument's difficulty in the pause menu without exiting back out to the song-selection process. Just hit start, raise or lower the challenge level, and the song will start over.

World Tour's Music Studio mode stands as one of the most interesting weapons being wielded in the escalating battle between multi-instrument rhythm games. Whereas Rock Band 2 has a massive catalogue of DLC songs going into its release, World Tour adds the ability to create your own music and expand the game's tracklist with a virtually infinite number of player-created songs. In the past, we've seen this feature demonstrated numerous times by members of Neversoft, but this was our first time getting the chance to run through it on our own. What we didn't realize before is the tiered level of accessibility to the Studio. Prior indications led us to believe that the Studio was more for the hardcore crowd, but after spending some time with it, we can see that's not necessarily the case.

A look at the GH Tunes hub, where you can download songs created by other players.

Much of that has to do with the way the Music Studio is broken down. It's divided into three primary areas: GH Tunes, GH Studio, and GH Mix. Thanks to GH Tunes, casual players don't even need to hit the record button to reap the benefits of the Music Studio. Through this content-sharing service, players can download songs made by other people for free. To help the cream rise to the top, the best music will be promoted in a number of ways. On the main GH Tunes hub, there are categories such as "all-time best," "hot this week," "rising star," and "top artist" to help you find the best material most easily. And to help tip the balance in favor of talented artists, the number of upload slots given to you will gradually increase as your work gains popularity. By default, users can upload five songs, but the best artists can upload an album-length 15 tracks.

For those willing to take the plunge into making their own music, GH Studio is the most accessible option. This is where up to four players can jump into the proverbial recording room and record live performances. Each instrument can be tweaked in a variety of ways. You can change the sound of your drum kit from standard rock to NES-style blips to even robot voice sounds. Guitar is broken down to lead and rhythm; lead can play either single-note riffs or multinote arpeggios, while the rhythm guitarists offer some depth with either full or power chords. Both guitarists can select from a variety of guitar and amp sounds from the virtual Line 6 pods available to them, and the key can be changed in all sorts of ways with all kinds of scales available to select. You can even record keyboard using a guitar controller, and the keyboard melody can later be sung by a vocalist when the song is performed in-game. (Vocal recording has been disabled for myriad legal reasons.)

GH Mix allows for some pretty detailed editing.

Finally, there's GH Mix, which offers the most depth and therefore the biggest learning curve. You can think of it as a MIDI mixing board that one player can go into and record multiple tracks and then edit them to perfection. There are two ways of doing things: live record and step record. In live record, you pick guitar, bass, keyboard, or drums and record your own performance, much like with GH Studio. But here, you have a ton of options at your disposal, such as the ability to fix your own less-than-perfect timing by snapping notes to intervals like the 8th, 16th, and 32nd notes. If you're happy with what you've made, you can use a copy-and-paste tool to turn that section into the chorus, second verse, or anywhere else you want it repeated.

But let's say that you're not happy with the way a recording turned out. That's when the step recording comes in handy. This feature lets you go and nudge individual note icons into their ideal locations, or just drop in new ones over an existing recording to make your original work sound far more elaborate than it really was. With this ability, you're able to overcome the fact that there's only one recording track per instrument by layering new notes over existing recordings to make a given part sound far more vibrant. Of course, some poor soul is still going to try to play these surgically enhanced recordings on expert-level difficulty, but that's the price you pay for sweet music.

A somewhat similar mode to Music Studio exists only on the Wii version of World Tour. Known as Mii Freestyle, this mode presents a chance for a guitarist and drummer to jam alongside one another with a pair of Miis standing in place of the usual Guitar Hero characters. You can't record what you play like in the Music Studio, but it does provide a more accessible form of spontaneous music-making than its more feature-laden counterpart. You begin by picking one of three musical genres: metal, rock, or blues. This choice affects the sound of the instruments that you play and the instrument loops that can be layered into the mix. After that, you can start jamming freestyle or to the advice of the riff suggestion chords displayed at the top of the screen.

As you would imagine, the drumming part is the more straightforward of the two. It's just a simple matter of laying down any old beat for your buddy to play over. Then the person manning the guitar can improvise over that beat by playing any combination of single notes or chords based on how many fret buttons are held. Three tilt zones affect the sound of the guitar: holding the neck down low will provide a low octave, holding it level will put you in the medium octave, and holding it up high will give you access to the sorts of embellishment-heavy riffs that you'd hear way up the neck. In addition, playing chords in the high-tilt zone will drop a guitar loop into the mix that can then be taken out at any moment by hitting the minus button. Given that you can't play bass guitar, bass loops are available to turn on or off in the settings menu.

Mii Freestyle lets you jam out with your celebrity lookalike of choice.

It's a safe bet that Guitar Hero World Tour will be a huge hit, but we're especially eager to see what sort of community develops in the wake of the new Music Studio feature. Some of the example songs created by the Neversoft team (10 of which will appear in the full game) were quite impressive, displaying everything from reggae to a metal cover of "Flight of the Bumble Bee," so we're anxious to see what sort of tunes will be created by diehard fans of the series. We'll find out when the game arrives on store shelves on October 26. Stay tuned for more coverage leading up to the release.

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Discussion

231 comments
soldier305
soldier305

Rockband or guitar hero???...i say buy them both!!! both titles rock!!!

DAKYON
DAKYON

well , that happen when you are not loyal to your fellows , God bless Activision

drumboy35
drumboy35

It's sad that the new GH looks a bit better than RB2 since the people who make RB are the geniuses who created GH. Damn you Activision.

tortonon
tortonon

When Guitar Hero 1 landed, it revolutionized. I've played every single one of the GH games, and I had to sadly admit that Rock Band had raised the bar. But now, GH OWNZ again. Making music will cause another revolution in rhytm games. Wait and See.

byrdcjb100
byrdcjb100

Ps3 will be the best platform 1080p and hdmi and well dlc is a lot easier to purchase

Jonny7892
Jonny7892

What platform do you think it will be best on?

NovaSky
NovaSky

Long live the KING of music games! Rock who?

megamanx121
megamanx121

I just wish they'd put a Disturbed song into the game, and I'd be happy. But Korn is just as good :D

madgamer11087
madgamer11087

i really dont give a crap about the mii freestyle. actually i want it off.

narutofan611
narutofan611

i think i'm gonna enjoy rockin it out like dragonforce in the mii freestyle. that is, if i can play well enough that i can have fast notes that actually sound good like dragonforce does ^^ but i know that i'll have the guitar tilted high during most of my freestyling : D

eric1044
eric1044

rock band totally sucks.

nicnoflash
nicnoflash

to everyone who insists that rock band sucks.. just because you personally enjoy guitar hero more does not make rock band a bad game. they are both good for their own reasons. just because you can't afford to get them both doesn't mean that 1 is better than the other. they play near the exact same anyway, i don't understand why it has to be 1 or the other.. lol.

faballion
faballion

mmmmm..... This has Korn and tool..... rock band has Linkin park and disturbed....mmmm I think guitar hero is best for me

RB327
RB327

I can't wait.....one week and i'll b rockin out on this game

Hazeman234
Hazeman234

Also no disturbed dylanisbored means it will be in dlc. because no disturbed for u and my brother and sometimes me would suck

Hazeman234
Hazeman234

GH4:World Tour is going 2 be better than rock band by far. the graphics awesome, songs awesome, etc. awesome. And in sense i have the wii version i get bonus crap and for the first time on wii dlc. Now my parents can't complain about me not have internet on wii. it makes me mad.

Edvin_MetalSoul
Edvin_MetalSoul

Ozzy looks realistic , I can't believe my eyes. The graphics are just plain awesome.

NoseWeed619
NoseWeed619

I think the GH Tunes and the whole community feauture that goes along with it will be the best new feauture in the entire game.

joemerchant2006
joemerchant2006

Great that you can make your own music, but what about the mucis from GH3? What if you want to jam to that music too? And all the downloads, would that be a waste of money?

Bevmo
Bevmo

i wish they put screamo songs, well atleast for bonus songs. WAHH, atleast there was " take this life" by in flames, i like "my sweet shadow" by them more though

biggy887766
biggy887766

@allotheabove123, they can't do that, its the same reason that they had to take voice out of the editor, they didn't license that music and therefore it can't be used in the game.

allotheabove123
allotheabove123

i hate how rock band has those dum rectangles and the buttons are way to close toghether because im so used to guitar hero

allotheabove123
allotheabove123

they should make a feature so you can take music straight from your hard drive right to the game

PhantomMarvel
PhantomMarvel

I have always loved Guitar Hero and always will with that said Guitar hero here i come...:)

Stoffe1100
Stoffe1100

RB SUCKS 4-EVER and will never be good i order Guitar hero: world tour today :p I wanted some IN FLAMES songs 2 be there but whatever THIS GAME WILL ROCK

MarioMainic
MarioMainic

I cant wait to get this i'll just watch the fc's that u do in 15 days and see the guitar battles

monty_4256
monty_4256

the wii has the music studio too eric1044, ign were a lot more clear on that

Jshaw71
Jshaw71

the guitar hero player created content is going to be a serious edge over rock band 2's basic game play improvements user content is one of the best things in the industry today, it's brought us games like counter strike, however removing vocals from the user created stuff for legal reasons, is kinda stupid, it's ok if someone copies a songs music but not the lyrics? hopefully they will add lryics in later on, through a patch, but i am not holding my breath... thanks fo the preview guys... looking forward to this game...

Nugget314
Nugget314

looks good better than rock band 2

eric1044
eric1044

does the wii version have the music studio or just that mii stuff.

Get_Shorty
Get_Shorty

With the economy the way it is now I don't think too many people will buy this... espically the ones that already own Rock Band -- which is cheaper and a better value.

darkgto
darkgto

BFMV is my favorite band in the world and scream aim fire is the best song by them

shortys1803
shortys1803

No dude its just (1)one guitar w a strap, game, stickers, (2) two AA batteries, quick start guide and the hardware manual. eaglemoon Posted Oct 5, 2008 9:35 am PT guys ive never played any of the guitar hero games but i want to buy world tour.. i also want to play the guitar so can i play alone with that guitar i mean is SP rly SP?also in the 100bucks guitar u get to guitars right : guitar Kit contains: Guitar (Breakneck), GHWT Guitar... some one help me pls im a noob

johnson1542
johnson1542

Is rockband drums compatible is guitar hero world tour???

eaglemoon
eaglemoon

guys ive never played any of the guitar hero games but i want to buy world tour.. i also want to play the guitar so can i play alone with that guitar i mean is SP rly SP?also in the 100bucks guitar u get to guitars right : guitar Kit contains: Guitar (Breakneck), GHWT Guitar... some one help me pls im a noob :| :D

RockEvo
RockEvo

i was thinking of buying RB2 but with all these features in GHWT, it's worth waiting 25 more days.

nuke939
nuke939

YES!!! WOOOO TOOL!!!!!

killer21921
killer21921

why does it always seem that the wii comes out with these gay features.lol it gets annoying after awhile nintendo is in love with the kids.

10below
10below

This definitely sounds like its worth the wait...30 more days. Sorry RB2.

shortys1803
shortys1803

Damn straight TLE is awesome as well as rise against. I can't wait for the game to come out rybread13: Brian3434 i totally agree lmao, the living end is good too. rise against, my all time favourite band, was amazing in concert and now i ge to play there new stuff on gh4 , they shud put the new album as downloadable content

rybread13
rybread13

Brian3434 i totally agree lmao, the living end is good too. rise against, my all time favourite band, was amazing in concert and now i ge to play there new stuff on gh4 , they shud put the new album as downloadable content

brian3434
brian3434

FOO FIGHTERS! LOST PROPHETS! RISE AGAINST! Those are 3 of my favorite bands. of and i also love linkin park too. i just wish they threw in some more queens of the stone age cuz they're sick. I also like a bunch of those other bands like system of a down and nirvana and metallica. a little coldplay is definetly a good change of music for these games as well. huge variety now.

S2333
S2333

I can't wait for this!