NZGamer was fortunate enough to attend Activate â€™08 â€“ a three day over-view of Activision / Blizzardâ€™s gaming titles set for launch leading up to Xmas. This is what we saw...
Probably the high-light of the expo, World Tour was demonstrated to an eager crowd thanks to the help of local music celebrities. The first appearance of the game was performed by lead guitarist and back-up singer from Goodnight Nurse, who was joined by the drummer from Midnight Youth and two of the development team of Guitar Hero on guitar and bass. The end result was a spectacle indeed, and they performed Everlong (by the Foo Fighters) and Living on a Prayer (Bon Jovi) almost flawlessly.
After these tracks, the lads behind Guitar Hero invited several of the audience up to try their hand at it. Needless to say, the quality took a serious dive but it was great to see new players still able to pick up the game and perform. For those not in the know â€“ this latest game in the Guitar Hero series takes the whole interactive music game to new heights. Similar to Rockband, World Tour now includes a drum kit and a microphone for vocals â€“ essentially allowing a four-piece band to all simultaneously rock out. The guitar and bass elements remain practically untouched but they have had some improvements in the design of the guitar controllers to allow for more creativity. For example players can now palm-mute notes (guitar terminology for notes that donâ€™t ring out) and even for tapping â€“ so players can rapidly hit notes by running their fingers up and down the neck of the guitar.
The drum controllers were well designed too â€“ consisting of the usual five coloured pads â€“ three being bass drum pieces and the other two being cymbals, plus a foot pedal as the sixth device. Normal drum sticks were supplied and the feeling of drumming felt surprisingly natural. The gameplay for the drums is identical to the guitar and involved simply hitting the right coloured parts of the drum in time to the notes flowing down the screen (the foot pedal is required when a purple bar floats down the screen in a similar fashion). All four players are visible on screen at any time, with two guitars and the drums located along the bottom like normal, and the vocals scrolling left to right along the top. The singing aspect is solid but not nearly as demanding or as complex as Singstar fans might like.
However the really impressive features of World Tour came from the incredible customisation options through-out. Players will be able to mould their own rock-stars from a huge variety of pre-stock models or tweak faces and body shapes to suit. Clothing, accessories, hair-styles, tattoos and even the stances and moves you want to perform on stage can be modified to suit your tastes. The ability to personalise your character will definitely extend the online gameplay of the game â€“ letting you take your character (whether a drummer, a guitarist, singer, etc) and essentially travel the globe performing with other band members through Xbox Live or the online Playstation Network. There are rumours of a perfectly modeled George W. Bush rocking it out on drums online so look out for him when the game launches.
Finally, for the serious musicians out there â€“ World Tour includes a fairly comprehensive music studio that allows you to record and mix your bandâ€™s tracks via your Xbox360 or PS3. You can even upload your own track for other Guitar Hero fans to try. This game will be huge with the only restraint for some being the price tag. With the two guitar controllers, drum-kit, microphone and game itself â€“ it could easily retail for over $350. Only time will tell when the game gets closer to launch â€“ but once people witness this game in action it will seem like money well spent.
For more from Activate '08, visit our Activate '08: Full Coverage Feature.
The Good: The huge amount of customisation.
The Bad: The price may be steep, but justified.
The Ugly: Our trashed hotel room after rocking out with World Tour.