A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is a sequel in the mega-popular Guitar Hero series. Some of the lyrics might raise an eyebrow as being sexually suggestive. Also, some of the female musicians that aren't wearing much clothes onstage.
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What's it about?
GUITAR HERO: WORLD TOUR is the sequel to the best-selling video game of 2007 (Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock). This new version adds drums and vocals to last year's game that was all about playing on the guitar and bass, along with a tour bus-full of new modes and features. For the uninitiated, these music games let you play along to hit rock songs on a plastic guitar, a drum kit peripheral, or sing in a microphone, and you must hit the right note/drum at the correct time in order to rack up points. Perform well and the virtual crowd claps to the beat, but make too many flubs and you might just get booed offstage. When it comes to instruments, the Guitar Hero: World Tour drums has two raised cymbals along with the three main pads and bass drum pedal, resembling a real kit. The newly-designed wireless guitar looks and feels great, and offers extra buttons for improv play and special effects, if desired. The wired microphone provides clear sound for the singer in your group.
After you watch the first of many entertaining animated sequences, you can select from a number of single-player, co-op or head-to-head game modes. A new rock star creator lets you customize the look of your virtual musician before entering a lengthy Career mode that lets players swap instruments as they progress through the story (or choose to stick with one); the Band Career options allows you to join or host an online band with other players. Or why not compete in an online competition – four against four – to see how many points your band can collectively rack up against a rival super group? As with Guitar Hero III, players who dual guitars on the same TV can unleash "battle attacks" to trip up an opponent such as causing a string to break or flipping the left and right buttons.
Is it any good?
For those who have played the Rock Band series, this new version of Guitar Hero is similar, and it might be even better in some regards.The 80-plus musical tracks are about as good as the ones offered in Rock Band 2 (with some available in both, such as Survivor's Eye of the Tiger and Bon Jovi's Livin' on a Prayer). World Tour includes classics like Lynyrd Skynyrd's Sweet Home Alabama (live version), The Eagles' Hotel California and Michael Jackson's Beat It, as well as newer rock ditties such as Tool's Schism, Oasis' Some Might Say and Linkin Park's What I've Done. You can also download additional tracks from the Internet for a few bucks apiece.
But the way World Tour distinguishes itself from Rock Band is that it includes an editor to create and share your own songs. But be forewarned, it takes some patience and skill to fully appreciate the bundled "Music Studio." One to four players can choose to play lead or rhythm guitar, bass, keyboards and drums, but vocals cannot be recorded. Once you've saved your masterpiece, publish it to an online hub called GHTunes for others to download; on the flipside, you can download and play someone else' songs, too. Thanks to great songs, rockin' instruments, multiple game modes, and the built-in music studio, Activision's Guitar Hero: World Tour is the best of the music games.
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