Tag: Guitar Hero

Guitar Hero World Tour – Last Impression

I’ve decided, due to Amazon’s gracious return policy, to return the game, and get my money back.   While the documentation I’ve done as to the quality of the hardware is pretty in-depth, that’s not the reason I’m returning the game.

As you may know, from my earlier posts, my first drumkit was defective.   The second one did the same, so I contacted RedOctane to get the Midi to USB cable to use the tuning software they have, in hopes that maybe the second drumkit is a bit better.   After 9 days of waiting, it came today at work.   So I hooked it up when I got home, did the tuning, and played through about a dozen songs on drums. While it fixed the main bug (the snare wouldn’t respond when hit at the same time as the hi hat), it did not fix the same problem with the ride/crash cymbal, or any of the toms.   More or less rendering the drum part of the game useless.

That, in conjunction with the problems with the game itself, pushed me over the edge.   The game is almost $200, it’s not cheap. For it to be that imperfect, twice, out of the box, says something.

So, I packed it up, and will be dropping it back at UPS again tomorrow morning.   A shame, really.   Don’t get me wrong, I love Rock Band.   I love any game that I get to play a plastic guitar, or drums, or plastic anything.   I’m not a Rock Band fanboy, by any means, and that game has nothing to do with my decision to return Guitar Hero World Tour.   I’m returning the game because I don’t like it, and I don’t feel like it lives up to the hype that it’s getting online.

I’d be willing to bet that any website you read a positive review of the game on, is probably getting some form of a kickback for selling copies of the game. Whether it be affiliate links, or a direct payment from the makers, who knows.   But if you play the game, and pay attention, you’ll see how poorly it’s made.

The thing I noticed tonight, the most, is that the characters in the game aren’t really playing the instruments the way they’re supposed to.   I don’t know if I noticed that because I’ve been playing instruments for more than half my life, or if I’ve seen too many videos before MTV stopped playing them.   It’s evident that Guitar Hero World Tour is not made by musicians.   It’s like when you’re watching a music video, and you think to yourself “I think the guitar player’s faking it”, or “the drummer’s off beat.”   It’s the same thing with the game, but all the time. The only time I noticed the drummer was “right”, was at the very beginning of every song, when he clicked the sticks together four times, to count into the song.   It’s the little things, like that, that bugged me about the game.

I would have been happy to keep the game, and play it a lot, striving to finish the achievements for Xbox Live, like I do with most every game I play, but I just couldn’t.   I don’t want to rehash all the things I didn’t like about the game. You can read those below, in the other posts.

Guitar Hero used to be it.   My, how the mighty have fallen.

Guitar Hero World Tour – My Final Say

I’m sick, so I stayed home from work today.   After taking a nap, and feeling slightly better, I decided to try to finish the “single” tour, playing guitar, in Guitar Hero World Tour.

I was 81% done last time I turned the game off.   When I started today, I was somehow 79% done, go figure.

I had two sets left to go, each 6 songs.   I went through the first, on Expert, as I had been playing, without any issues.

The second set, I failed out of the Motorhead song, but passed it the second time. I failed out of B.Y.O.B. a whole bunch of times, so I dropped down to Hard, to get by that.   Same thing for Mr. Crowley (talk about a hard solo).

I got through Trapped Under Ice from Metallica, on Expert, without failing, which surprised me.

So, I finish the game, and play the “encore” (flying through the sky being pulled on a stage by giant eagles? Seriously, lay off the drugs Activision), which was fun. Pull Me Under, from Dream Theater. One of my favorite songs, from my absolute favorite band.     I was happy.

I got through it, backed out of the game, and saw that it registered 96% done.   Huh? I just watched the credits, how is that possible?   So, I went back through and did the “make your own gig” 6 song set list. Maybe I had to do that, to get to 100%.

Finished. No change.   I can only assume I didn’t get 100% because I didn’t finish the last set on Expert.   According to the Xbox achievements I won, I “completed the guitar tour on hard”, which is bogus.   I completed every song on Expert, except 2.

The way the game’s set up, there’s no way to know which songs I finished on which difficulty. (Unlike the more superior plastic-instrumented game, where you can clearly see which level of difficulty you played the song on.)   So I have no idea which songs I’d need to go back and play, should I want to do it in the future, for that award.

The bottom line: this game feels more like a chore, than a fun interactive game.   Activision tried, and came up short of the mark.   Those other game makers, at the better company set a pretty high bar, and Activision missed it, by a lot.   I’m still baffled why GHWT is getting such good reviews on Amazon.   The game play is cartoony, the “guitar heros” (Hendrix, Sting, Travis Barker, and Ozzy) aren’t even real guitar heros (except for maybe Hendrix), the songs are mostly unknown (except for those songs that people recognize because they were already in a plasticy-instrumented game earlier this year), and the setlists are stupid.

Let’s gripe about the setlists, shall we?   You see a setlist in the “gig view”, with more than 3 songs, and click on it, to start playing it.   You get the option to “play this whole gig”, but can only see the first three songs in the gig. So, if you want to see the whole thing, you have to back out to the “gig view” again, and view them.   Bad UI.

There are no “random” setlists.   There are no “mystery” setlists. And there’s only one “create your own” setlist.

I looked through the available achievements for Xbox Live.   One of them is to get $1,000,000 in career earnings.   Talk about stupid.   The most I earned from a song, playing on Expert guitar, was $1,250.   And that was solo. I’m sure the earnings would have been less had I had to split them with a whole band.   At that rate, I’d have to play 800 songs to get to a million.   And the game only has 85 tracks.   So, to get to a million, I’d have to 5 star every song, 10 times.   The songs just aren’t that good. I have no desire to play the majority of them again. (Although Hot For Teacher, Beat It, and La Bamba were all fun to play.)

Guitar Hero II was awesome. Guitar Hero III was awesome, albeit a bit too challenging.   Guitar Hero Aerosmith was a complete joke.   Guitar Hero World Tour is subpar for the industry.   If you want to stay in the game, Activision, you’ve got to step it up.   Whoever you fired between Guitar Hero III and Guitar Hero Aerosmith was the key to you guys making good games.

I’d write my bit here about how much I liked/disliked the drum tour.   But since I’m on my second defective drumkit, I can’t.   I filed a second RMA almost a week ago, and haven’t heard back yet.   Activision must be backed up with tens of thousands of other people with broken stuff.   Sad, really.   Regardless, I have no desire to go back and play any of this game again, even if they do replace the defective drums for me, at no cost.   I’ll be packing the game up, and probably dumping it on eBay, like hundreds of other people, from what I’ve seen.

Save your $180, or buy the other, better game instead.   Those guys know how to do it right.   Activision, you’re embarassing yourself, and enraging “fans” of your games.   Stop it.   Or you won’t sell very many copies of whatever crapfest you put out next, and call a game.

Guitar Hero World Tour – RMA Debacle

For those that read the first impression post,   here’s an update:

The game itself has gotten slightly more fun.   Not any less confusing, but at least somewhat challenging.   I’ve yet to even come close to failing a song on Expert guitar, but there’ve been some tricky parts. (On a side note, I don’t think I’ve ever used “there’ve” before. Fun times.)

Now, the drums:

Their support finally got back to me, and said they’d send me a MIDI to USB cable, so I could use their “tuning software”, which would fix my issue.

I didn’t want to wait 3-6 weeks for it, because (if you know me, you know) I’m totally impatient.   So, I picked up one myself at Radio Shack, and tried it out.


Back to Radio Shack to return. (Thanks Mom.)

I finally get the “support” guy to give me the okay to file an RMA, and he sends me the URL.   I fill it out Thursday, October 30th, at 7:42AM EST.

I get a response, today (November 2nd) at 11:09AM, telling me that yes, I can send my drums in. Please ensure I pay postage both ways, and wait for 2-3 weeks while they “test” my drums.

I respond with a “Are you f’ing kidding me?” (albeit a little more verbose than that.) to their suggestion I pay for shipping both ways.

I get home from my mom’s, where I was re-hooking up her electronic gear after having it removed to install new carpet in her house, and check out the Guitar Hero forums.   Hundreds of people pissed off about this as well. Many who simply returned the defective hardware to the store.   I even found one guy that tried 8 different versions of the hardware, then eventually got his money back from Best Buy.   Unreal.

So, I did what anyone would do, I went to Amazon’s site, and checked out their return policy.   Technically, I ordered it more than 30 days ago, but they only shipped in last week, so I’m safe.

I filled out a few short fields on a form, and in seconds I had a pre-paid printed label to return my defective item to them, a new copy being shipped to me, and a complete RMA completed.   It took me about 6 minutes total, 15 if you count packing up the broken game back into its box. (Glad I hadn’t tossed that yet.)

So, attempt two should be here sometime this week.   If that, also, is broken, I’ll be sending it back for a full refund. I’m not going to spend time shipping things back and forth, and hoping to get one that isn’t broken.   I’ll just go buy a copy of the game, and use any one of the other plastic instrument controllers I have. (6 plastic guitars, 3 plastic drumsets, 2 plastic microphones, FYI.)

Check back for an update when I get the second copy of the game later this week.   If it’s broken, there’s going to be hell to pay.   Ever heard of QA RedOctane? It’s the process where you test stuff you have made in China, before shipping it.   Maybe give it a whirl for your next game, eh?

Guitar Hero World Tour – First Impressions

I think it may be because I’ve been playing another, similar, instrument based rhythm game for the last year, but I really don’t like Guitar Hero World Tour, so much.

I may be biased, since right out of the box, the snare pad on my drumkit doesn’t work right. It’s one of those “only register every other note” broken ones.   I’m still waiting to hear back from RedOctane’s support as to when I’ll get a new one.

The guitar’s decent.   It’s a lot like the GH3 controller, in its clickiness, and button feel.   Nothing too impressive.   I do, however, like the “mash here for StarPower activation” button.   Though it hurts like hell if you mash it too hard.

I think it’s the game play that I didn’t like that much.   Given, I’ll still play through it once, to get whatever achievements I can get. But I won’t have the desire to go back and play it every night, like the other game.

The game play is, well, confusing.   Lots of random things popping up on the screen that don’t make sense. In Guitar Hero, when you get a streak, it’d pop up and tell you.   In GHWT, stuff pops up, but you’re not really sure what for.   Just random “Score streak”, and “note streak” stuff popping up.   It’s tough to tell.

It’s also extremely tough to tell when your vocalist is about to fail.   When an instrument player is failing, you flash red on your note streak.   (Which we’re all used to from virtually every rhythm game there is.)   The vocalist doesn’t do that.   There’s a “health meter” sort of thing off to the left, for each instrument, but it’s tiny, and you don’t have enough time to stray your eyes over there, to check on yourself.

The graphics are cartoony, just like the other GH games.   It’s not as polished, or clean, as the other game.   The menus take too long to load, and if you’re playing with a group of people, it “saves” everyone’s content separately, which takes longer to get things done after sets/songs.   With just my wife and I playing, it took an average of 17 seconds to save our content after each set.   The other game takes less than 2 seconds.

My biggest pet peeve is the thing I was the most excited about: The Tool setlist.   I think any Tool fan was psyched about this.   Why am I pissed?   Because you have to pay money to play the setlist.   Not real money, but the money you’ve earned in the game.     So, my wife and I spent two hours playing setlists to earn enough money to play the Tool songs.   They were fun, but not $8,000 fun.

Now, let’s move onto the actual gameplay.   I’ll admit it, I’m pretty decent at guitar, even at the Expert level, on the majority of rhythm based games.   With that said, and reading my post on Guitar Hero: Aerosmith, I can say that the games have gotten easier.   At least in my first run through of about 15 songs or so. (I’ll post again once I’ve finished the entire game.)   Guitar Hero II was pretty tough. Guitar Hero III was even harder.   Guitar Hero: Aerosmith was a joke.   And so far, Guitar Hero World Tour, is a joke, too.

Speaking of jokes, the game play is a lot more forgiving than the other game.   I purposely played notes for an entire verse of “Vicarious” close to a second early (before the note crossed the line where you’re supposed to play it), and didn’t miss a single one.   If I tried that BS in the other game, I’d have failed.

Check back in a few more days, once I’ve had a chance to go through the support process to get a new drumkit, and had the chance to finish the game on guitar, for my final thoughts.


You’ll notice, in my first impression review, that I did not mention the other game by name.   My disclaimer here is that, as you know, my wife works for a competitor.   Therefore, I didn’t mention the game that GHWT’s competitor makes by name. But I think you all know what I’m talking about.   Read any other review on the internet for an accurate comparison between the two.   (PS, I think this is a bogus situation, and would love to write about how one game is far inferior to the other, but I don’t want to get my wife in any trouble.)

Guitar Hero – Weak-o-smith

I’m not a huge Aerosmith fan, but I gladly bought the new Guitar Hero – Aerosmith game.   Mainly because I dig Guitar Hero, and think it’s fun.

I promptly started the game Sunday night, when I got it (the day it came out), and named my band cleverly: HtimsoreA (Aerosmith, backwards).

I began my expert career, thinking, like the other GH games, it’d start easy, and ramp up to difficult. (See Slayer, GH 3).   I was sadly mistaken.   I blew through the entire game, with only one small failure, that I attribute to the over-sensitive star power activating itself before the solo, to get me through a tough part.   It’s my own fault, really, I hold the guitar like a real guitar, and not horizontal.   I wish Activision would give you a different way to activate star power.

Anyway, 22.5 hours later, and only two sessions, I finished the game.   I thought maybe I just got better at the game.   So I went back and played Rock Band on Expert, and GH 3 on Expert, failing the same songs that I’ve been stuck on for weeks/months (Green Grass and High Tides, and Slayer).

I’m utterly disappointed in the first band-branded version of GH being so easy.   Just getting through the game on Expert gets you almost 500 gamer points, which in today’s day and age, is weak.

Also, in looking at XBox.com, beating the game on Expert also gives you the gamer points for beating it on the easier levels, which is cool, I guess.

It looks like I’ve unlocked most everything.   The awards left are stupid ones, like buy all the stuff from the store, and earn money, play online and win, etc.

The ones I’ll go back and try to get:

* Score Hero – Score “325,000” or more on the song “Train Kept a Rollin'” (Which was one of the hardest songs in the game)
* I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing – Earn a gold star rating on a song on Medium or harder difficulty (Local only)
* Ain’t That a B***h – Earn a gold star rating on a song (I guess that means 100%?   Christine and I got a 100% on co-op on the first song we tried. I guess that wasn’t good enough)

I hope the next band-branded version of the game is someone uber-difficult; Metallica, Avenged Sevenfold, Led Zeppelin, Slayer, Disturbed, Dream Theater, etc.   Make it tough. If we’re gonna shell out another $60 for the game (or $90 with the controller), make it worth our while, Activision.   Oh, and Activision, if you’re listening, fix the stupid star power activation.   No one plays the guitar horizontally.   Gimme someone to press on the guitar, to activate it.   Or a footpedal or something.   Please?