Rocking in the Free World

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Yesterday I went into the local shopping centre/gang hangout with the intention of buying Rock Band. After much internal discussion I’d decided to choose RB over Guitar Hero World Tour due to my much vocalised disapointment at the sloppy mess known as Guitar Hero 3. But with JB Hifi being out of stock of RB, and GHWT being on sale for $64 at another imaginatively titled shop called ‘GAME’, I buckled.

Thankfully, my doubts were blown away. GHWT is a far superior product to GH3. Where GH3 felt rushed, unpolished and ugly, World Tour comes across as a much more refined game. I even laughed with delight a couple of times when for instance huge fireballs lit up the stage at a critical moment of a song, or when the guitarists leant together towards the lead singer to sing the chorus line of ‘Living on a Prayer’.

The character animations are quite frankly the best of any music game I’ve seen. In GH3, your character would be bopping and grinding away at a static pace throughout the song, even during sections where there were no guitars playing! In GHWT it feels like they’ve mo-capped each song individually. I’m not sure if they have or not, it seems like a mamoth task, but the fact that I’m unsure about it is a sign of the quality of the animation.

The track list is probably slightly more aimed at mainstream audiences than RB, but it’s still pretty damn good. The promise of future downloadable songs gives the game an even longer life.

HENDRIX! Playing the live Woodstock version of ‘Fire’ as Hendrix is so much fun you’ll feel guilty about it. There is something slightly creepy about the whole thing, as you play you can’t help wondering what Jimi would make of this crazy new technology more or less raising him from the dead to entertain fat, spoiled gamer brats, but the game has the support of the Hendrix foundation:  “Jimi was a kid at heart — he definitely would have played these games.” so it’s probably all good.

Pro tip time: If you like Hendrix at all, you have to try this. The game comes with ‘Purple Haze’ and ‘The Wind Cries Mary’ but you can also download the Hendrix track pack which comes with the aforementioned ‘Fire’ as well as ‘Little Wing’(probably my favourite Hendrix song) and ‘If 6 was 9′.

So far I’ve probably spent more time in the character creator than in the game. First up I created the old FoL crew (and Tash), then I went on to do Wolverine, Amy Winehouse, Kurt Cobain, Iggy Pop, Storm, Dr Manhattan and Hellboy.

Boothy in GHWT

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