It appears that despite many people having their hands on the game, the ever-present review embargo appears to be stopping most from commenting so far, but IGN appears to have been the first of the game enthusiast sites to get a review of Guitar Hero World Tour posted.
I don’t go by scores personally, I advise you to read the full review. It’s only one opinion so far, but to me, there are a couple of elements that make it sound like Neversoft may have missed some fairly important points again. By far the most important thing I saw in this review is that in ‘band mode’, it only takes one person failing to immediately bomb everyone out of the song. They say there’s no option to ‘save’ people like in Rock Band 1, and of course Rock Band 2 added ‘no fail mode’ which I can see us turning on, particularly in party mode. It simply sucks for everyone when the whole song fails in multiplayer because one person gets into trouble - the person failing feels bad, and everyone else gets their play interrupted - much better just to get a crappy score at the end (in practice in RB1 you can’t get less than about 70% because any less than that and you’d have failed beyond the ability for others to save you). Harmonix listened to the fans on this for RB2 - and since RB1 has been out for a year I would have expected GHWT to learn from this too and include RB2’s no fail mode, but in fact it doesn’t seem to even equal RB1 since you can’t ‘save’ others. Quite an odd decision - but then the GH3 designers somehow thought boss battles were cool too.
One thing I do like though is that you can activate star power when you want with the microphone (not sure about the drums). When it comes to ‘saving’ people this is an issue in RB1 - although the no fail mode will get rid of it.
Unsurprisingly there are some people complaining in forums about instrument failures already - drum pads not working properly, guitar slide bars being erratic, that kind of thing. I’m not really sure why people thought GHWT’s peripherals would be immune to the same teething problems RB’s had - even though Red Octane have a large amount of experience, anything new always has a few rough edges, especially when you’re talking about mass production. It’s way too early to tell if this is just a small proportion or a larger pattern but it’s not really news - it would have only been news if things had gone perfectly.
So, not a great start on the review front for GHWT; I can’t say I’m that surprised considering the disappointing GH3, but we’ll see as the review embargo lifts what other people thought. I have to say that embargoing reviews until after the release date of a product is a little suspect.
Well, a few more reviews are in now and it appears IGN was on the lowest end of the scale so far. Still, the text of every review still seems to indicate that the band mode / party play is the weak point, due to the instant-fail, clunky interface layout and less interesting band career mode. So, it looks like it depends on your play style - as someone who never really plays these music games alone (unless I’m practicing), co-op and party play are the #1 priority, so weakness in this area is a turn off for me (just like it was in the horribly broken GH3 co-op play, although this doesn’t sound as bad). Although the extra songs would be nice, on balance I think I’ll save my money and spend it on RB DLC instead. Those who haven’t taken the RB plunge yet might be good to get the hardware though, assuming the failures reported so far aren’t systemic.