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Guitar Hero: World Tour
Score: 73%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Neversoft Entertainment
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 - 4
Genre: Party/ Rhythm

Graphics & Sound:
The PS2 is growing old, indeed. Never has it been more evident than when I played Guitar Hero: World Tour The difference in the graphics between the PS2 version and the PS3 version is like night and day, as would be expected, but even the user interface in the PS2 version looks blurry, and is much more simplistic. If you're interested in getting Guitar Hero: World Tour and you're considering purchasing a PS3, this may be the game to get a PS3 for. The difference is just that big.

Of course, the graphics aren't the most important part of a Guitar Hero game; the sound is. This should be true of all music games. Guitar Hero: World Tour has a good selection of songs, but the quality is lower, due to the smaller disc capacity. This is most highly noticeable in the Recording Studio, where you don't have an option to change your drum kit as you would in the PS3 version. While you do have effects available for the guitars, the keyboard sounds you can create in the PS2 version of the Recording Studio when recording songs are very simple and electronic sounding, sounding like a cheap music keyboard or an older computer system. In addition, when you save your songs, they have to fit on a memory card, so the length of a custom song is greatly reduced.

First thing I should warn readers here is that there is a major difference between playing this version of Guitar Hero: World Tour on the PS3 emulating the PS2 and an actual PS2. Try the PS2 version on a PS3 and you'll get pretty bad lag issues and even a glitch that will lock up the game and require a restart if you try to go into the Recording Studio with a microphone plugged in. On an actual PS2, these problems disappear and you actually get less lag in the Recording Studio than if you were playing the PS3 version.

Guitar Hero: World Tour for the PS2 is, for the most part, very similar to the PS3 or Xbox 360 versions, but with limitations caused by the lack of a hard drive or online support. Right off the bat, this means that you don't get online gameplay modes. Also, you don't get any downloadable content, one of the features that made Guitar Hero: World Tour's rival game, Rock Band, appeal to so many people. This is a larger issue than it might seem at first. The lack of this feature changes this game from a constantly evolving game with the ability to keep itself fresh to a one-shot game with a limited list of songs. This feature is sort of a big deal.

Another effect caused by the lack of online functionality is that you can't share your custom-created songs with others as easily. You could probably copy them to a friend's memory card or use a third-party device to upload them to a website, if you have one, but the PS2 version of Guitar Hero: World Tour is not going to give you a satisfying social experience. You've been warned.

All things considered, that might not be that bad a thing, anyway, since the Recording Studio is much more limited on the PS2 than on the other systems, mainly in lessened sound quality, which means you are much less likely to want others to hear your songs. This is sad, since the Recording Studio in the PS2 version of Guitar Hero: World Tour actually has much fewer lag issues than I saw in the PS3 version.

Aside from issues due to storage space and internet access, the PS2 version of Guitar Hero: World Tour has most of the same features as its more powerful versions. There is, of course, the Career mode, in which select an avatar or create your own, then work your way through the various gigs, improving your skill on an instrument and upping your difficulty as you go.

For those who just want to jump in and play, there is QuickPlay mode, which lets you simply select a song from any that have been unlocked already and any custom songs that you have saved.

If you're looking for some old-school, one-on-one dueling action, Head to Head is the mode for you. You can challenge a friend to a contest of musical skillz and see who is the better player.

The Rock Star Creator isn't really a gameplay mode in and of itself, but it is accessible from the main menu, as well as inside the game. This allows you to create different characters outside of playing the game, which can be nice if you're setting up characters for friends coming over for a party or a similar situation where you want characters created before the game is played, rather than having a long setup period before the game gets going.

The difficulty in Guitar Hero: World Tour during the normal modes, such as Quick Play, Tour or Practice, is adjustable, with five different levels of difficulty. These levels provide something for pretty much anyone, from novices to Guitar Hero fans from way back.

The Recording Studio, on the other hand, is another story. The difficulty in using the Recording Studio feature stems primarily from two aspects: the user interface and lag issues. The user interface is not the most intuitive, but with practice, you can get used to it. The lag issue, however, can at best be worked around... and even that is with limited effectiveness. Surprisingly, the PS2 version seemed to suffer from much less lag than the PS3 version did when in Recording Studio. As I mentioned above, though, the sound quality in the Recording Studio is so low as to almost render this feature pointless, anyway. If you are interested in the Recording Studio feature, you should be buying Guitar Hero: World Tour on a different system, if only for the ability to share your music with a community.

Game Mechanics:
I know that Sony is pushing the PS2 as being a system that will be viable for ten years, and I think it can be, for certain types of games, but the thing that makes games of this genre interesting and fun hinges on the online aspects, higher disc capacities and a hard drive. I think the PS2 can be fun for years to come, but with more casual titles that don't require these advanced features.

As it is, you're looking at a fairly ugly version of Guitar Hero: World Tour that is missing some cool features and has another one limited to the point of not being very useful. If you have a PS2 and that is your only option and you want to play Guitar Hero: World Tour, then this is the (only) version to get.

One redeeming factor is that if you have a friend that has a PS3 or if you purchase a PS3 at a later date, these instruments could also be used on the PS3, but you'd need to pick up the PS3 version of World Tour (game only), as well.

-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins

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