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This week, will Zero Punctuation's rock star fantasies be fulfilled with Guitar Hero World Tour?

Transcript Edit

You know what, Harmonix? I used to be on your side. When you departed the Guitar Hero franchise  and left Guitar Hero III in the hands of Activision and RedOctane, I felt that the game was poorer for it. Then we learned you were working on Rock Band, and I was thrilled, because it seemed like a fantastic advancement of the concept. After all, playing pretend guitar is fun, and playing co-op with a friend on another pretend guitar is even more fun (and incidentally an excellent way to develop a burgeoning romance). So an entire pretend ensemble would provide excellent opportunities for fun (and perhaps eroticism). I was ready to ride the Harmonix train all the way to Fun Street Station.

But it seems on the way to Fun Street Station the Harmonix train went off the rails, around Fuckery Central. Rock Band came out in America in 2007, and I was drinking in the soundtrack waiting for Harmonix to tell us when we Australian residents could expect to be banging our heads so hard that the corks on our hats could take someone's eye out. "I 'unno," came the reply. "Sometime next year, maybe?" An entire year passes. "Oh yeah," says Harmonix, wiping chicken grease from his face as dusky maidens fan his corpulence. "Still dunno about when we're releasing it, but we do know that we're going to sell the instruments separately and charge you three times as much as Americans pay. Now caper for my amusement, you dirty Australian monkey man."

But then Activision swung in through the window wearing a rakish tricorne hat and clenching a dagger 'tween his teeth, robbing the bloated and dastardly Duke Harmonix of his tidy little monopoly, giving complete packaged copies of World Tour to the peasants for a much more reasonable price. I vowed never to buy products from the bloated and dastardly Duke Harmonix again. But then, of course, after a few hours of entertainment Guitar Hero: World Tour started coughing up blood and his legs fell off. In my haste to welcome him into my home, I failed to notice that he was suffering from leprosy.

Believe me, after having my antipodean nutsack paddled by Harmonix for months on end, I was really desperately trying to like World Tour. I went along with it all. I got some friends around and hung plastic instruments around their throats. I put on tight trousers and thrust my hips at the drummer, even after he politely but firmly asked me to stop. And I made a little simulacrum of myself in the character creator, even though you can shift those sliders to the moon and back and you'll always somehow look like Mick Jagger after being smacked in the face with a chopping board for a few hours. Unless you make a girl, perhaps, but everyone knows that you can't have women in proper rock bands, because all the blokes are going to be looking like them anyway.

The first problem we ran into was that no one wanted to sing! This is less a problem with World Tour specifically and more an inherent problem with the original concept and possibly with the people I hang around with. You see, people who like pretend guitar are introverted nerds who picture themselves as the aloof, crazy-skilled lead guitarist whose hands rattle away at the strings like nervous little crabs while he stares into the middle distance pretending to have forgotten he's holding it. Whereas people who like pretend singing are either screechy center-of-attention types or a normal person who has rendered themselves massively drunk and stumbled upon a jukebox full of '80s power ballads. And the two groups rarely socialize, because you need to be sober for those power solos.

I'll tell you what would help bring the glittering vocalist butterfly from the shambling, unwashed cocoon of nerd, and that's having some decent songs on the soundtrack. Deny it as much as you like, but you're asking us to do karaoke here, and the lifeblood of karaoke is a list of memorable classics whose lyrics are ingrained into the public consciousness. Or, at the very least, a few ZZ Top songs so I can sing like I've got a sock jammed in my throat.

But on the World Tour soundtrack, for every Livin' on a Prayer or Band on the Run, there are two shitty emo rock warblers that no one's ever heard of. Admittedly, that's always going to be par for the course in games like these, but what the fuck is with having songs from obscure European bands with lyrics entirely in foreign? If you don't speak Spanish, singing them is like if the guitarist was required to play wearing mittens. Or if the drummer were required to think.

And, of course, with new hardware comes the inevitable hardware issues. The slider bar on the guitar controller could be more productively replaced with a McCowan's chew bar. At least you'd have something to lick in between songs. There's virtually no warning as to when the special slidy notes are about to come up, and switching between the buttons and the slider without looking is so fiddly that I forgot how many fingers I owned and ruined my future masturbation prospects. You might as well just use the fret buttons for all the notes and use the slider bar to store elastic bands to flick at the bassist.

And then there are the drums, whose cymbals are like a pair of dopey inbred twins whose names who need to shout three times before they'll even realize you're talking to them. (Actually, Activision have acknowledged the drum problems and are sorting out a fix, but they won't score points for it unless it comes with all the songs from the Sgt. Pepper album  and a selection of prostitutes who will come around my house and take turns beating the slider bar with a pipe wrench).

Really, though, this is all getting a bit nitpicky. Playing Guitar Hero is still as inherently entertaining and shamelessly pathetic as it's always been. And the dodgy additions of World Tour don't usually get in the way of all that. Plus, the music creation facility - while just a little bit too nerdy for me to consider actually using - will ensure that there will always be plenty of new songs online to challenge you (as long as you can tolerate endless MIDI renditions of the Neon Genesis Evangelion theme tune).

Get either this or Rock Band, because it honestly doesn't matter which. Although it's worth remembering that Harmonix are bigger jerks than Activision, which, as achievements go, has got to be worth some kind of medal.

AddendaEdit

Still crazy after all these years: Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw

When. The. Fuck. Is. One. Of. These. Games. Going. To. Feature. Stairway. To. Heaven.

Also some Kinks would be sweet

KaraokeEdit

(Yahtzee and his mates sing along to the Deus Ex theme tune)

Put on a trenchcoat

and fight some conspiracies

Get experience

and level up abilities


Will you pick rifles

or computers?

Don't pick swimming, because

it's fairly useless


It's a shooter

and a role-playing game

The levels are ugly

and everyone looks the same


We're not the same Ion Storm

that made Daikatana

Our games are good

and they

stay on schedule


We made a sequel

that no-one liked

'cos we dumbed it down too much

'cos we're thick

ScreenshotsEdit

World Tour 1

Everyone knows that you can't women in proper rock bands, because all the blokes are going to be looking like them anyways

World Tour 2

I'll tell you what would help bring the glittering vocalist butterfly from the shambling, unwashed cocoon of nerd

World Tour 3

There will always be plenty of new songs online

External LinksEdit

Episodes
2007 - 2010
2007
Q3 The Darkness Demo · Fable: The Lost Chapters · Zero Punctuation (Episode) · Heavenly Sword and Other Stuff · Psychonauts · Console Rundown · BioShock · Tomb Raider: Anniversary · Manhunt · Peggle
Q4 Halo 3 · Tabula Rasa · The Orange Box · Super Paper Mario · Medal of Honor: Airborne · The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass · Clive Barker's Jericho · F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate · Assassin's Creed · Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock · Mass Effect
2008
Q1 Super Mario Galaxy · Silent Hill: Origins · Crysis · The Witcher · Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles · Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare · SimCity Societies · Yahtzee Goes to GDC · Uncharted: Drake's Fortune · Devil May Cry 4 · Burnout: Paradise · Turok · Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure
Q2 Army of Two · No More Heroes · Condemned 2: Bloodshot · Super Smash Bros. Brawl · God of War: Chains of Olympus · Mailbag Showdown · Grand Theft Auto IV · Painkiller · The World Ends With You · The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion · Haze · Metal Gear Solid 4
Q3 Webcomics · Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures · Alone in the Dark · Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures · The E3 Trailer Park · Ninja Gaiden II · Prince of Persia Retrospective · Soulcalibur IV · Braid · EVE Online · Too Human · Spore · XBLA Double Bill
Q4 Mercenaries 2: World in Flames · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed · S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky · Silent Hill: Homecoming · Saints Row 2 · Dead Space · Fable II · Fallout 3 · Guitar Hero: World Tour · Mirror's Edge · Left 4 Dead · Sonic Unleashed · The Year in Review - 2008 · Prince of Persia
2009
Q1 Awards for 2008 · Tomb Raider: Underworld · Far Cry 2 · Gears of War 2 · LittleBigPlanet · Thief: The Dark Project · Skate 2 · F.E.A.R. 2 · Spider-Man: Web of Shadows · The House of the Dead: Overkill · 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand · Resident Evil 5
Q2 X-Blades/Halo Wars · Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars · MadWorld · Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X · Siren: Blood Curse · The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena · Valkyria Chronicles · Velvet Assassin · Duke Nukem Forever · Bionic Commando · InFamous · The Second Annual E3 Hype Massacre · Prototype
Q3 The Sims 3 · Ghostbusters: The Video Game · Overlord 2 · Red Faction Guerrilla · Wii Sports Resort · Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood · The Conduit · Silent Hill 2 · 2.5-D Hoedown · Tales of Monkey Island · Wolfenstein · Batman: Arkham Asylum · Beatles Rock Band & Guitar Hero 5 · Darkest of Days
Q4 Scribblenauts · Wet · Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story · Brutal Legend · Washington D.C. · Uncharted 2: Among Thieves · Dragon Age: Origins · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 · Assassin's Creed 2 · Left 4 Dead 2 & New Super Mario Bros. Wii · Demon's Souls · Holiday 2009 · The Saboteur
2010
Q1 Awards for 2009 · Torchlight · Darksiders · Bayonetta · Dark Void · Borderlands · Mass Effect 2 · Dante's Inferno · BioShock 2 · Aliens vs Predator · Heavy Rain · Battlefield: Bad Company 2 · Final Fantasy XIII
Q2 April Fools 2010 · God of War III · Red Steel 2 · Just Cause 2 · Silent Hill: Shattered Memories · Splinter Cell: Conviction · Nier · Dead to Rights: Retribution · Monster Hunter Tri · Alan Wake · Red Dead Redemption · Alpha Protocol · Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands · E3 2010
Q3 No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle · Super Mario Galaxy 2 · Singularity · Crackdown 2 · DeathSpank & Limbo · Shadow of the Colossus · Split Second: Velocity · Transformers: War for Cybertron · Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days · Mafia II · Metroid: Other M · Video Game Voters Network · Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Q4 Halo: Reach · Dead Rising 2 · Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow · Enslaved: Odyssey to the West · Fallout: New Vegas · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II · Call of Duty: Black Ops · IPhone Games · Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood · Splatterhouse · Epic Mickey · Holiday 2010
2011 - 2014
2011
Q1 Top 5 of 2010 · World of Warcraft: Cataclysm · Fable III · Minecraft · A Shadow's Tale · Dead Space 2 · DC Universe Online · MindJack · Two Worlds II · Bulletstorm · Killzone 3 · Kirby's Epic Yarn · Dragon Age II
Q2 Pokémon White · Yakuza 4 · Crysis 2 · Nintendo 3DS · Portal 2 · Castlevania: Symphony of the Night · Mortal Kombat · Brink · L.A. Noire · The Witcher 2 · Hunted: The Demon's Forge · Duke Nukem Forever (for real this time) · InFamous 2
Q3 Alice: Madness Returns · Shadows of the Damned · F.E.A.R. 3 · The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D · Call of Juarez: The Cartel · Bastion and From Dust · Catherine · Red Faction: Armageddon · Deus Ex · Deus Ex: Human Revolution · Driver: San Francisco · Dead Island · Resistance 3
Q4 Gears of War 3 · Hard Reset · Rage · Kinect · Batman: Arkham City · Battlefield 3 · Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 · The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim · Saints Row: The Third · Assassin's Creed: Revelations · The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
2012
Q1 Serious Sam 3: BFE · Top 5 of 2011 · Super Mario 3D Land & Rayman Origins · Sonic Generations · Star Wars: The Old Republic · Amy · Resident Evil: Revelations · Darkness 2 · Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning · NeverDead · Syndicate · Mass Effect 3 · Twisted Metal
Q2 Yakuza: Dead Souls · Ninja Gaiden 3 · Silent Hill: Downpour · Kid Icarus: Uprising · Fez and I Am Alive · Prototype 2 · Risen 2: Dark Waters · Sniper Elite V2 · Diablo 3 · Max Payne 3 · Dragon's Dogma · E3 2012 · Lollipop Chainsaw
Q3 Quantum Conundrum · Spec Ops: The Line · Walking Dead · Inversion · The Amazing Spider-Man · Half-Life · Wreckateer and Deadlight · Steam Roundup · Sleeping Dogs · Darksiders 2 · DayZ · Guild Wars 2
Q4 Borderlands 2 · FIFA 13 · Resident Evil 6 · Dishonored · XCOM: Enemy Unknown · Medal of Honor: Warfighter & Doom 3: BFG Edition · Assassin's Creed 3 · Halo 4 · Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 · Hitman: Absolution · Far Cry 3 · ZombiU
2013
Q1 Top 5 of 2012 · Paper Mario: Sticker Star · Black Knight Sword & Hotline Miami · Anarchy Reigns · DMC: Devil May Cry · The Cave · Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch · Dead Space 3 · Aliens: Colonial Marines · Crysis 3 · Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance · Tomb Raider · SimCity
Q2 The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct · BioShock Infinite · Lego City Undercover · Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon · Injustice: Gods Among Us · Star Trek · Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon · System Shock 2 · Metro: Last Light · Next Gen Buyer's Guide · Fuse · Remember Me · E3 2013
Q3 The Last of Us · Deadpool · Animal Crossing: New Leaf · Ride to Hell: Retribution · Dark · Mario & Luigi: Dream Team · Rise of the Triad · Papers, Please & Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons · Pikmin 3 · The Bureau: XCOM Declassified · Saints Row 4 · Killer is Dead · Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs
Q4 Grand Theft Auto V · Lost Planet 3 · Beyond: Two Souls · The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD · Batman: Arkham Origins · Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag · Call of Duty: Ghosts · Exclusives Showdown · Ryse: Son of Rome · Dead Rising 3 · Super Mario 3D World
2014
Q1 Top 5 of 2013 · Knack · Killzone: Shadow Fall · Survival Special · Broken Age · Might & Magic X: Legacy · The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds · Dark Souls · Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII · Strider · Thief · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 · Dark Souls II
Q2 Titanfall · InFamous: Second Son · Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes · The Elder Scrolls Online · South Park: The Stick of Truth · FTL: Faster Than Light · Child of Day-Light · The Amazing Spider-Man 2 · Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure · Wolfenstein: The New Order · WATCH DOGS · E3 2014 · Murdered: Soul Suspect
Q3 Tomodachi Life · Enemy Front & Valiant Hearts: The Great War · Shovel Knight · EarthBound · Transistor · E.T. · Firefall · Sacred 3 · Risen 3: Titan Lords · Daikatana · Lichdom: Battlemage · The Sims 4 · Destiny
Q4 D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die · Hyrule Warriors · Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor · Alien Isolation · The Evil Within · Bayonetta 2 · Sunset Overdrive · Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare · Assassin's Creed: Unity · Far Cry 4 · Dragon Age: Inquisition · Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric · Top 5 Games of 2014
2015 - 2017
2015
Q1 The Talos Principle · Elite: Dangerous · Five Nights at Freddy's and This War of Mine · Lords of the Fallen · Saints Row: Gat out of Hell · Dying Light · Grim Fandango · Evolve · The Order: 1886 · The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D · Resident Evil Revelations 2 · Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number & Ori and the Blind Forest
Q2 Battlefield: Hardline · Bloodborne · Half-Life 2 Update · Axiom Verge & Stealth Inc 2 · Mortal Kombat X · Grand Theft Auto Online · Broken Age: Act 2 · Wolfenstein: The Old Blood · Cyberpunk Double · The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt · Splatoon · Hatred · E3 2015
Q3 Alone in the Dark: Illumination · Batman: Arkham Knight · Yoshi's Woolly World · Cave Story · Godzilla · Rocket League & Tembo the Badass Elephant · King's Quest: A Knight to Remember · Nom Nom Galaxy & Freedom Planet · Everybody's Gone To The Rapture · Volume · Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain · Mad Max · Gears of War Ultimate Edition · Until Dawn
Q4 Super Mario Maker · SOMA · Rock Band 4 · Assassin's Creed Syndicate · Halo 5: Guardians · Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 · Rise of the Tomb Raider · Fallout 4 · Star Wars: Battlefront · Just Cause 3 · Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water
2016
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2015 · Devil's Third · Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam · Assassin's Creed Chronicles · Xenoblade Chronicles X · The Witness & Bombshell · Gravity Rush · XCOM 2 · Firewatch & Layers of Fear · Far Cry Primal · Stardew Valley & SUPERHOT · The Division · Salt and Sanctuary
Q2 Republique · Shadow Warrior · Quantum Break · Dark Souls III · Ratchet & Clank · Star Fox Zero · Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door · Uncharted 4: A Thief's End · Doom · Homefront: The Revolution · Overwatch & Battleborn · Mirror's Edge: Catalyst · E3 2016
Q3 Mighty No. 9 · Inside & Shadow of the Beast · The Technomancer · Furi & Song of the Deep · I Am Setsuna · Headlander & Quadrilateral Cowboy · Quake · No Man's Sky · Grow Up · Deus Ex: Mankind Divided · Metroid Prime: Federation Force · The Curious Expedition & Mother Russia Bleeds · ReCore
Q4 Capcom Five · Clustertruck & Lichtspeer · Paper Mario: Color Splash · Mafia III · Gears of War 4 · PlayStation VR · Battlefield 1 · Titanfall 2 vs Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare · Dishonored 2 · WATCH DOGS 2 · Final Fantasy XV · The Last Guardian
2017
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2016 · Let It Die · Dead Rising 4 · Hitman · Gravity Rush 2 · Resident Evil 7 · Yakuza 0 · Nioh · For Honor · Nintendo Switch & Breath of the Wild · Horizon Zero Dawn · Nier Automata · Ghost Recon Wildlands
Q2 Mass Effect Andromeda · Yooka-Laylee · Persona 5 · Remastered Editions · Outlast 2 · Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 · Prey

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