Though you can create a band with your own uniquely designed characters (or pick from a selection of old favorites), the game still follows the same old formula of unlocking one tier of songs after another to plow through. In a kind gesture, you can adjust the difficulty on the fly, making it much harder to get stuck on a single, seemingly impassable tune. You can also tweak the sound levels of individual instrument tracks to suit your personal taste. Separate career paths for guitarists, drummers, vocalists and bassists offer different set list arrangements and subtle changes in gameplay that make each uniquely enjoyable.
The song selection interface is simple and stylish. Instead of picking from individual songs within a tier in Career Mode, you're forced to play through the entire selected tier as a single set. It's nothing revolutionary, yet this smart design decision prevents you from skipping through songs by the many lesser known bands mixed in among the super groups. There's a great sampling of genres and a good mix between big name artists and indie bands, and all of the 86 songs in the game are master recordings. Downloadable content will also continue to expand the immense number of songs available. To conserve space on the Wii's meager hard drive, you can save songs purchased from the online store directly onto SD cards.
World Tour's highly touted, built-in music creation and editing program is unfortunately a big disappointment. Sure, it's a complex thing to control with a steep learning curve. That will be of little concern to the hardcore players drawn to using it. The real issue at hand is the entirely limited and unrealistic sound quality of compositions produced in the program. No matter how you tweak them, the guitar sounds just aren't good enough to make a solid instrumental tune with. Your best efforts will come off sounding like choppy videogame music - the lone musical genre that lends itself well to the feature. Other features, like the highly entertaining jam sessions found in the Mii Freestyle Mode and the impressive local and online multiplayer offerings, are far more welcome additions. Hopefully a little more tweaking will improve the music creation feature in the future.
If you're partial to the heftier challenge of the recent Guitar Hero titles but also enjoy rocking out in a group, World Tour offers a great balance. It's highly challenging without being quite as brutal as Legends of Rock.
Bottom Line: World Tour is just as awesome as past Guitar Hero titles - only bigger, better and with more instruments.
Recommendation: Wii owners should buy this game. For everyone else, it's a toss up between World Tour and Rock Band 2.
Nathan Meunier feels far more sheepish about kicking over his expensive plastic drum kit now than he did repeatedly kicking over $800 worth of real drums on stage years ago.