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"Guitar Hero World Tour" Offers Deluxe Drum Kit, Studio Capabilities

September 17, 2008 5:55 PM ET

After Rock Band stole music game headlines last year with its drum kit and expanded options, the folks at Activision knew they had to strike back big. Guitar Hero World Tour marks a giant leap forward for the franchise that jumpstarted the music game craze, featuring a drum kit and microphone but also a new guitar design and the ability to build your own tracks in a virtual studio.

The drum kit contains three drum pads and two virtual cymbals, which makes the percussion experience all the more realistic. The pads themselves are also velocity-sensitive, so the harder you hit them, the louder they sound. The new guitars are especially impressive: there's a touch-sensitive patch on the neck that allows for sliding solos and more realistic hammer-ons, which allows players to look more and more like Eddie Van Halen (but hopefully with better dental work).

As for the song lineup, there's an excellent balance between stone-cold classics like Michael Jackson's "Beat It" (which is incredibly difficult to sing), Jimi Hendrix's "The Wind Cries Mary" (which is equally difficult to drum) and Van Halen's "Hot For Teacher" along newer hits by Tokio Hotel and the Mars Volta. But the most unique aspect of Guitar Hero World Tour lies in the new studio mode, which lets you put down up to five tracks on a single song, meaning you can birth anything from a minimal drum and bass track to a Neil Young-esque three guitar attack. Once those songs are recorded, players will be able to upload them and let the online community go to town on them. Guitar Hero World Tour hits stores on October 26.

Related Stories:
Guitar Hero World Tour Unveils Full Track List
Slash on Guitar Hero, Guns N' Roses
Smashing Pumpkins Debuting "G.L.O.W." Exclusively on Guitar Hero
Rock Band, Guitar Hero Battle for Bands

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Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

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