After the absolutely smashing success of both Rock Band 1 and 2, Activision knew it had to severely step its game up from just guitar in order to compete with its own former developer, especially after the somewhat tepid critical reaction to their recent DS and Aerosmith titles. Enter Guitar Hero’s answer to Rock Band in the form of World Tour: Adding drums and a microphone to their already successful guitar and bass formula, as well as full career modes for all four instruments and the full band, Activision hoped to reignite their former enthusiasm with the gaming public with what many have considered simply following in the wake of Harmonix’s success.
It absolutely worked: While World Tour may not have been critically received quite as well as Rock Band 2, sales for World Tour nearly doubled that of Rock Band 2, making it the clear consumer favorite by a landslide. Part of this likely had to do with the sturdier-quality instruments, as many consumers complained about the mushy quality of the strum bar on Rock Band’s guitars and the fragile kick pedal on the drums, which had an unfortunate tendency to break when played too hard.
In addition to the aforementioned career modes, World Tour also includes an in-depth Music Studio feature, which allows users to create their own songs and share them online; customizing everything from the lead, rhythm, and bass guitar tracks, a drum track, and a “hum-along” vocal track by either playing it with the instruments in real time, slowed down, or manually one note at a time with a number of different sound effects and distortion pedals to add.
Setlist wise, for the first time in the Guitar Hero series following Rock Band 2’s precedent, all 84 songs in World Tour are complete master recordings: No covers to speak of, allowing anyone to enjoy each song as their artists originally intended. The variety was also a welcome addition; featuring songs from 1967 all the way to 2008 with the likes of huge acts such as Nirvana, Fleetwood Mac, Ted Nugent, Van Halen, Jimi Hendrix, Bon Jovi, and numerous smaller acts such as Hush Puppies, Modest Mouse, Filter, and Beatsteaks.
Out of those 84 songs not counting guitar duels, 32 are currently playable in Rocksmith for a total of around 38%, barely edging out Rock Band 2’s 34%.
|Artist||Song||Date in Rocksmith|
|Airbourne||Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast||N/A|
|The Allman Brothers Band||Ramblin’ Man||N/A|
|The Answer||Never Too Late||N/A|
|At the Drive-In||One Armed Scissor||N/A|
|Beastie Boys||No Sleep till Brooklyn||02/21/2017|
|Beatsteaks||Hail to the Freaks||N/A|
|Billy Idol||Rebel Yell||N/A|
|Black Label Society||Stillborn||04/05/2016|
|Black Rebel Motorcycle Club||Weapon of Choice||N/A|
|Blondie||One Way or Another||N/A|
|Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band||Hollywood Nights||N/A|
|Bon Jovi||Livin’ on a Prayer||12/02/2014|
|Bullet for My Valentine||Scream Aim Fire||11/25/2014|
|Creedence Clearwater Revival||Up Around the Bend||N/A|
|The Cult||Love Removal Machine||N/A|
|Dinosaur Jr.||Feel the Pain||04/21/2015|
|The Doors||Love Me Two Times||07/19/2016|
|Dream Theater||Pull Me Under||09/27/2016|
|The Eagles||Hotel California||N/A|
|Filter||Hey Man, Nice Shot||05/31/2016|
|Fleetwood Mac||Go Your Own Way||08/18/2015|
|The Guess Who||American Woman||01/29/2013|
|HushPuppies||You’re Gonna Say Yeah!||N/A|
|Jane’s Addiction||Mountain Song||02/17/2015|
|Jimi Hendrix||The Wind Cries Mary||12/16/2014|
|The Jimi Hendrix Experience||Purple Haze (Live)||12/16/2014 *|
|Jimmy Eat World||The Middle||N/A|
|Joe Satriani||Satch Boogie||10/22/2013|
|KoRn||Freak on a Leash||N/A|
|Lacuna Coil||Our Truth||N/A|
|Lenny Kravitz||Are You Gonna Go My Way||10/18/2011|
|Linkin Park||What I’ve Done||01/06/2015|
|The Living End||Prisoner of Society||N/A|
|Los Lobos||La Bamba||N/A|
|Lostprophets||Rooftops (A Liberation Broadcast)||N/A|
|Lynyrd Skynyrd||Sweet Home Alabama (Live)||10/18/2011 *|
|The Mars Volta||L’Via L’Viaquez||N/A|
|MC5’s Wayne Kramer||Kick Out the Jams **||N/A|
|Metallica||Trapped Under Ice||N/A|
|Michael Jackson||Beat It||N/A|
|Modest Mouse||Float On||10/16/2013|
|Negramaro||Nuvole e lenzuola||N/A|
|Nirvana||About a Girl (Unplugged)||N/A|
|Oasis||Some Might Say||01/14/2014|
|Ozzy Osbourne||Crazy Train||N/A|
|Ozzy Osbourne||Mr. Crowley||N/A|
|R.E.M.||The One I Love||02/04/2014|
|Radio Futura||Escuela de Calor||N/A|
|Rise Against||Re-Education (Through Labor)||05/03/2016|
|The Sex Pistols||Pretty Vacant **||N/A|
|Silversun Pickups||Lazy Eye||N/A|
|The Smashing Pumpkins||Today||10/29/2013|
|Steely Dan||Do It Again||N/A|
|Steve Miller Band||The Joker||N/A|
|Sting||Demolition Man (Live)||N/A|
|The Stone Roses||Love Spreads||08/25/2015|
|Stuck in the Sound||Toy Boy||N/A|
|Survivor||Eye of the Tiger||04/30/2013|
|System of a Down||B.Y.O.B.||01/28/2014|
|Van Halen||Hot for Teacher||N/A|
|Willie Nelson||On the Road Again (Live)||06/30/2015 *|
|Wings||Band on the Run||N/A|
|30 Seconds to Mars||The Kill||01/12/2016|
* Indicates the studio version of the track in Rocksmith.
** Indicates a re-recorded version of the track.
With the massive setlist available, it was pretty difficult nailing down 10, but I think I’ve got a list most would agree with:
Ramblin’ Man – The Allman Brothers Band
Featuring dual harmonized lead guitars and an absolutely kickin’ bassline, Ramblin’ Man would certainly be a welcome addition, especially since it’s been a fair while since we’ve seen anything from the Allman Brothers on Rocksmith.
Kick out the Jams – MC5
A psychedelic rock classic, frequently covered and constantly revered, featuring an absolutely hypnotic bassline and melodic guitar solo, this would surely be a favorite among blues and jam band fans if this ever winds up in Rocksmith.
The Police – Demolition Man
To be fair, World Tour includes a live version from Sting’s solo career, but the original version by the Police would be even more welcome: Andy Summers is one uniquely underrated guitarist, and his subtle use of soloing throughout the song and his jazzy chords would provide a welcome challenge for any guitarist. Sting’s bass playing also shines in this song, with a tasty bass-driven riff.
Michael Jackson – Beat It
Can we lament at how this is the only Micheal Jackson song to show up in any guitar-based rhythm game ever? Not only did no Michael Jackson DLC show up afterward, this song isn’t even exportable into future Guitar Hero games. It could be that Activision just had the gigantic money stacks at the time to afford his licensing, it could be that his licensing costs have skyrocketed after his unfortunate death half a year after the release of World Tour, it could be a combination of a number of other complicated factors too numerous to go into now. Considering his presence in that one slightly embarrassing Kinect dancing game, let’s hope he shows up in Rocksmith sooner rather than later, as many of his songs contain some absolutely delectable guitar and bass tracks.
Paul McCartney and Wings – Band on the Run
As opposed to Michael Jackson, here’s an example of a super-popular artist on World Tour that not only had DLC that followed, his track even exported: since we likely won’t see any Beatles DLC any time soon, McCartney’s skillful basslines and great band instrumentation will certainly be a welcome addition to Rocksmith.
Do It Again – Steely Dan
I’ve gone on about the lack of Jazz in Rocksmith in Oscar’s Rock Band 2 article (I wrote the section about Steely Dan and Bodhisattva), so I won’t go too into detail here. I consider myself a reasonably enthusiastic fan of Jazz music in general (I like me some good jazz, don’t judge), and Steely Dan is one of my favorite music artists of all time; anything from Can’t Buy a Thrill, The Royal Scam, Aja, Gaucho, Katy Lied, or any of their other fantastically well-produced and jazzy albums would be great for any guitarist looking to expand their harmonic sensibilities and chord vocabulary.
About a Girl (Unplugged) – Nirvana
Other than the Rolling Stones and Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nirvana is definitely one of the most popular on-disc Rocksmith artists that has yet to receive any DLC whatsoever. Either the live or the album version of About a Girl would be great for any beginning guitarist or even just to have a simple song to zone out to every once in a while.
Assassin – Muse
Moar Muse plz.
Too Much Too Young Too Fast – Airbourne
Hard to believe this song is from 2007, right? The vocals, guitars, and overall feel of the song have the late-1970’s/early-1980’s written all over it. As well as being the closest to AC/DC Rocksmith could ever reasonably get, the absolutely infectious riff and challenging solo would be extremely popular among the Rocksmith fanbase.
Overkill – Motörhead
Another classic speed metal tune from one of the gods of heavy metal himself; may Lemmy rest in peace.
There’s our picks, what songs would you like to see from Guitar Hero World Tour end up in Rocksmith 2014? Let us know!