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Drums


The drums in all their gloryAdjustment will be key for drummers when Guitar Hero World Tour launches this fall. The drum set was overall enjoyed by those who had a chance to play on it, although there is definitely a period of adjustment required to get used to the new layout of the kit. The bass pedal feels sturdy compared to the pedal that came along with Rock Band stock kits. The only disadvantage that we saw with the pedal was the fact that it does not anchor to anything, sometimes causing the pedal to slowly drift away during a song. The pads have a nice bounce to them, and although they are not silent, they provide a deeper thud which is not grating to the ears. The cymbals are fairly sturdy, with a minor amount of flex to them. They give enough rebound to allow fast single handed hi-hat/ride playing. The cymbals are adjustable in height however their position in relation to the pads is fixed. We did have some minor issues with either dropped hits or crosstalk in some of the kits that we played with however a great solution is already in the works to rectify this. Through a software program on your computer, you will be able to adjust the sensitivity settings for the drums, and save them to the firmware built into the drum kit. Various settings like Sensitivity, Threshold, and Cross Talk were available with a range of 1-100, 1 being the most sensitive. You can change the settings for each pad/cymbal/pedal individually. This program will be available for free shortly after game launch from guitarhero.com.

In some charts, the positioning of the cymbals can make playing a bit awkward. One of the most prevalent examples of this would be in "Everlong". For those of you who have not heard the song or seen a video of the chart yet, the verses are a very similar pattern to what we have seen in "Run to the Hills". In the World Tour version of the drum chart, you are required to roll on the yellow cymbal and move down to your left for the snare hits. This can be slightly difficult to maneuver, and is actually the opposite of how this would be played on most drum kits where the snare drum would be to the right of the hi hat. When first starting out, it will take some time to get used to the cymbals representing the 2nd and 4th gems on the screen. First instincts when seeing the chart move over one gem may cause you to move from pad to pad, instead of moving to a cymbal when you are supposed to. This is especially noticeable either during star power activations when all notes are the same color, or in charts that move around the kit a lot, such as "Mountain Song".

The system in place for activating star power will certainly bring a new layer of strategy to the playing field for drummers. Instead of worrying solely about where you can gain the most points, you also need to find places where you are able to hit both cymbals without missing afterwards. In solo play, most of us found the activations becoming more natural after a couple hours of playing, although activating in multiplayer did add some frustration to the mix. Due to star power being shared between all members, it is possible for a band mate to activate right before you and steal the star power before you use it. With the star power meter being difficult to see while playing, it is easy for this to go unnoticed and cause you to over hit and break your combo instead of activating.

The drums in all their gloryChart wise, this game will be great for drummers. There’s a good mix of songs simple enough to get used to the new kit ("Livin’ on a Prayer", "Float On", "Hotel California"), and charts that are tricky in a fun way ("Our Truth", "Satch Boogie", "Santeria"). For those looking to really test their skills, all of the tracks by Tool, "Hot For Teacher" and "Purple Haze" all contain some very technically difficult parts. "Ramblin’ Man" and "Dammit" will leave many drummers exhausted with their constant high tempo cymbal work. If you feel that your leg is up to the task, "B.Y.O.B.", "Trapped Under Ice" and "Scream Aim Fire" all feature some very daunting bass pedal parts.

Overall, we were all very impressed by the solid drum kit and the general consensus was that it felt better than the Rock Band kit, I even liked the stock sticks better. The pad positioning could have been better to help alleviate confusion, but it'll all become second nature after a few hours of extended play.



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