But I can’t.
Guitar Hero: World Tour may indeed be old and busted on consoles, but it is by far the best version of the series on the PC! There have been three Guitar Hero computer releases to date:
- Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock PC / Mac
- Guitar Hero Aerosmith PC / Mac
- Guitar Hero World Tour PC / Mac
Unfortunately, GH3 and GH:A were all but unplayable on the PC due to terrible, embarrassing performance. Even on a high end gaming rig, these games had extreme video and audio lag, which made getting a decent score or enjoying the game pretty much impossible. I owned both, and believe me, I tried everything — turning all the detail to minimum, resolution to the lowest possible setting, and exiting all background tasks before starting the game. Nothing worked! Barely playable. From everything I could tell, it was a fundamental problem with the way the games were ported from console PC. That’s … kind of a crippling flaw.
So when I booted up the PC version of Guitar Hero: World Tour I steeled myself for even more disappointment. Imagine my surprise when this game plays every bit as well as the Xbox 360 version! It’s almost indistinguishable, well, except for the near-instantaneous load times that only a PC can offer. :)
I tested the game extensively on guitar, playing through the entire campaign as a solo guitarist. I even trotted out my drums and handy-dandy Mad Catz M.I.C. for vocals.
The feel was so accurate and solid on vox, drums, and guitar that most of the time I forgot which version I was playing! That’s definitely a first for any PC version of Guitar Hero.
By the way, I highly recommend the Xbox 360 Wireless Gaming Receiver — it lets me use all my wireless Xbox peripherals on my PC, no problem! (It should also work with the Mac since it’s basic USB.) I used this nifty little device to test the game with a variety of guitars and the World Tour wireless drums.
No drivers required, just plug and play. Press the sync button on both devices and as they say, “it just works”.
One small problem I ran into with vocals: the game didn’t want to recognize any of my microphones. After some research, I found that the PC version of Guitar Hero: World Tour is hard-coded to look for a “Logitech USB Microphone” — literally. You’d expect it to accept whatever sound recording devices you have on your PC, but no. To get around that, I simply renamed my Mad Catz M.I.C. to “Logitech USB Microphone” in the sound device, recording tab, properties dialog, as pictured:
Goofy, but it works. Once I did that, I re-launched the game and I was able to start a vocalist career without the dreaded “please connect a microphone” alert.
I realize that any PC / Mac version of Guitar Hero is something of an oddity at best. It’s still fun and convenient for a quick jam session, though:
- I’m always in front of my PC
- the PC version of the game loads in no time at all
- with a no-cd patch, it loads even faster
- I have so many fake plastic guitars now, I just keep an extra one by my desk
… the PC version of the game ends up being the fastest possible way to jump in and practice a song when I have a few extra minutes. Or if you’re travelling with your laptop, in a pinch, you could even play a few songs with the keyboard. Heck, just because you can. Why not? Fake plastic rock knows no boundaries!
Being a PC release, there’s also the possibility of user-created mods: hacked songs, now with a full band, and actually playable this time around. The GHWT PC mod scene is still fairly new, but I expect in time you’ll be able to, uh, “import” every song from every Guitar Hero game ever made into this version.
Anyway, World Tour is the first respectable version of any Guitar Hero on the PC to date. Kudos to Aspyr for finally getting this right, and here’s hoping that the much better Guitar Hero 5 will eventually be ported to PC as well.