How well does Guitar Hero World Tour work as a music studio?

We pit the game against real instruments to find out

Does the Studio mode mean you can spend £180 on Guitar Hero World Tour and save yourself a grand on the real thing? We've done a little test to find out by recording the intro to a well known Nirvana song.

First we used the real-time record function to play the song on Guitar Hero World Tour (PS3 version).

And then we played it in exactly the same way on a real electric drum kit, before adding real electric guitar and bass – with no extra fiddling (and in less than an hour, start to finish), to keep it fair. This was recorded with a digital multitrack recorder, not the game.

The Guitar Hero version is definitely recognisable, so yes, the studio works. However, there were a few issues. We experienced a slight delay between hitting the drums and hearing it in the speakers and also seeing them appear in the timeline. Then, when we came to play the guitar part, there seemed to be a slight lag too, so we had to play slightly ahead of the track to make it go in time (which you can hear in the recording). Of course, if you use the click track, the game will correct this for you to a degree of your choice so it's fine for the purpose it was created.

In fact, as a cheap midi sequencer, it's got a decent toolset. You can copy and paste entire sections, nudge notes around in the timeline, place notes manually and even alter the pitch of each icon so that you can have more notes in the song than there are fret combinations on the guitar. In fact, you can even determine how hard you'd hit the drums just by tilting the guitar – very snazzy.

However, in terms of recording like you would with real instruments, it is lacking – especially with its 1,200 note and 3-minute limit. No Bohemian Rhapsody-like creations here.

So is it worth buying for the studio mode? On a gaming level, yes. It works brilliantly for its intended use – to create music and patterns to share with your friends. With time, patience and even modest musical knowledge, you should be able to make something that's a fair representation of your chosen piece of music.

However, if you do play real guitar and are considering buying the drum set as a cheap alternative to a real electric kit for recording with your own real instruments, you should probably look elsewhere.

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The longest-serving GR+ staffer, I was here when all this was just fields. I'm currently Reviews Editor but still find time to speedrun Sonic levels and make daft Photoshop articles.
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