As a big player and fan of the Guitar Hero games and Rock Band, I bought Guitar Hero: On Tour a few nights ago on Amazon. I was looking forward to its arrival as the reviews of it seemed to give it a fair amount of praise and since im fond of the series, why not? Well, I’ll tell you exactly why by the end of this review.
I was like an excited 5 year old child this morning when it arrived and couldn’t wait to have a go on it. Unfortunately I had a bit of a social life today and had to wait until I got in until I could tune it up and let rip. First thing I noticed when I got it out of the box is that the buttons are pretty small. For an 18 year old, these buttons are way too small to stay comfortable for more than 20minutes. However, the build was very sturdy and there’s even a nice little section to hold your stylus-plectrum when you’re not playing so you won’t lose it.
Now, being used to the high button mashing and concentration required on expert on GH2 and 3, I thought i’d cake walk this game on expert withtout too much trouble. I strapped my hand ready and had my plectrum in the other. I fired up All The Small Things on Expert and after 18% I failed. Now, if the same button combos were coming down on the proper GH2/3 versions, I would have aced this song, but the problem for me wasnt the difficulty of the song, but the difficulty of the strumming. Although the strumming is meant to be more realistic as you are using a plectrum, it feels really false. It’s hard to tell whether you are strumming in the hit box for the strum and it’s actually quite difficult to strum fast without hitting your DS screen with a fair amount of force.
I then pushed the difficulty down to Hard and an hour or two later, I had worked my way through the entire track list bar the unlockable track. Now, for just 2 hours of playing, i’ve managed to get through all the content. Sure there are extras such as multiplayer (only offline) and a Guitar Duel mode which to be honest, is just a way to get you to play through all the songs again just to unlock a Freezepop song. So if you include another 2 hours of single player game time to the total, that’s still only 4 hours of game. Also, what you get in those 4 hours isn’t what I’d call fun. I spent most of the time wrestling with the strumming and at one point even managed a 158 note streak, well over tripling anything else I managed whilst playing this game.
The track list also doesn’t really redeem this game. Coming from GH2 and 3, I had already played most of the tracks as they were just rehashed versions. Sure they are great songs that I enjoy, but I bought this game for a few new tracks rather than tracks that I had already played but had now been butchered to cater for 4 buttons. The music ability of the DS also compromises this game as the tracks sound rather tinny and horrible. There’s nothing worse than listening to Maroon 5 on your tinny DS whilst wrestling with it to even hear the song.
To be completely honest, I felt that I paid £30 rather badly. It seems like £20 of it was for the rather well made button peripheral and the rest was for a game that only played for a quarter of what i’d expect a DS game to supply me with of game time. Sure I can see this being enjoyable if you have yet to venture into the Guitar Hero franchise. This game to me feels like a cheapening of a great idea. It feels as if they want kids to get this off their own back, get hooked, and then want the real mccoy. If you haven’t touched any of the GH games and don’t want to spend £70 but like the idea, then this might be for you as I’m sure you’ll get more game time out of from getting better and playing through all the different difficulties. But if you have played the GH games before and consider yourself to be pretty good (finished Hard/Expert) then don’t waste your money. You’d be better off spending your money on Pokemon or something as it’s cheaper and is actually enjoyable.
Also, Pokemon Diamond/Pearl are the nuts!