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Guitar Hero On Tour: A Way to Pick Up Chicks?

August 12, 2008 | | 3 Comments Share thison Facebook Guitar Hero On Tour: A Way to Pick Up Chicks?on Twitter

Aren’t these promotional photos amazing? We all know that women love a hardcore rocker. Anyway…

Guitar Hero has been around for nearly three years. It feels like it’s been so much longer, as the series has become a mainstay of the gaming world for what feels like an eternity. I’ll admit that the GH formula has started to lose some of its appeal, and I thought perhaps the peripheral-based rhythm game fad was dying down.

Just when I was getting tired of it all, developer Vicarious Visions was able to breathe new life into the franchise with Guitar Hero: On Tour. What’s so different? Well, the game emphasizes picking rather than finger placement, which I think is a clever variation on the old gameplay. With a slew of new rhythm games slated for release within the next year, including a new Guitar Hero on the DS, it looks like rock ‘n’ roll rhythm isn’t dead quite yet!

Is Guitar Hero: On Tour worth your time and money? Read our impressions that mainly focus on the headphones that were a pre-order bonus rather than the actual game after the jump.

I think most people are familiar with the console Guitar Hero titles. Move your fingers over the colored buttons and strum in time with the notes on the screen. Guitar Hero: On Tour isn’t much different in that respect, as notes make their way down the left screen while players move their fingers over the four frets in this version as opposed to the console’s five (the DS is held on its side, creating a left and right screen). The big change is that players now move the conveniently included pick stylus across the guitar strings pictured on the right screen in time with the notes on the left. It may sound like the same thing in text, but trust me when I say the experience is something entirely different.

Players progress through 25 songs that span a variety of genres. I was actually enjoying the song selection until the last two sets. It seems that the developers are always inclined to include classic guitar tunes from the age of yore in an attempt to appeal to an older audience. I just found it annoying and wished for more music that was relevant to me. Some of my favorite tracks featured were “This Love” by Maroon 5, “Spiderwebs” by No Doubt, and “Helicopter” by Bloc Party. It’s actually awesome that most of the tracks in the game are master recordings. Even more, the cover bands are actually credited by name, which is a cool way to give the cover bands some exposure.

Players can do all the mundane things they could do in other GH titles like buy guitars and outfits and such, but I never really bothered with much of that. I see the game’s career mode as a means to unlock the music to enjoy in the quick play mode. There’s actually an awesome multiplayer mode that was highly publicized before the game’s release, requiring players to complete mid-game minigames, such as putting out stage fires by blowing into the microphone or signing people’s shirts on the touch screen. These were cute additions that I found to be a lot of fun.

Did I mention this game is hard? Like I said, the GH: On Tour experience is completely different from the guitar-based console versions, and I found myself struggling. A lot. I was barely able to complete the hard mode, but I had to just forget it when it came to playing on expert. It’s not the fault of the new “Guitar Grip” either. I found this attachment that plugs into the DS’s GBA port to be pure genius, although admittedly my hand did start to cramp up as I tried to plow through the game. Heed the game’s warning and take frequent breaks when you play this game, okay?

On Tour also came with some nifty headphones if you managed to pre-order the title at select retailers. The funny thing is that listening to the game with headphones actually takes away from the experience because you’re able to hear the imperfections of the music being streamed through the DS. For the record, the tracks sound amazing in the open air. My other complaint about the headphones is the dongle that allows the headphones to be lengthened or shortened to an optimal length. Basically, there’s the plug, then three inches of cable, then the dongle that allows the remaining length of cable to be adjusted. Since there are only three inches between the plug and the dongle, it hangs right against your hand when you’re trying to move your fingers across the frets, creating a severe annoyance. Shouldn’t the first three inches of cable be adjustable so that it’s not resting against your hands? Maybe I’m just an idiot (which is entirely possible) for not being able to figure this out, but either way, it’s not very intuitive.

So, what’s the verdict on Guitar Hero: On Tour? It’s a great game on the go for those who are into this type of rhythm game. 25 songs don’t really go a long way for those who want to sit down and dedicate some serious time to the game in a single sitting. The song selection is about half good, so I’m already looking to the next DS GH title that was announced at E3 this year. I’ve seen the game sold for anywhere between $44.99 and $49.99, which is pretty hefty for a DS game, but considering the included Guitar Grip and headphones (if you pre-ordered the game), it’ s a pretty good deal. I thoroughly enjoyed the innovations introduced by On Tour.

What do you think? Are you sick of these rock ‘n’ roll rhythm games yet? Are you looking forward to the upcoming onslaught of rhythm games and peripherals that will undoubtedly require you to purchase a dedicated storage unit to hold them?

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