Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Speaking of Guitar Hero

Yesterday, I mentioned that I had played Guitar Hero: On Tour. The full review is up now at thephoenix.com.

In short: The game is disqualified because the peripheral is so uncomfortable. QED.

Guitar Hero: On Tour is sort of impressive to behold on a philosophical level, but in practice it just plain sucks. I could not recommend playing this to anyone. But there are a couple things I didn't get to in the review that are worthy of discussion.

For one thing, the battle mode that was introduced with such a splat in Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock actually fits better on this Nintendo DS version. Since the whole user experience feels less like you're playing a guitar, these sort of extracurricular gameplay features don't feel as grafted on. Plus, you can actually store up attacks, up to three in all, after you've earned them. There's a bit more strategy as a result (though still not much).

Because this is a DS game, of course, you must blow into the microphone. During battle mode, your opponent may set your guitar on fire, and you have to blow it out. Okay. And to activate star power, your options are to shout "Rock out!" (yeah, right), or blow into the microphone.

This... this was a lot harder than I would have thought. It's easy to miss the tiny mic slot when you've got your eyes on the note charts. As a result, as with the console versions of Guitar Hero, I still cannot activate star power without bungling my note streak at least half the time.

(You can also activate star power by hitting the D-pad or the A, B, X, or Y buttons, but this turns out to be nearly impossible. Might have worked if you could hit the shoulder button, but alas, that's the one button you can't use to activate star power.)

I gave it a 4.0, so I was a bit surprised to see that Guitar Hero: On Tour's Metacritic score is a 74. But in video game terms, that's actually not great. By Guitar Hero standards, it's a disaster.


Tycho said...

Yes, I hear you. You reprehensible twittophile.

When I opened my Guitar Hero: On Tour box, I placed my hand through the strap on the back of the peripheral. Immediately, I mean, within a couple Goddamned seconds, I had Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Painful jolts arced through my entire forearm. I brought it around the office to see if it was something congenital, and every other person (utterly uncoached) said "ow" after a few moments of just holding this thing. Yeesh.

Thanks for the Fairway Solitaire recommendation, as well. There's a point about twenty minutes in where you witness the entire cyclopean structure that lurks beneath the silly game you thought you were playing.

Mitch Krpata said...

Tycho, if you haven't already, you may want to reconsider trashing that Fairway Solitaire demo. You didn't even get a taste of all the upgrades available in the pro shop. It's addictive throughout, but since the number of courses is finite, once you've beaten it, its tendrils slacken somewhat. In other words, it's well worth the purchase, because it won't ruin your life.

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing you mean 4.0 out of 10. Yes, the game looked crappy. The XBox 360 game was great. Call me a quitter, but after I found myself in despair of beating Lou in the battle, I gave up on the whole thing and sold the game back.