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Guitar Hero: On Tour Review

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Developer: Vicarious Visions Publisher: Activision
Release Date: June 24, 2008 Also On: None

There have been a number of games that would qualify as a phenomenon. Pac-Man and Tetris were probably the firsts, Pokemon followed in the late 90’s and shortly after the Nintendo DS launched, Nintendogs took America and Japan by storm. What’s in common with at least three of these blockbuster video games that shook the landscape? They all appeared on handheld systems. Until now, the phenomenon that is Guitar Hero has only been accessible from the living room on PS2, PS3, Wii and Xbox 360. Guitar Hero On Tour changes that by allowing gamers to rock out on the road.

Let me start by saying that the whole point of playing a guitar video game in the first place was to mimick playing with the guitar controller that Harmonix came up with in the original game. The lack of a guitar would seemingly be a giant blow to any version of the game, whether it be handheld or console. Could you imagine playing Guitar Hero with your Dual Shock controller or Wii Remote? I didn’t think so. That said, Activision did not go the easy route. Instead, they set out to come out with a peripheral that would make the experience more like what we expect of Guitar Hero.

What they came up with is a remake of the buttons you would find on a Guitar Hero controller, except with four buttons instead of five, making Expert a lot less challenging than it otherwise would be. There is no whammy or strum. You use a pick stylus that comes packaged with On Tour to both strum and whammy using the touch screen.. Moving the pick stylus in a wave pattern on the touch screen acts as the whammy.

While this certainly is no substitute for a guitar controller, Activision could have just as easily sold On Tour without the buttons and just used the face buttons on the Nintendo DS. Since you can’t lift up your DS and get a response, they have you blow in the DS microphone to activate star power. The ingenuity is appreciated, but again, the Guitar Hero experience is defined by the guitar.

The song list is underwhelming to say the least. You get a total of 25 songs. That’s right, 25 measly songs. Many of them are the originals, although a few feature cover bands. Some of the better songs featured in Guitar Hero: On Tour include Do What You Want by OK Go, All the Small Things by Blink 182, Are You Gonna Be My Girl by Jet, Breed by Nirvana and Black Magic Woman by Santana. Unfortunately, there are a number of songs that were in Guitar Hero 3, such as Hit Me with Your Best Shot, Rock and Roll All Night and La Grange, as well as downright odd picks, like All Star by Smash Mouth and This Love by Maroon 5.

Let’s talk game modes. There is both single-player and multi-player in Guitar Hero: On Tour, although there is no online multi-player. That means you have to have a friend that also owns Guitar Hero: On Tour to take advantage of the multi-player aspects of this game. As I don’t, I can’t discuss multi-player. As far as single-player goes, there is a tutorial mode that you will want to check out for starters. From here you will go into a basic career mode that is quite similar to the console experience. Choose between Easy, Medium, Hard and Expert. Each of the five venues have four songs and an encore song for a grand total of the 25 mentioned earlier. You must complete each song to move on to the next venue. Money earned for your performances can be used to purchase guitars, outfits, etc.

Guitar Hero: On Tour is all you would expect from Guitar Hero… without a guitar. This is a great game to play for long road trips, layovers at the airport or a break from school work on campus. It may look odd and feel weird at first, the sound may not be very great (although to be fair that is a hardware problem) and the song list may be limited, but this is still a solid package. If there were online play I would not hesitate recommending Guitar Hero: On Tour. That said, you should still consider buying On Tour if find yourself on the road a lot.

Graphics: 8.5
Sound: 8.5
Gameplay: 8.5
Creativity: 9
Replay Value/Game Length: 6.5
Final: 8.3
Written by Kyle Review Guide