Guitar Hero has always been about two things – being a great party centerpiece and giving the player the feeling of really playing a guitar. Activision’s newest release, Guitar Hero: On Tour, has neither of these qualities. Does the gameplay still hold up?
It’s hard to say. The game certainly looks like Guitar Hero, though. The graphic engine created for the title looks as it should, though two-dimensional menus could have used a bit more polish.
The playlist is a bit limited compared to the console versions. On Tour packs less than 30 songs. Playing alone on the DS, as is often the case, songs become tired a lot faster than in a party situation. What songs are there, though, are solid and appeal to a large audience.
The controls were obviously the focus of the development team, and they almost pulled it off. The Guitar Grip almost feels like the top of the console guitar, and strumming on the touch screen does feel like strumming. Unfortunately, there are a few problems with this setup. Anyone with average-sized hands or larger will be uncomfortable holding the DS at the angle required, and playing more than one song at a time is basically impractical. Also, the Guitar Grip tends to slip out a little when gripping it, which makes players pay attention and keep it in while playing. At least Activision had the foresight to include an adapter to make it compatible with the original DS, but this setup makes for even less comfort.
Having a friend with the title gives it a bit more value. On Tour‘s multiplayer modes are similar to the console version, allowing for cooperative play or battles. The weapons are increasingly gimmicky, but when playing fake guitar on a tiny screen, maybe it shouldn’t be taken so seriously. This definitely doesn’t replace playing at home, but in a pinch it can be entertaining.
All in all, Guitar Hero: On Tour is a passable title, but the inflated $50 price tag makes it just not quite worth it. Once it hits a reasonable $35 or so, it might be worth a purchase.