Tuesday, December 9, 2008
As I reviewed Guitar Hero: World Tour, it became very obvious that the novelty of playing songs on a plastic guitar (or drums) was pretty much dead to me. I loved the first Guitar Hero to death, and thoroughly enjoyed Guitar Hero II. The third installment started making me wonder if I was becoming bored of the formula, despite the fact that it wasn't doing anything radically different. By World Tour I knew it was over. No amount of built-in songs or downloadable Metallica albums was going to get me back on the GH bandwagon. Considering the full-size band experience of World Tour bored me to tears, this new handheld DS incarnation arrived at my door with about as much personal excitement as a dental appointment.
Anyone who played the original GH: On Tour knows that it's impossible to play this thing without looking like a massive tool. If you doubt me, please watch this:
It's the most horribly unrealistic advertisement I've ever had the displeasure of seeing. Nothing even remotely resembling the events in that video have ever occurred throughout the course of human history, I'm certain of it.
If you can get over the intense self-hatred that is sure to wash over you the second you strap on this hideous, virginity-preserving contraption to your hand, you'll find more of what you'd expect from the Guitar Hero franchise. It has a setlist spanning multiple decades, with legends like Queen and Lynyrd Skynyrd sharing cartridge space with the hideous All-American Rejects, Linkin Park, and Fall Out Boy. Nevermind those cemetery vandals, I'm sure the fact that he's sharing a setlist with Pete Wentz is enough to keep Ronnie Van Zant from resting in peace.
If you actually did enjoy the first On Tour, it's safe to assume you'll like Decades as well. The gameplay is virtually identical, and the only substantial addition is the new song sharing option. If you play a duel with someone with the first game, you can access both game's setlists for your little douche-off.
I know I'm being especially harsh on this title, but there's a certain level of ridiculousness in videogame peripherals that shouldn't be crossed. I understand the appeal of Guitar Hero - it's great (at least initially) to have no musical talent but feel like you do. Even extremely gimmicky peripherals like Samba de Amigo's maraca controllers can be a lot of fun. The difference between Guitar Hero and Guitar Hero: On Tour Decades is that one is meant to be played in a living room with friends and some beers, and the other is meant to be played portably. While the DS is fantastic for kids or older gamers that want something to play with on long car rides or at airports, it's completely different when you strap on a "guitar grip" and play with an absurd "pick stylus". If I ever see a kid playing this game at a restaurant or movie theater, I'm immediately calling Child Services.
First Play: 5.0
Replay value: 5.0