Guitar Hero is one of those few games that basically consumed part of my teenage years. I spent so many hours alone and with groups of friends trying to master each song and I had so much fun doing it. GH went away for a while but now it’s returned with overhauled gameplay and new guitar peripheral. Usually these kinds of changes make me a bit weary because there’s always the chance that it could be TOO different.
The guitar feels pretty much like you remember from any past GH game but the biggest change was the six fret buttons that appear in two rows of three on top of one another as opposed to the five buttons that went in a straight line. I will honestly admit that I didn’t particularly like it at first not to mention that I was completely horrible at it as well. There’s a little bit of a learning curve when it comes to being able to move your fingers around between buttons but when you get the hang of it (it really doesn’t take too long) it feels extremely fun. The difficulty level is fully adjustable and you can practice on “Casual” until you get good and then slowly move up to “Regular”, “Advanced” or if you’re brave “Expert”. Don’t think that this game doesn’t put up a challenge though because it definitely does and that’s a great aspect for the hardcore Guitar Hero enthusiast. You can also plug in a USB microphone and have a friend (or yourself if you want to be a one man show) take on vocals in the game. It’s not a 100% necessity to enjoy the it but it definitely does add to the party play aspect.
There are two different ways to play this game: Live and GH TV. The “Live” portion is the usual story mode that we all remember. You go through a venue and play groups of songs to unlock the next venue an so on but this time around instead of looking at an animated band play on a stage you are actually part of the band (in first person view) and you are in front of an actual live crowd which was really cool. This was a nice feature and when you’re doing good then you can see the actual praise from the crowd and your band mates. When your accuracy begins to falter then you also get a reaction as well with the crowd starting to shower you with boos and yelling insults your way. There was even a moment when I saw a girl crying. Yes, crying. That experience was so entertaining and a fantastic step up from the previous games. GH TV was something that I was really curious about when I first heard of it. Essentially it’s a 24 hour a day service that plays songs along with music videos that you can jump in and out of and jam to with ease. I was extremely excited about this because I’ve always been a music video lover and even though you really can’t fully pay attention to it because you’re playing it’s still really cool to have it play in the background. One feature that isn’t available is the ability to purchase new songs for gameplay. Instead, you can earn tokens for “plays” if you wanted to immediately play a certain song in the already available catalog. Now if you wanted to buy tokens instead of earning them you could do that as well in the Store. The Store also has add-ons that you can purchase like different highways or guitar parts and more. There is also an unlockable “Premium” section that looks to be a host to future Live Performances from bands and other special content. There was already a 3 song set from Avenged Sevenfold available that was really killer. I just hope that we get to see more tracks and content being released soon for GH TV.
So all in all I was pleasantly surprised at what Guitar Hero Live brought to the table. It’s generally the same game that we all loved but with awesome bell and whistles. I know what I’ll be playing for the next month or so trying to master it all over again. If you were a fan of the music games from before then you’ll definitely be surprised at the evolution of Guitar Hero. 9/10