Guitar Hero: On Tour

Well, I just recently got my own Nintendo DS, and the first game I could call my own was Guitar Hero: On Tour (bought a bundle pack, meaning I have the limited edition Guitar Hero DS). For that reason, this will be the first game I’ll be ranting about for the DS system. I’ll set it up in a “good vs bad” type thing, so that you can get an idea of whether or not to get this game, but first, a little data.

Guitar Hero: On Tour was made for the Nintendo DS, and thus is the first fully portable Guitar Hero game in a series that has had a major cultural impact in the West. Being created to a handheld system meant a few minor, yet distinct changes to the way the game is played, most notably, the lack of a guitar. Instead a so-called “Guitar Grip” was made that fits into the GameBoy Advance game slot and contains four buttons instead of the usual five. Strumming + using the whammy bar is all done using the stylus pen shaped like a guitar pick since attaching a whammy bar to the guitar grip would be… well… unbelievably stupid. To activate Star Power, one would simply make a noise loud enough for the microphone to register (the game suggests yelling “Rock On!”, but “potato salad” is just as effective) or pressing any of the face buttons. The game contains two different soundtracks, depending on where it is purchased. Both contain 25 songs plus one unlockable one, and the only difference is that five of the songs are traded out and that the songs are in a different order. For a list, see here. And now for the actual reviewing.

The Good

•It’s portable – Yes, this is indeed the first portable version of Guitar Hero, meaning you can now rock out wherever, and not just your room! This is beyond a doubt the biggest plus of the game.

•It’s easier – If you’re already a Guitar Hero expert, this doesn’t apply to you. But to Guitar Hero retards, such as myself, who don’t own any other GH game or play it on a daily basis, having only four buttons (i.e. no need to move the hand to reach the fifth button and fuck up completely because you lost you grip and no longer know where the bloody buttons are because you aren’t used to playing) is a God-send.

The Bad

•Strum sensitivity – From time to time, the game won’t react to the strumming until you either lift the pick from the screen or release all buttons. On Easy and Medium, this is no real biggie, on Hard, it’s annoying as Hell, and on Expert, it can be friggin’ devastating. They say that all the bugs were sorted out during testing, but they lie…

•Track list – The track list is extremely short, relative to all the other Guitar Hero games, and it seems they tried to “hit home” with as many people as possible, so the songs are extremely varied. This sounds as a good thing, but it really isn’t, since it means that out of 25 songs, you’ll only want to play 3-5 because you’ll hate the rest (and given one’s taste in music these 3-5 will differ greatly). Worst part is, you can’t buy additional songs for it, so you’re stuck with what you get. On a side note, I’ve heard people complain about that the songs were directed towards the younger audience because many of the songs are of “recent times”, which is the biggest load of BS this side of game reviewing. While it is true that eight or nine are from after the big 2-triple-0, a solid 13 of them are older than I am, and I ain’t no spring chicken no moar…

•Guitar Grip – Don’t get me wrong here, being a Guitard (“Guitar retard“, you heard it here first, folks!) at Guitar Hero, I love the fact that it only has four buttons. Thing is, you can’t hold the fucker properly. Find a proper way to play without it sliding out of the slot, which stops gameplay and gives you no other choice but to reset (cause no, just pushing the damn thing in and having the song continue would be too friggin’ easy…). Also, whenever you press the buttons, you are slowly but surely pushing it further away from your fingers, no matter how tightly you’ve fastened the strap, making it harder to play the last few notes of any song. The only way I’ve found to prevent this from happening is by having the part of the DS that faces down when you play rest on something, e.g. your thigh, but this makes holding the DS for long periods of time very uncomfortable.

•Guitar Duels mode – I’ve only played this against the computer, mind you, but in my opinion, it’s pathetic. It is essentially a VS mode but with powers/weapons instead of Star Power, except that all the weapons save two (Pyro-whatever and the Autograph thing, used just before the opponent can complete or begin playing the “Power Notes” and thus not get a weapon) are pretty useless, as long as you know what the next two-three notes are.


If you’re the kind of person who has tried a Guitar Hero game at a friend’s house, and thought it was actually pretty cool, but never went out and got the game yourself, because it was too expensive and you thought you’d suck at it, Guitar Hero: On Tour is a great start-up game, but that’s pretty much all it is. After having played On Tour for a while, you’ll getter a good understanding of game mechanics and whatnot, but it won’t move you beyond a Medium difficulty on any of the home consoles versions, like e.g. Guitar Hero III.

So Guitar Hero is a great choice if you want to “test the waters” a little bit, before deciding whether or not you have what it takes to go swimming with the big boys (rather than just jumping in by investing big bucks in a console version and find out you won’t be swimming with anyone other than the fishes). It’s also a decent buy if you are are Guitar Hero maniac, who spends a lot of time getting from home to e.g. school, and you want to be able to spend that time rocking the living shiat out of your handheld. All in all, an above mediocre game, but by no means great.

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