Let's face it. Guitar Hero is one of the biggest and best franchises out there. Everybody knows what Guitar Hero is and how great it is. Not only does it have a lot of replay value, but it introduces kids and (some) adults to music not only from our generation, but also older ones. I would've personally never liked Metallica if it weren't for Guitar Hero, and now I have a lot of their albums. For about a year I've been patiently waiting for Guitar Hero: On Tour to come out; I've been wondering how in the world the ever-successful Guitar Hero series could be transfered onto the DS,the most successful handheld system to date. Well, in my review, I will cover the pros and cons to having it on the Nintendo DS.
Controls/Gameplay: Well, out of the previous models of the button configuration, this one is the best model, the four buttoned frets, but it still faces an extreme battle with the public and video game critics alike. People are used to the Gibson Guitar w/ the five buttons, strummer, and whammy bar, and just can't imagine how it could possibly be played out on the DS. Well, besides the hand cramps I got for the first week or so, I thought it worked well, even though as an expert player on Guitar Hero, I didn't find it challenging (I beat it in 1hr 57min.), but the button configuration still worked well. People are complaining about there being no fifth button, but they are also complaining about how small the buttons are, so why would they want an extra button? The buttons are small enough (especially for my hand), but it was something I had to get over and master. So for people complaining about the button size, deal with it. I can understand complaints about hand cramps, though. The strumming is my major issue. On some songs on Guitar Hero, you are required to strum up and down to hit the fast consecutive notes. Well, the same thing applies here, except that you have to strum to the left and right fast to hit some notes. When you do that in this game, there is a strong chance, no matter how good you are, that the game will count that you hit two notes, or no notes at all, when you are required to strum to the left and right, which results in losing your precious 4x combo. When you strum regularly, you can hit the notes pretty well, which is I guess the preferred way to strum. There is the Campaign mode, where you make a band name, choose your avatar, choose their guitar, and rock on easy, medium, hard, and expert. There is a tutorial mode, which shows you how to play, and a practice mode where you can practice the songs to master them, but there is a hitch. On previous Guitar Hero games, you can slow down the speed of the song in practice mode to get better at specific rhythms. On this version, however, you can't change the speed of the song to work out the rhythms, so you end up playing the section of the song over and over until your hand starts bleeding from the cramp, and you still haven't mastered it yet, and that is my second problem with the game. There is a store where you can buy about 9 different guitars (the Vanguard is the best) that are actually real guitars, but it would've been nice to see some cool fake guitars in there too. You can also buy different colors for your guitar and different clothes for the avatar. A great add-in to the game is the Guitar Duels section where you play all of the songs as you would in Campaign, but you're facing a virtual computer character/ scoreboard. You can't see the computer's screen, but that doesn't bother me too much for a couple of reasons. On Guitar Hero III, the only times the computer could miss notes was when you activated an attack against him, which made fighting Lou on expert an epic *****. Well, on the DS, the computer will miss some notes, not enough to make them lose, but just enough so that you have a fair advantage against them. Another thing I like about it is the attacks themselves. The attacks vary from reattaching the string on your guitar with the stylus/pick (I forgot to mention that the pick is great), to blowing out a fire on your guitar, to signing autographs, and much, much more. A lot of uniqueness was put into the attacks, and I thank Vicarious Visions for that, amongst other aspects of the game. To activate the attack, you need to stop playing for a second to tap the power-up on the touch screen, which is nice because it shows that if you want to do an effective attack, you may need to lose some of your score, which is a fair trade.
Songs: Yes, there is a short number of songs in the game, but it's a DS with a little cartridge, not a PSP with a CD, so deal with it. There is 26 songs to be exact. For people saying there are 25, they obviously didn't beat the game on expert on guitar duels to unlock, "I'm Not Your Gameboy," by: Freezepop, in Quickplay, Training, and Duels, which is in its own way, challenging. The songs that were exclusively for the DS were great (I liked 'em all except for Allstar by: Smashmouth). The only songs I didn't enjoy as much were the ones they brought back from Guitar Hero III, but I dealt with it and played the songs. The wide variety of songs they had were amazing, and I felt like I have played an actual full-fledged Guitar Hero game, instead of just 26 songs. The songs weren't that difficult, but I had very much fun playing them on my new DS lite (I got the GH: On Tour/ DS lite bundle; my regular DS was becoming ****) and still have fun 3 or so weeks later.
Graphics: I haven't seen such great graphics on the DS since Super Mario DS and Mario Kart DS came out for it. The guitar animations on the touch screen weren't excellent, but it got the point across. The character 3D models looked great, enough to say, "That's Axel Steel and Judy Nails!" The fretboard wasn't amazing, but it was enough to hit the notes right. There were five stages, the Subway, Rooftop, Parade, Greek Arena, and Battleship, and each stage had good graphics and animations. Again, this is a DS, not a PSP.
I gave this game a B because it deserved it. With an excellent song choice, decent controls, graphics, Guitar Duels, and the challenge Vicarious Visions took, it doesn't deserve less than this grade. (P.S. for some reason, my computer doesn't comprehend the whole paragraph thing, so I'm sorry for any inconvenience this causes) :)