Three Guitar Hero games in less than twelve months; that is amazing when you sit back and think about it. What is more amazing than that is the fact that the series continues to sell massive numbers, which is probably why this is the third game to grace the DS since last summer. Guitar Hero On Tour: Modern Hits is the latest rhythm title for Nintendo’s handheld, and unlike the previous chapter Decades, this game has some new features which make it feel more like a sequel as opposed to just another track pack. Personally I have always been a fan of the GH games on DS. The fact that the developers managed to make this plastic-peripheral game work on a handheld still astonishes me. If you are like me then this latest outing will likely not disappoint; that is if you are a fan of the track listing, which is as always, subjective.
The first thing you will want to note is that, just like in previous versions you can still stream tracks between versions. This gives you the ability to have a set list well over 70 songs. This was obviously a conscious decision, and one the console developers should really take note of, I am looking at you World Tour. As I mentioned the songs are always the key component to any rhythm game and Modern Hits contains exactly what the name states. Bands such as AFI, Wolfmother, Coldplay, Fall Out Boy, Evanesence, and Weezer to just name a few. Some of these tracks are certainly offered in other games, and in others as DLC, but none of them on the portable front yet. If you are a fan of modern rock, there is likely something here to tickle your fancy.
The biggest change in Modern Hits is the structuring of the career mode. No longer are you simply blasting through a glorified set list, but instead there are now variations to the traditional formula. For instance you now have headlining acts and fan requests to contend with, both of which spice of the proverbial gameplay. These new mechanics really add to the game by forcing you to perform outside of just completing a song. For instance when you begin a tier you will need to accrue a certain number of fans before progressing. Do well enough and you will get fan requests such as long note streaks and whammy bar sections. Performing these will in turn open up headlining acts. All of this continues to fluctuate while gathering fans and money, and making it into the big time. The career structure feels more finely tuned than any previous GH game, and we hope to see it ported to the console versions
Another thing that feels different this time around is the accuracy. I imagine developers have had time over the years to fine tune their DS experience, and each new game seems to nail it more and more. The Guitar Hero games have always played well enough, but this new chapter feels slightly more refined and responsive. The fret buttons just react better, and the touch screen strumming feels more accurate than before. This could be by design, meaning the devs added in extra padding for hitting the notes, or the fact that they have finally managed to master the system’s touch screen controls. Whatever the case may be, this is easily the best playing version of the game to date.
In addition to being able to stream tracks wirelessly the multiplayer modes from past games make a triumphant return. Nothing new to speak of here, but that is likely due to the fact that they wanted to keep the cross-game functionality intact. You can still jam together in co-op mode or take on your friends in duel. There is very little difference in these modes from the previous games outside of the obvious track listing. Speaking of which, here is the entire set list of songs that will be found in the game.
Visually this is exactly the same as the previous versions. The cartoony graphics are a staple of the series, and they look as good as they probably ever will on the DS. The sound is still impressive, but I still recommend playing the game through a proper set of headphones for maximum rock. The rest of the presentation is fueled by the new venues and fan request animations, but if you have played Guitar Hero On Tour before, don’t be expecting a revolution.
Guitar Hero On Tour: Modern Hits continues the series’ trend of excellent games. While three iterations in less than a year may feel like a bit much, the ability to stream songs across all three go a long way. The new features are certainly welcome, and the track list is solid. If you are a fan of modern music, and want to rock out on your DS, then this game will certainly be worth the money. However, if Guitar Hero on DS simply never did it for you, this new chapter is certainly not going to change your mind.