It's hard to believe that it has only been twelve months since Activision first introduced the world to Guitar Hero: On Tour. At the time of its release I was skeptical; disappointed by the crummy selections of songs and in pain from the way the weird fret board controller cramped my hand. Six months later I had almost exactly the same thoughts about Decades. While I was impressed that the game allowed me to stream songs between Nintendo DS units, I couldn't get over the fact that the control cramped my hand.
Here we are one year later and Activision is back with their third stab at a music game on Nintendo's portable. The game does add a few new ideas to the mix and allows for an even larger library of songs to stream from DS to DS. But try as I might, there's just no getting around the awful fact that this series is torture for my hands. And even if it wasn't murder on my left hand, it still wouldn't feel like you were actually playing a real instrument. I'm afraid that I'm never going to be able to recommend a Guitar Hero: On Tour game until Activision changes the fundamental way you play the game. And frankly, I don't see that happening any time soon.
So here we have the awkwardly named, Guitar Hero: On Tour - Modern Hits. What is a "Modern Hit," you may ask? Apparently it's a song that has been released in the last five or six years from a band that may or may not have had a big hit that I recognize. In other words, you get songs from Foo Fighters ("All My Life"), Modest Mouse ("Dashboard"), Wolfmother ("Dimension"), Weezer ("Everybody Gets Dangerous"), Franz Ferdinand ("Falling Down"), The Offspring ("Half-Truism"), AFI ("Miss Murder"), The Strokes ("Reptilia"), Sum 41 ("Still Waiting"), Fall Out Boy ("This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race"), Coldplay ("Violet Hill") and more. There are 28 bands total, many returning from other Guitar Hero games.
Because the game was going for more of a modern sound, this put me at an immediate disadvantage. While I consider myself well-versed when it comes to music, my expertise is not in four year old emo. Thankfully there were more than a few songs I recognized, but much of the soundtrack just came off like a list of songs MTV would play if they were still playing music. If you're a fan of this music and already like the Guitar Hero: On Tour series, then stop reading right now, because this game is for you.
However, I'm not a fan, so I have a few things to complain about. For starters, I'm not a big fan of the brand new way you advance through the campaign mode. At first it looks and feels like your typical Guitar Hero: On Tour game. That is, you can choose from a small selection of songs and try to get the highest score you can. But then you realize that you have to earn a certain amount of fans before you can move on to the next group of songs. The problem is that you probably won't earn enough fans simply playing through the songs once, so you will need to go back and play some of them again.
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