The focus of the E3 presentation for upcoming Guitar Hero Live was the newly added gameplay mode called Guitar Hero TV or GHTV. With the new mode players can now in-game tune into 24/7 TV channels around the world that are constantly playing various genres of music videos. As players select a channel they can immediately pick up and play the current song no matter its progress. Players can instantly switch between channels via an included TV guide nob on the new guitar controller.
Each time a player joins a channel they are automatically ranked against other players on the left of the screen in regards to their song score. The game includes a channel guide that previews upcoming music segments to allow for players to catch their favorite songs. The focus of GHTV as described by the developers is the discovery of new music. Songs that players wish to play again can be purchased for real money, which then unlocks infinite replays and playlist support. Alternatively, players can earn what essentially are replay points that allow for listening to a certain song again without having to purchase it entirety.
While my initial impressions during the presentation had me worried about microtransactions, the developers assured me that the game wouldn't contain any sort of paywall. The base purchase of the game includes access to GHTV with all the various channels. Other content that can be unlocked or purchased are premium shows that contain specialized content such as live concert video.
I was able to have some hands-on gameplay time with the new controller that looks far more mature and modern than previous plastic instruments. In addition, the guitar features three new string buttons above the previous three. While the addition of three new string buttons might not seem major at first, it makes for a much more compelling and interactive gameplay experience.
My greatest concern before seeing Guitar Hero Live was if it was too soon for a return of what I referred to as the plastic instrument genre. Fortunately, my concern quickly vanished as I saw the enthusiasm in the FreeStyleGames developers as they showcased the game's new features and core design elements. Not to mention that my playthrough of Paramore's Still Into You song made me instantly want to keep playing for many more hours, a feeling that I long missed from the previous Guitar Hero games. I should also mention that the inclusion of the actual music videos behind the guitar's highway and notes is a fantastic design choice that adds a great deal of character to each song.
Guitar Hero Live easily made my list of biggest surprises at this year's E3 as before the convention I had little to no interest in the genre and game. Well now let's just say that I most likely will be picking up a console just to play the game upon release. Guitar Hero Live will be available on October 20 for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Wii U.