Thursday, November 27, 2008

Guitar Hero On Tour: Decades review

I hope you're ready to pull out those guitar grips and slide them back into your DS because Guitar Hero is back with On Tour: Decades for the Nintendo DS, bringing with it 28 new songs to jam out to.

As the title suggests, the game's venues are broken down into decades, starting with the modern times and moving from the 2000 to the 1970's, making up a total of 5 venues, each housing 5 songs from the era, with those 3 extra songs labeled as “victory songs”, which you unlock as you complete the Career mode. Decades has some really good music this time around, with almost every song being easily recognizable and fun to play. Medium difficulty is rather easy, where I could get 5 stars without too much effort, and almost 100% on every song. The difficulty doesn't ramp up too much between venues, however, there is a huge difficulty leap from Medium to Hard, like there was in the original On Tour, so practice up before making the jump.

For the single-player career mode, there are three options to choose from: guitar, bass/rhythm, and guitar duels, each of which uses their own music sets, so you can't play half the songs with the guitar, and then switch over to the bass. However, finally, you can play a song on say, Hard, and if you complete it, you will also get credit for beating it on both Medium and Easy, which is very useful. For instance, if you start on Hard and beat a few songs, but then hit a wall, you can switch over to Medium and continue where you left off, as opposed to starting all over. Keep note that the opposite is not true. You can't get stuck on a song on Hard, play it on Medium, and then continue on Hard. Anyways, the guitar and bass play the same, except they play a different set of notes, but the guitar duel has you battling another guitarist; whoever has the most points at the end wins. Like On Tour and other Guitar Hero games, the duels feature weapons and items you can use if you complete a specific rift, like for Star Power, and then you can choose to use that weapon by tapping its icon on the touch screen. These attacks are the exact same as the ones in On Tour, so don't except any changes here; you have the fire, cut string, shield, up difficulty, autographing, and things of that nature, all of which are countered via the touch screen or microphone and are fun to play around with.

You have the same 5 or so characters to choose from, but you have a few more costumes and outfits to put them in. This time, their outfits are themed with the different decades in the game, so each character has a variety of outfits that they can wear, and many of them greatly change their appearance, due to the era in which the clothes and styles are set, so it's fun to experiment with those and find some you really like, Axel Steel's disco gear or Judy Nails' hippie getup. There is also some good “customization” with the guitars, where there are a decent number of different guitars, and then many have alternate colors and styles, making for a good variety and some pretty cool instruments.

Overall, Guitar Hero On Tour: Decades is another good music game for the DS. There aren't any major changes, or any changes really from the first On Tour title, but there is of course all-new music to enjoy. The game features 3 modes to play in, as well as multiplayer, where you can play with the On Tour music as well if another player has that cart, so there is plenty to do, although you can play through all 25 songs in a few hours. It would be nice to see the next game have more songs, but the gameplay is still rock solid and it's the perfect portable Guitar Hero experience.

Overall Score: 8.9/10

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