WHY I WON’T PLAY THE WONDERFUL GUITAR HERO LIVE AGAIN

Despite it being a great game

On our fifth episode of our VERSUS PLAYER podcast, Jase spoke about how much he enjoyed Guitar Hero Live. I had never played the game, despite still keeping my Xbox 360 around to occasionally have a go of Rock Band (I have not felt the need to update to the current generation version).

On the podcast, Jase spoke about the interesting Guitar Hero TV (GHTV) mode and later we discussed the accessibility of the guitar, with its six key structure of two rows of three keys.

It was this new guitar that held the most interest, although being able to rock out while watching music clips in GHTV sounded very appealing too.

So I borrowed the game, spent a fun few hours with it, and I’ll never play it again.

Guitar Hero Live
Gone are the cartoony characters

Guitar Hero Live hits all the right notes

Guitar Hero Live is an incredibly well made game. There is so much to enjoy here, from the well constructed guitar, the solid track list, the unique presentation of the career mode and GHTV.

The tutorial is very user-friendly and the game makes it simple to identify between those keys in the top row and bottom row. Throughout play, there are also chords that require both the top and bottom row keys to be pressed at the same time and bars that indicate that no keys are to be pressed on a strum.

This is all quite easy to comprehend and simple to play on the default difficulty level, particularly for any players familiar with the older plastic guitar games.

Guitar Hero Live
Not the Guitar Hero you used to know

I’ve played a lot of Rock Band and Guitar Hero in my time. Many a Rock Band party has been held where friends who are players themselves jammed alongside newcomers alike. I still like to play on expert, although I don’t get anywhere near my old scores as my muscle memory for the controllers is not what it once was.

It took a long time and a lot of fails to get through expert mode in the previous games. Finishing Guitar Hero 3 on expert and then getting through about 5% of The Fire and the Flames is still one of my proudest gaming achievements.

Where things became undone

After playing through the tutorial and first song of Guitar Hero Live, I bumped up the difficulty to hard and jumped into GHTV. Here the notes still weren’t coming up on each “guitar strum” (I’m sure there is a more technical word here, but I’m only a plastic guitar musician), so I actually found this difficulty frustrating as I didn’t feel like I was “making” the music.

So I went up to expert . When it was one note at a time it was all good, but then it became apparent I was out of my league. On hard, I was hitting the two notes at once on the same column chords, but here on expert notes were being crossed over.

Any hard or expert players on the older, 5 key guitar games would know that sliding between the keys and hitting multiple notes at once was where the difficulty lay. In Guitar Hero Live, I found crossing your fingers over and hitting two notes at once on two different rows a whole different ball game.

As I tried time and again to hit a top and bottom row key at the same time, my fingers just wouldn’t move comfortably. As I do the motion again right now my fingers struggle to move in that way.

Clip taken from GuitarHeroStyles

My recommendation

It was super fun on expert when there were just single notes to strum along to, but the cross over double notes just were too much. The big shame I found was that the illusion that it was me actually making the music just wasn’t there on the difficulty levels below expert.

The difference at the higher levels is huge and will take an investment of time before approaching any sort of level of mastery. Before getting there, the fun for those who are used to rocking along with the music may find the game a little lacking.

I would wholeheartedly recommend this game to people new to the plastic guitar music genre. Also, as a party game, GHTV is accessible and is a fun way to have music going on in the background at a hangout with a group of friends.

So, if you are more of a veteran of the older 5 key style games and still go back to them (or have upgraded to the new Rock Band), I’d try and have a go of Guitar Hero Live before committing to a purchase.

Guitar Hero Live
The easier part of expert

The problem I have with Guitar Hero Live is that I am to stuck into the old style of games. Did you enjoy it? Have you found a game to be amazing in pretty much every way, but there is something that just doesn’t click for you? Let us know in the comments below or by contacting us at podcast@versusplayer.com.

Happy gaming and rock on, no matter which plastic guitar you play!

Joe

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When not playing with the kids or pottering in the garden, Joe is jumping between console and PC gaming, watching anime or sci-fi, reading comics or seeking out a new addition for his R2 collection.

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