By Cameron Van der Does
I woke up this morning at about 8 o’clock eager to go and get the new Guitar Hero. Unfortunately the stores don’t open till 9. So I had a shower, played some Pokémon Shuffle, edited the new Red Coin Cherry Popping video and did some price research. I found that Kmart are doing it for $109 so I was ready to price match at EB Games. I drive around the corner because luckily I live right near Garden City shopping centre, I park close to the entrance and head inside. The roller door is still down as its only 8:58 but I am excited and happy to wait the 2 minutes. The doors open, I walk in. “I’m here to pick up my Guitar Hero!”
They look up my card and go to the back to get my game, as the guy is returning I say I would like to price match. I show him Kmart’s website on my phone but it’s the 360 version. “Do you have the Wii U version price, they’re usually different.” They’re not. I look around the site but it is only displaying Xbox 360, Xbox ONE and PS3. Luckily I convinced the guy that new gen consoles are always the same price. I pay the remainder and briskly walk to my car.
I get home and I’m ready to go. I put the disc in and it starts to update. The guitar is in 2 parts, I slot them together. Batteries were conveniently included so I popped them in too. The strap is pretty bad, well, really bad, so I opt to not put that on. I put the tiny dongle into the Wii U and pair the guitar. I’m fiddling with the two rows of buttons and it feels a little off. I’m sure it’ll be good once I get started.
The update is finished and I get started, looks really good so far. You begin the game with real footage and a roadie going through your sound check (or tutorial). You immediately go into a song. Everything looks really cool, the real footage seamlessly works with the highway. But then the second row comes in. The top string is white and the bottom string is black, but it’s kind of hard to tell the difference when they are coming at you with great speed. It was all downhill form here. I was locked into 3 songs, back to back with no explanation. Once I got through these songs I had never heard I finally got to a menu. I had a look around but it was kinda confusing.
I noticed a really cool feature, you can go online to GHTV and play 1000s of songs in different genres. However they change each day and are random. I think it said you could pay for unlimited access, but the service was kind of eh. I tried a few more songs in story mode, trying to find something fun to play. The multiple rows were too difficult, even the regular mode threw you right in the deep end but casual was too easy. I hate this. It isn’t fun. The story mode doesn’t even have a scoring system. You can literally put the controller down and not play and the song will just keep going. I mean you are getting booed by the crowd, but there’s no real incentive to even try.
I decided this isn’t the Guitar Hero I want to play. Maybe if they had kept the original layout, the familiarity of the controller would comfort me and allow me to overlook the many small problems the games HUD has. Oh well, returning it is the only real option here. I start to pack up the game and controller, putting everything back into the bags it came with. But the controller is now stuck together. I guess the old design wasn’t sturdy enough so they decided to make the neck snap into place with a weird lock with a triangular key hole. Key not included. Lucky I have mad MacGyver skills and found a way to get it apart, after much frustration.
I slammed everything back into its box and made the trip, once again to EB Games. They returned it with no fuss, which was the best part of my Guitar Hero experience today. It had the potential to be great, but now I’m left thinking maybe they should have ended at World Tour, or maybe even Guitar Hero 3, yeah, GH3 was awesome. Guitar Hero Live left me with a sour taste in my mouth and the only word that I feel adequately sums up my experience is atrocious. How could they fuck up one of my favourite series so bad? Best just to wait for the new Rockband, but that isn’t coming to Wii U so hopefully you have another new gen console. In short, don’t buy Guitar Hero Live, it’s expensive, not fun and you can easily just get Pokémon Shuffle, a much better game overall, for free!