After 5 years of gathering dust, Activision has finally taken their guitar controllers off of the shelves for another tour with Guitar Hero Live. This new incarnation of the Guitar Hero franchise brings a much more realistic feeling to the gameplay, and though you still aren’t learning how to play an actual guitar, it does an outstanding job giving players the idea that they’re playing at an actual concert.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This PS4 copy of Guitar Hero Live was provided by Activision. Guitar Hero Live is an 2015 music rhythm game, it is developed by Freestyle Games, and published by Activision. It is currently available on Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U, and mobile devices.
While some might not appreciate the loss of fantasy with the latest Guitar Hero entry, you have to admire how far Activision was willing to go to actually make it feel like you were on stage. The 3D video crowd has been replaced with a live-action crowd of booing or cheering fans depending on how well you do throughout a single set of songs or song for quick play, and the sound effects mimic that of an actual guitar when you do well or screw up.
THE GOOD: If you want to feel like you’re in an arcadey music video, then Guitar Hero Live is your game. The new live-action crowd reacts to how good or how poorly you play on the guitar controller, and it’s fun seeing the different reactions as you mix between good and bad results during a single song. Career Mode has you playing as the lead guitarist of multiple cover bands who play at different festivals aimed at different genres of music, the real fun however is GTTV. This mode has you playing what’s essentially an interactive music video with a score meter. It does an extremely well job of introducing players to new music as new songs and artist are introduced frequently, improving the list from what was shipped with the game. And for rookie players, the new guitar is definitely easier to get the hang of, though I can understand some animosity from seasoned Guitar Hero players, as you’ll get the hang of things in an hour or so depending on the difficulty you work with.
THE BAD: While not really effecting gameplay in anyway, I thought it was odd that the guitar couldn’t be (officially) taken apart once assembled. It would make it hard for people looking to back up the game while going on vacation. I supposed a real guitar case would work, but it’d look silly. I also didn’t like how certain buttons were locked to certain modes. I get that it was for difficulty purposes, but again this felt silly due to the fact that the in-game tutorial teaches you how to use pretty much every button barring the whammy bar
OVERALL THOUGHTS: Despite some strange gameplay choices, Guitar Hero Live is a fun music game with a lot done right. Personally, I think it’d appeal more to newcomers than seasoned vets, but that’s somewhat the point of a reboot. The guitar controller is much easier to get the hang of this time around, and the music video gameplay is cool to see. GTTV steals the show if we’re talking overall presentation.