Guitar Hero is back with an all new look and an all new learning curve. The game series has not seen a new installment since September 2010 and hopes to reinvent itself with Guitar Hero Live. The basics of the game remain the same – hitting buttons on a plastic guitar that correspond with the note highway on screen. That’s about where the similarities end, though
The new controller is a design all its own, forgoing the traditional Gibson – shaped controllers we’ve seen in past games. The body of the controller has the normal whammy bar, strum bar, start and select buttons we’re familiar with. What’s majorly different are note buttons at the top
of the controller. Instead of the traditional five colored buttons to represent guitar stings, Guitar Hero Live’s controller will have six buttons on top of each other – three white buttons next to three black buttons. The experience will be truer to a real guitar – playing cords across the fret board rather than down it. Reaching each button with your fingers will be much easier, only needing three fingers to play. However, the new controls will take some getting used to, especially for seasoned Guitar Hero players who have muscle memorized every song.
Guitar Hero Live’s presentation has changed dramatically, too. Gone are the animated caricatures seen in every Guitar Hero and Rock Band game, replaced with live action bandmates and a living crowd that dynamically reacts to how well you play. The whole setting is presented to you in first person so you’ll really get the feeling like you’re in the band. You’ll get cheers and love the roar of the crowd when you’re really nailing every note, but you’ll also get boos and hateful looks when you’re sucking.
The full track list has yet to be released, however Activision has confirmed songs by The Killers, Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance, Green Day, Ed Sheeran, The War on Drugs, and Skrillex Adding to the playlist will be Guitar Hero TV, a 24-hour music channel which makes any music video into a playable Guitar Hero song. This mode will function as the game’s multiplayer mode, both locally and online.
I’m both excited to see a new Guitar Hero game after its long dormancy, but also a tad bit skeptical. While super dusty due to years of neglect and living in the bottom of my closet, I still have my plastic instruments after all these years. It’s disheartening to know none of that equipment will work with Live, but I am looking forward to the thrill of learning a new play style using the new six – button six string. My first foray into the rhythm franchise came way back in 2007 with Guitar Hero 2. I remember long, frustrating hours trying to get past easy mode, bending my pinky finger in unnatural ways to reach the blue and orange keys. After a couple months of daily practice, I finally was able to move up to hard. The sense of accomplishment that I felt in finishing the game on expert mode was something I hadn’t felt in my video gaming career up till then and a feeling I haven’t felt since. I’m hoping to recapturing that gratification with Live, but for another $99.99, I’m doubting the phenomenon will catch fire again.