When a new version of a game you particularly enjoy is announced, there is usually a brief moment of pure optimistic glee that occurs, in spite of the cynicism that years of disappointment have built in gamers like a well-worn callus. Much as I slag on Guitar Hero nowadays, I still couldn’t help but feel that thrill when I saw IGN’s exclusive on the guitar strumming game’s DS port, Guitar Hero: On Tour. But then I actually took an objective look at it.
Admittedly, making a guitar-based rhythm game on a portable system small enough to fit in your front pocket is no easy task. That being said, in spite of Vicarious Visions’ (the development team for Guitar Hero: On Tour) best efforts, the fret board peripheral (which plugs into the GBA slot of the DS) still looks to be an incredibly awkward way to play, with players strumming with a specially developed pick stylus and wrapping their left hands around the back of the DS to grip the peripheral. Even if the video had not made me want to push both actors down a flight of stairs, this would still have left me less than impressed.
Guitar Hero: On Tour will feature a similar career mode to its home system-based predecessor, as well as multiplayer options supporting both co-op and competitive play. The battle mode started in Guitar Hero III will be implemented on the DS, with power-ups causing rabid fans to swarm the screen of the opponent’s DS, forcing them to sign autographs with the stylus until they’ve sufficiently appeased their starstruck admirers, as well as a bevy of other battle power-ups that implement DS-specific functionalities in unique ways.
Ultimately I can’t confidently say this will end up being as awkward and awful as I suspect it might, and a sliver of hope remains, if for no other reason than I’d really like to enjoy the Guitar Hero series once again. Hope springs eternal here at Destructoid HQ, so maybe, just maybe, this will actually end up being a really awesome port of a franchise that’s begun to wither on the vine.