Guitar Hero: On Tour

Activision CEO: “We need a Guitar Hero game on the DS.”

Activision Dev: “I don’t know how that is going to work…”

Activision CEO: “Make it happen.”

And thus sprung forth the abomination that is Guitar Hero: On Tour for the Nintendo DS.

The in-game presentation, note tracking and audio quality are all there, but Guitar Hero for the DS lacks two major factors from the Guitar Hero franchise: fun-to-play songs and seamless controller integration.

With about half the amount of songs of other Guitar Hero games, On Tour should have made it up with the quality of songs available. With On Tour, I felt less like a rock star and more like the composer of a Shrek movie soundtrack. Smash Mouth made the cut? Seriously? Even though I dislike the set list, I can’t deny that the sound quality coming through the DS speakers or headphones is exceptional.

Can’t get enough of you, baby

Regardless of how nice the songs sound, the disconnect I found with the “guitar” peripheral negates all fun from the experience. The beauty of other Guitar Hero games is the fact that the player is holding a fake guitar to connect them to the actions on screen. The guitar controller brings the player into the game and on the stage rocking out as a rock star should.

The bundled peripheral with On Tour is a device made from Satan himself. In my experience, the adjustable strap for the device was itchy, the buttons were too close together, and it kept popping out of the GBA slot during play, thus stopping my game to the point of a hard reset.

I should not have to struggle with the peripheral to have a good time. It should be easy to use, durable, and seamlessly integrated with the gameplay. This game could have had the finest set list of all the Guitar Heroes, and this “guitar” peripheral would have still ruined the experience.

Graphically, the game looks fine on the DS, with fluid animation. However, it still carries the awful character design of Guitar Hero III. Additionally, because of the awkward peripheral, I had to tilt the DS to get comfortable, in turn tilting my head to a position it shouldn’t be in to play a game.

For a series made for everyone, I am not sure what kind of gamer Activision is trying to reach with Guitar Hero: On Tour. Hey now, I’m not a rock star. I’m a gamer, and my wrist hurts.

What does this score mean? Check out our review scoring breakdown.