The problem with any music game is the tracks available. We looked at Guitar Hero: On Tour on the DS some time ago, but thought we’d go back for a second helping with Decades, the second coming of the guitar game on you favourite pocket gaming machine.
As with the previous version, Decades comes with and requires the use of the Guitar Grip, which slots into Slot 2 of your DS. Around the back it features a hand-loop and as your fingers warp around the side, four keys almost fall under your fingers. We say almost, because getting the position right to be able to get all the combinations and switch between them mid-action is where the real skill lies.
The handgrip is a great accessory and we like seeing this type of accessory bringing a bit of variety to games. We also like the fact it has a guitar pick stylus included with it, that makes strumming the “strings” all the more fun. The downside, however, is that it doesn’t attach in any way other than being put, and if your DS slides out through too much vigorous strumming, you’ll find yourself having to restart, which really throws you off your rhythm.
The game itself follows the typical pattern of Guitar Hero titles, playing as the scrolling notes line-up on the fret board and pressing the corresponding coloured button. Difficultly levels here make quite a difference, but people vary, some like the cut down easy levels, some prefer the harder levels as it is sometimes easier to keep in time with the music. This range of titles picks up classic tracks from the last four decades, offering a real treat for those of us a little older, but most of the tracks will be familiar to all ages of rocker, perhaps with greater appeal than the original game. The game sees you play through clubs featuring different decades of music as you progress.
You get to rock out on lead guitar, or take the rhythm or bass option. There is also a guitar battle option, which adds a little variety to things if you have got complacent and plays into the wireless connection option. You can now share music, meaning you can pick and play those tracks from the first title, whilst also taking the battles to your friends who also have the game. There is also cooperative play mode, which make things more interesting once you have mastered the game.
The sound quality is pretty good when played through headphones, and this isn’t really something you can play without, because it needs to be loud. Played without headphones, the DS’s speakers are not up to the task and it quickly disappoints.
Guitar Hero has proved time and again that it has real appeal for gamers and this latest instalment in the series on the DS puts a little more rock in your pocket. If you already have the first game, then you can buy the solus title just for the tracks, but the bundle including the guitar grip is also available. You even get a new graphic to slip into the grip featuring the Decades logo.
Guitar Hero on the DS, like on other platforms, is great fun, with the DS using everything in its armoury to develop the game and give you bonus points, including the mic.
If you are a fan of the first game, then being able to get the new tracks is less of an outlay than the complete bundle, but it does look rather expensive for only 28 tracks.
It’s just a shame that the guitar grip doesn’t lock in, as that would have made this a much better overall package.