One of the gifts I received for Christmas was Guitar Hero On Tour: Decades for the Nintendo DS. It is certainly a solid game, and I spent some time playing it. But I had two gripes about it. The game doesn’t so much play like playing a guitar, it plays like playing Guitar Hero. The game itself is far removed from the things that make Guitar Hero great (mainly, pretending to play the guitar). If I wasn’t so sure that Activision was only trying to capitalize on the DS with one of their best selling franchises, I would have only thought it was poorly conceived.
In order to properly replicate the Guitar Hero Experience Vicarious Visions created the “Guitar Grip” which is nothing like a guitar, and has a poor grip. Occasionally the “Guitar Grip” will fall right out of the DS GBA slot in the middle of the game. The “Guitar Grip” is also terrible on the hands, my hands were tired after two songs. Then I could hardly get halfway through a song without my hand acting up.
Guitar Hero On Tour: Decades was made to bring Guitar Hero to the DS. And in my mind that’s its largest fault. Everything else about it is adequate, or above adequate. It far exceeds the DS’s limitations in sound and graphics. But in the transition from console to handheld the game lost what makes it fun. Activision had such an egotistical love for the franchise, that they forgot what makes the franchise work. All that’s left is the “Guitar Grip,” a shell of its former gameplay.
Which isn’t to say that the game is totally bad. It’s a serviceable rhythm game for the DS. But Elite Beat Agents is still the best.