Playing Guitar Hero Live for the first time is like catching up with an old friend who has changed a lot since you last seen them. Between the new controller, the innovations from Guitar Hero TV and some micro-transactions that may sway some fans, this is a completely new generation of Guitar Hero. Freestyle Games set out to innovate with Guitar Hero Live, they didn’t want to just rehash and release an old game with a new paint job. That becomes very clear once we see the control and the care that went into making a peripheral.
The new controller for Guitar Hero Live takes feedback from fans and general knowledge that the developers felt made a three key and six button approach make sense. Players will only have to use their three fingers and Harmonix has completely done away with the need of utilizing your pinky finger while playing. Choosing difficulty goes hand in hand with the controller. If you want a great mix you will want to be playing on advanced, while regular will have you only dealing with the bottom white keys to strum along. Finally, casual is literally a mode to get your timing down as it only deals with strumming. Of course for the hardcore, extreme still exists and now difficulty can be selected on the fly in the middle of a song.
Guitar Hero TV, as we have mentioned previously, as a new way to experience Guitar Hero in a much more social landscape. From leaderboards to the ability to drop in on your friends and compete with them in real time, Guitar Hero TV is managing to take new strides in what was previously not a very online focused genre. Of course this comes with some Call Of Duty influence as players can now purchase cosmetically customized highways, and profile images with real world cash. There is even a small limitation on how you will consume the hundreds of songs available on Guitar Hero TV, via ‘Plays’.
A ‘play’ is an earned or purchased currency that allows users to pick any song they want, regardless if it is featured, or playing right now on one of the many curated channels that players can hop into. If you have a favorite song, you will want to play that song, but it will cost you a ‘play’. Guitar Hero Pass unlocks all the songs and can be purchased as well. Now before the red lights start going off in your head, the developers over at Freestyle Games emphasize that everything you see in the game can be earned. There is no paywall, it just allows the hardcore audience faster access so they can begin their long journey to ‘perfecting’ every song in the game. So yes, there are microtransactions but they are completely optional.
If you are a fan of music games and looking for an alternative to the classic Guitar Hero/Rock Band games, the type with a huge library of songs, an emphasis on competition amongst friends, and some interesting features that complement those who like to host ‘Guitar Hero parties’ then you should prepare for Guitar Hero Live which releases later this fall.