Guitar Hero Live review

When I recently moved house there was one item that didn’t make it, my Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock guitar. My days of rocking out in front of the TV were finally over. Imagine my delight when Guitar Hero Live was announced, not only was I going to be able to be everyone’s favourite lead guitarist yet again, but this time it was going to be in front of a real crowd!

The first thing you’ll notice upon opening the game box up is the new formation of buttons on the guitar’s fret, instead of the traditional 5 colour buttons running down, there are now six buttons, in two rows of three at the very top. It immediately feels more comfortable and once you begin to play the game you’ll realise just how well it works. The rest of the buttons are fairly standard for a guitar controller except for the hero button near the whammy bar.

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Freestyle Games have gone for a brave change to a system we were all very used to, having played every day for a week I can honestly say I’ll struggle to go back now. It feels more natural, some of the button combinations certainly feel like you are playing a real guitar. I’m still struggling on regular mode, but I’m having a great time and getting better with practice.

The guitar itself looks great, but I was disappointed that the strum button is loud, which in turn means you’ll need to turn your TV volume up to hear the music, it connects to the Xbox One via a Bluetooth USB dongle, my Xbox One USB’s already has a Hard Drive, TV Tuner and Headset plugged in, so one had to go. Looks like I’ll be investing a USB hub soon.

Guitar Hero Live comes with two modes, Live and TV. The live mode sees you playing as lead guitarist for a number of different bands at two festivals, Rock the Block and Sound Dial. You make your way up from the small stages to the headline act, playing through different sets. It felt a bit like Forza Horizon in its style, DJ’s would talk about the different bands and their sets as you navigate the menu to choose which one you want to play.

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Gone are the days of watching animated characters while you played, in Guitar Hero live you play through the eyes of the lead guitarist, as you play well you’ll not only see the crowd reacting but your band mates too, when things start to go south, you’ll know about it! “You suck!” Signs begin to appear, cups of liquid get thrown in your direction and your band mates look at you like you have broken their favourite toy, it’s not pleasant.

It’s a bit cheesy, but like the new controls it’s a refreshing change, personally I would rather have been part of one band playing at all sorts of gigs before hitting the big festivals, also the crowd can turn on you a little bit too quickly, but I still enjoyed my experience.

The other mode Guitar Hero TV (GHTV) also embarks on some new ideas. GHTV is composed of non-stop channels, two are available now with another on its way, as soon as you log in you are thrown into a song. You can only see the schedule a couple of hours in advance, which is a shame because if you know there is a set you would like to play you can plan ahead. But no doubt that is something that could be rectified. It’s also here where you can add a second guitar and a USB microphone to sing along to. Unfortunately the second guitar plays the same notes as the first, there doesn’t appear to be an option to play as bass or rhythm guitar.

With well over 200 songs available, you are never short of something to play and the on-demand side of GHTV means you’ll always experience something new. You can also browse the music catalogue and choose which songs you want to play. At the beginning of GHTV you play a small tutorial and are given 10 play tokens, each one giving you a single play of a track you like. You can earn extra play tokens simply by playing songs, you’ll earn points based on your performance and each time you level up you’ll be rewarded with extra tokens. You can purchase extra plays using the coins you have collected through normal play or Hero Cash which can be purchased using real world money. It’s worth nothing at no point have I actually had to pay for any songs, which is excellent.

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You can also pick up a party pass for the price of a pint that will give you 24-hour access to everything without having to use any other resources – this doesn’t include the Premium shows, which consist of new songs being introduced into GHTV, or cool content like live concert footage from a band’s recent tour. Premium shows can be accessed by completing in-game challenges, which generally mean achieving a 3-star rating at regular difficulty on three specific songs in GHTV. Or, you have the option to bypass these challenges by spending Hero Cash (210 Hero Cash to bypass the three challenge songs, 140 if you’ve already completed one of the challenges and 70 Hero Cash if you’ve completed two out of the three song challenges.)

The song list contains a great range of songs from bands such as Tenacious D, The Dandy Warhols, ZZ Top and Fall Out Boy. All tastes are covered and I look forward to seeing what else gets added in the future.

Guitar Hero Live is an excellent game, I love playing to real crowds and GHTV is excellent, the guitar could definitely do with being quieter when you strum, but the new combination of buttons works really well. I feel like a rock star all over again.

Thanks to Activision for providing TiX with Guitar Hero Live to review

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https://youtu.be/6SnIZgESm4c