Friday, November 6, 2009

Guitar Hero 5 Demo Review: I might actually buy it.

Let truth be known, I own every main entry in guitar-based rhythm games, save for this year's entries, which makes GH1/2/3/WT and RB1/2. I'm skipping on Beatles: Rock Band because, well, I hate these themed RB/GH games, I really do. GH5, on the other hand, has shown me Activision has put quite a few changes into the core formula that makes it feel fresh, reinvigorated, and ready for more.

Firstly, I'm glad they chose not to do another subtitle, as "World Tour" indicated they think that GH is better than RB, with Acti going out on a limb saying GH started the craze. True, it did. But it doesn't help the fact that the original team behind GH, Harmonix, is now a subsidiary of both EA and MTV Games, and are now making Rock Band, which I believe is the superior guitar-game of the two.

Before I delve into the game itself, I have to say I'm very impressed by the demo execution, as in you load the demo, and it throws you straight into a song. It wasn't until I finished playing that really shitty song they put on there that I could access a menu to select either 3 Doors Down, which I liked when I was 12, and Blink-182, which I liked when I was 16, 17, 18, 22 and 23 when their new album comes out late next year.

The overall changes I noticed are well welcomed. Streamlining everything into the sides of the "playfield" or tab chart, rather, is awesome. Your rock meter on the right, your note streak/multiplier with your star power gauge on the right hand side makes it easier to see how well you're doing without having your eyes venture too far away from the tabs.

What I mistook for a new approach to hammer-ons/pull-offs are notes that I have no fucking idea what they're called. They're transparent notes that do not require strumming to begin the sequence, but that you have to hit the fret button for each individual note. For example, if you've got a shit-ton of these transparent notes flying at you, and you've got 2 green notes one after the other, you have to hit the button for each one, rather than hold it down. HOPOs are much easier to distinguish, as the top actually glows, rather than removing the black band at the top of the note-dome.

I actually payed attention to the background noise - as in the characters - and rather than being shitty, animorph-ic blobs of concentrated asshole juice, the characters have their own pizazz*, with the drummer actually drumming properly, rather than looking like an extra at Chuck-E-Cheese's. The visual flair isn't too splediforous, as they throw blur filters everywhere on the background. It's a huge step up from GHWT and the why-did-I-ever-buy-it entry, GH3.

I'm contemplating on buying GH5, but there are more pressing matters to attend to.

*Yes, I said pizazz. Fuck off.