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Guitar Hero On Tour: Modern Hits (Nintendo DS) Review

Review for Guitar Hero On Tour: Modern Hits on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Just as the art form itself is open to experimentation and only held back by a person's imagination, so too should music be playable wherever you are, allowed to burst out spontaneously no matter your location. I'd like to say that this was Activision's pitch for bringing Guitar Hero to DS with the On Tour games, but the reality was probably closer to "money's pretty nice, isn't it?"...

If you've ever wanted to act like a musician on a bus while staring at a plastic-and-metal box, now's a pretty good time for you. Rock Band Unplugged was recently released on PSP, and we're now on the third DS version of Guitar Hero in less than twelve months; the swift development cycle made possible thanks to the shared engine on the platform. As with the others, the GBA slot guitar grip is mandatory for play, leaving DSi owners out in the cold until somebody works out a way of prising the money out of their hands, too, and the idea still works surprisingly well. Slip your hand into the handle to secure your hold on the system, press the four coloured buttons for your notes and strum on the touch screen, rubbing about for whammy bar sections, and you're well on the way to portable rock stardom. Maybe you could even go busking with it, if you can ignore the hand cramps that tend to come in after 20 minutes of play. Take regular breaks.

It's a solid concept, but the same cannot be said for the tracklisting, which leaves something to be desired for anybody who is not a massive fan of mainstream modern music. It does what it says on the tin. There's nothing that is a particularly big hitter outside of The Dandy Warhols' 'Bohemian Like You', Kings Of Leon's 'On Call' or a number of tracks from overrated British bands, and it's worrying to see a game kick off with an Avril Lavigne song ('When You're Gone' ). You can, however, use the excellent multiplayer mode to hook up with the previous On Tour games and stream songs from both versions to each other in the session; fantastic when you consider their superior setlists.

Screenshot for Guitar Hero On Tour: Modern Hits on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

It's pleasing to see that lessons have been learnt as the music genre has grown; all songs, with multiple guitar tracks such as bass alternatives, are unlocked from the very start in the Quick Play mode, meaning you're not going to have to play for 13 hours and get five stars on everything just to play Tenacious D's 'The Metal'. Things are more irritating in the Career. You play a number of songs at each venue but, rather than progressing after simply completing the songs, you have to expand your fanbase until it's of a sufficient size to move on. This involves repeating the same songs multiple times to complete challenges (fan requests) such as 'play 90% of the notes' or 'fill your star power meter', which in more cases than not you will have accomplished during your initial playthrough if you were on a difficulty setting comfortable to you. It would have worked a lot better if these challenges 'stacked', so if you inadvertently fulfilled them while playing the regular songs you would gain extra fans and complete the challenge at the same time, thus taking down the amount of repetition; as it is, it serves only to artificially lengthen the game.

The only exceptions are the duel challenges, wherein you still have to play the same songs but against an AI opponent. In duels battle item sequences replace the regular star power ones, awarding objects that hinder your opponent (or you) in a variety of ways; for example, by speeding up their highway or having cameras flash over their screen. Others use DS functions, such as the one that forces you to sign autographs mid-song, or the screen-switching power-up - perhaps an ill-advised inclusion given the appeal of the series to the casual consumer, since the top screen is, of course, not a touch screen. You might not want to play duel mode on the bus, either, as one of the objects involves blowing out fire with the microphone. At least for star power you can just click the touch screen while out and about...though feel free to yell to activate it all you like when you're in a nice, safe place. Alone.

Screenshot for Guitar Hero On Tour: Modern Hits on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review


Same old Guitar Hero, but with added hand cramps. Make sure you take regular breaks so your hand doesn't stick in a DS-friendly grasp. Having all songs unlocked instantly in Quick Play is great, but the Career is far longer and more repetitive than it deserves to be.


The interface is clean and the background action is well-modelled. You won't be paying much attention to that, though.


Quality-wise, great. The tracklisting isn't hugely impressive outside of a few numbers, though.


Twenty-odd new songs for £30 isn't the best value for money. If you have friends with other versions though, multiplayer allows you to play double that in the same session.

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 6 out of 10


About this score

Career mode really needs alterations for the next version, as the repetitive nature of progression is just not fun. However, if you're in this for Quick Play or multiplayer and don't mind playing through a load of songs from the 2000s - the earliest is from 2002 - then by all means go for Modern Hits. If that's not your cup of tea but you would rather like to play Guitar Hero on the go, opt for one of the other titles in the On Tour sub-series; they have better track listings, anyway.

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European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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Love the game though not a very big guitar hero guy...
Very nice reveiw!

I..I can't watch porn. My Mommy finds out
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

This certainly seems to be doing better than some of the other DS iterations (one has there only been two others? I lose track...). It would appear there is still enough interest in using the DS Lite's GBA slot after all!

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

There are three. Guitar Hero: On Tour, Guitar Hero On Tour: Decades and this one.

Shame if this one\'s doing the best so far, as the others definitely have better tracklistings.

( Edited 02.08.2009 17:23 by Mason )

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