Guitar Hero Live Review (Xbox One)

Guitar Hero is back after a long 5 year break. Before that break it was a yearly franchise that towards the end was releasing a ridiculous amount of Guitar Hero and Guitar Hero spin offs games. It got to the point were the market was flooded and a major decline in Guitar Hero series games occurred leading to the franchise demise. Now fast forward to 2015, Guitar Hero Live is looking to totally reboot what the franchise used to be. There are a lot of changes, but are the changes good? Lets find out in this review of Guitar Hero Live.

Before I talk about what’s in the game, I want to talk about the actual guitar that is provided with Guitar Hero Live. The first big change noticed was the button system. Gone is the 5 button system and in its place is a new 6 button system. There’s two rows of buttons, 3 black buttons and 3 white buttons which give the guitar a much more authentic feel compared to the previous 5 big buttons in a line.

The new button layout also brings with it a much more difficult way to play rhythm based games. At first I thought it was because I was used to the old button layout, but even with practise, I still found playing the game to still be kind of difficult even on lower difficulties. This isn’t to say the button layout is terrible and is causing me to find it hard to play the game, in fact I feel the guitar style deserves praise for finally making these games different and have more of a challenge.

Everything on the guitar felt responsive, the strum button for example is one of the best I’ve used on any rhythm based game. Every strum click just feels satisfying and noticeably feels well made compared to some awful strum buttons we’ve had in previous games. The only real issue I had to with the guitar was that it was quite loud with the strum being the worst of this crime.

Now lets talk about the actual game. The biggest change is that Guitar Hero has now moved away from the old style of rendered characters, and instead changed it to an actual real world presentation. The songs are played in a first person perspective, and the crowd will react to how you play. If you are hitting all the notes then the crowd will be going wild, but if you are messing up on the notes then the crowd will let you know about it. It’s an interesting change that comes off as cheesy, with the actors on stage reactions being over the top.

There is a career mode you can play in Guitar Hero Live, you will go around different locations and play a set of songs that range from 3-5. Each time you finish a set of songs you will unlock a new location to play different songs. It’s really that basic, and there isn’t much depth in to Guitar Hero Live’s version of a career mode. Some will say what more could you expect from a game like Guitar Hero, well Rock Band’s career mode has you creating a fan base, making choices throughout the career, which is feature and the depth that a Guitar Hero Live career mode doesn’t have.

The other half of Guitar Hero Live is the online counterpart called Guitar Hero TV. Guitar Hero TV is were you will find the songs that aren’t playable outside of online. Yes you read that right you can’t play any of these songs outside of this mode as you can’t technically buy DLC songs in Guitar Hero Live. Guitar Hero TV replaces DLC with a freemium style way of playing these songs. You have a certain amount of “plays” which you can use to play any of the 200+ songs. Eventually you’ll run of these “plays” so you will have to either earn more by grinding or pay up to buy a select amount of “plays” which includes a 24 hour no limits option. I’m personally not a fan of this way of playing new songs, I’d prefer to pay a small one time fee to have the song on the game forever.

The Final Verdict

Guitar Hero Live was a decent attempt at rebooting the franchise, at first I was impressed with how everything was going. I was impressed early with how the guitar was and how the gameplay felt with the new guitar, but sadly as the game went on I started to notice things that dragged the game down. No practise mode being a huge miss for a game with a totally new control scheme, a freemium mode that is 50% of the game, and a pretty lazy career mode. They are on to something with the new ideas, but overall the game is just lacking in what it needs to make it a perfect reboot for this franchise.

Final Score


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