|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Vicarious Visions||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Red Octane / Activision||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: June 9, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Jonathan Marx
Guitar Hero On Tour: Modern Hits is the latest entry in the GH On Tour franchise. Rather than bogging young gamers down with tunes that were laid down back when their father was cool, the developers at Vicarious Visions put together a set list of modern hits that are sure to please. The devs didn't stop there, however. The beloved Career mode for single-players has been retooled to include a branching progression that will have you bouncing back and forth from venue to venue, in an attempt to keep gameplay fresh.
Of course, streaming tunes between DS handhelds is still an option, as the creators were careful not to incorporate anything that might limit compatibility between distinct versions of On Tour. When all is said and done, this is another excellent addition to the series. If you were expecting something wildly different, you may be disappointed. Nevertheless, new material, improved sensitivity, and an improved Career mode are enough to keep portable shredders happy.
The most important addition to this version of Guitar Hero On Tour is, undoubtedly, the modern set list. The game includes 28 master tracks from artists such as Wolfmother, Coldplay, Modest Mouse, AFI, Franz Ferdinand, Kaiser Chiefs, and The Kooks, just to name a few. All the tracks have been nicely compressed, and they sound pretty darn good through a pair of headphones. Moreover, the developers have done a great job of creating note tracks that nicely mimic the music; no matter which of the four difficulty levels you choose, you'll quickly be immersed in the gameplay and feel as if you're actually doing the rocking.
From a technical standpoint, the touch screen detection seems to have been perfected. As long as you're strumming the strings between the virtual pickups on the touch screen, you should have no problem hitting every note. This also holds true for the Guitar Grip peripheral. It appears that all of the inputs were consistently registering even on Hard and Expert difficulty. While the On Tour games have always featured tight controls, they feel especially good this time around.
Another update to the title is that of the branching, non-linear gameplay progression found in the Career mode. Instead of just giving fans of the series a glorified set list, the developers tried to mix things up a bit during Career mode. They've done this through the incorporation of Opening and Headline Acts as well as Fan Requests.
Rather than just jamming your way straight through the five new venues in a chosen difficulty, players will now have to successfully navigate through three different song types. Play well enough during the Opening Act songs by accruing fans and you'll open up Fan Request tracks. Fan Requests put specific stipulations on your performance. For example, just getting through a song isn't good enough. You'll have to meet specific fan challenges such as attaining a certain note streak while jamming through the bass line, completing a song with a minimum percentage while on lead guitar, or even attaining a certain whammy bar count. Successfully completing Fan Requests further increases your fan following, eventually opening up challenging Headline Act songs. Headline Acts, in turn, open up additional Fan Requests when successfully completed. Consequently, players will be bouncing back and forth between venues looking for new songs, garnering cash, and upping their fame all the while.