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I was really excited when I first got Guitar Hero for the DS. A game, some extra buttons for my DS and a plectrum! What more could you want?
I've played the game on the Playstation and loved it. I'd always enjoyed dance mats and bongo games so it was easy to get the hang of the rhythm action style of game. It was a lot of fun to hold the guitar and pretend to be a real rock musician. I quickly got quite good at it, much better than my mum, which annoyed her! So when I opened the DS version I was hopeful that I would enjoy the game as much, and be able to play it anywhere.
The gameplay is essentially the same, with a career mode where you can progress through the game unlocking players, guitars, costumes, and different songs. You can play each song on easy, medium, hard, or expert level, too. There is also a practice mode, a dual mode, and tutorials.
There is also a funky plectrum shaped stylus which I thought was pretty good.
The game is played using an extra peripheral which slots into the Gameboy cartridge space on the DS (it comes with an adaptor for the original DS so will work whichever type of DS you have). There is also a funky plectrum shaped stylus which I thought was pretty good, very easy to hold on to. The cartridge has a strap so that you can slot your hand into it while you play and this is adjustable. While you are pressing buttons on the controller with your fingers, you have to 'strum' the guitar by touching the stylus to the touch screen.
So, with my hand strapped in I was ready to go, and got started straight away. But, uh-oh. Almost as soon as I'd begun to work my way through a song, the controller worked itself loose from the DS and I got a message on the screen telling me to turn off and start again. Oh so annoying when in the middle of a song. This happened a number of times during my first half an hour of play, and I began to get frustrated with it. The sound was annoying as well, of course the DS volume won't go very loud, so in some situations I couldn't hear it very well and I don't really like wearing headphones.
Most of the fun of the original game was in the guitar shaped controllers, which are much much easier to play on, and make you look far more cool too!
I gave my parents a go, and Mum got on a bit better, while Dad decided that his hands would be too big for the controller and he didn't want to bother as it wasn't really like a guitar! Mum and I also found that it made our wrists ache - we tried out a few different positions to play in, but none were particularly comfortable.
All in all we decided that the game was a bit of a disappointment. It wasn't worth either the tinny sound, or the uncomfortable controller, which made it hard to play. Most of the fun of the original game was in the guitar shaped controllers, which are much much easier to play on, and make you look far more cool too! So, the moral of the story is that you get what you pay for. Even though the 'big console' versions are far more expensive when you include a couple of guitars, I think that if you like games like this they are worth the money, because you will get far more gameplay fulfillment and long term enjoyment from the game than from the DS version. Now I just have to persuade my parents!
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: