Guitar Hero Live: Time to get back on stage – try it

When the musical games sector has imploded due to the saturation of a market unable to manage too many titles all the same, distributed in very short time windows, the Guitar Hero saga, as well as that of Rock Band and other variations on the theme, it literally disappeared, leaving behind a trail of more or less functional plastic tools scattered in the homes of millions of players around the world.

After a long pause, however, it seems like it’s time to get back on stage. During E3 2015 we got to try it out Guitar Hero Live, new episode of the musical series in the hands of Activision, recreated from scratch in an attempt to return to the glories of the past.

The possibilities that the spark will rekindle in those who have always loved the genre, actually, are all there, also because the developers have tried to create an experience that can clearly differentiate itself from those already experienced in the past.

Guitar Hero Live, in fact, abandons the drums, the bass and the vocals, to return to the origins and propose an experience linked solely to the guitar, the instrument with which the series was born many years ago on the PlayStation 2. The new plastic guitar is of dimensions contained, is manageable, and boasts a very different structure than in the past, which also affects the gameplay.

By purchasing party access, you get access to a selection of songs chosen by the player, for a certain amount of time. This is an option designed for when you organize evenings with friends and you have to study a lineup that will satisfy everyone present.

In fact, the five colored keys we were used to have been replaced by six smaller keys, divided into two rows of three, which must be pressed individually or with combinations of various types, depending on the electronic score and the selected difficulty level. .

In practice, in Guitar Hero Live the little finger is no longer used and the hand no longer has to move along the keyboard to follow the virtual notes. To compensate for this lack, however, there is a greater quantity of possible combinations and a more consistent use of combinations similar to real chords.

During the presentation, the developers described Guitar Hero Live as an easy game to approach but difficult to master. A perfect description, given that at the lower difficulty levels the challenge is suitable for all kinds of players, including the less coordinated and those completely devoid of sense of rhythm.

To achieve noteworthy results at the highest levels, however, rhythm and dexterity are essential and must be combined with a good dose of consistency and dedication. These are exactly the elements that drove some types of players crazy years ago, and it is highly likely that love will blossom again.

The on-screen icons are divided into white, black and bicolor. Depending on the type, it is necessary to press the keys of the upper, lower row or both at the same time.

After trying Rock Band 4, in fact, we had fun but we didn’t feel the desire to put ourselves back to the test, because the experience offered by the new Harmonix title was all too similar to the past one, which had already tired us for some time.

It took one game of Guitar Hero Live, however, to ignite the sacred fire of competitive passion again. Guitar in hand, in fact, you immediately realize how fresh the experience put together by the development team for this new incarnation of the Activision saga is.

Even toy rock experts, in fact, with Guitar Hero Live will experience unprecedented sensations having to train the muscle memory again to obtain exceptional performance with the most difficult songs.

The beauty of the new system, in fact, is that although you no longer have to use the little finger and no longer have to move the hand horizontally, it is necessary to train the eyes and fingers for a wide range of new combinations, many of which involve the use of barrè (technique in which a finger is used to lock several strings on the same fret, on the real guitar, reproduced here by simultaneously pressing the upper and lower frets at the same pitch) and complex chords.

This time the videos in the background will not be made with polygonal models but with real musicians.

While losing the simulation of the horizontal movement on the keyboard of the instrument, then one gains that of the vertical movement, absent in the previous versions. From a practical point of view, therefore, there are many interesting innovations.

The entire structure of the game will also change. By loading Guitar Hero Live, in fact, you will have several Guitar Hero TV channels available, which will boast specific schedules every day. Basically you load the game and play what is foreseen by the programming.

By playing and playing, you accumulate points and virtual money, which can be invested to unlock new items within the pack. Also, the more you play, the more “play” icons accumulate. These consumable elements, in practice, allow you to play specific songs even if these are not included in the daily schedule.

If you really can’t do without specific songs, moreover, it will still be possible to activate them by paying (with an on-demand system similar to that of television services), or buy them and download them on your HDD, to always have them available. The menus already seem very clean and easy to navigate, also thanks to the presence of specific keys on the guitar, with which to change the channels of the GHTV and switch from one menu to another.

You will still need to sync your guitar based on your TV’s delay. The situation should have improved compared to the past, given the evolution of monitors and TVs, now equipped with lower latency.

Activision has made sure to make commercial deals with different bands, not only to have unreleased recordings made just for the game (with the reactions of the various members of the band in front of the player’s performance, for example), but also to have videos and preview songs on their platform, which in practice will also become a way to access the new works of their favorite artists in advance.

The new structure is very reminiscent of free to play, although the developers have ensured that every element of the game can be unlocked simply by playing. Paying real money, however, will speed up the unlocking process and it will be essential that the team find the right balance so as not to frustrate those who decide not to invest more money in Guitar Hero Live, after having shelled out the beauty of 99 dollars (which will probably translate into in 99 euros) for the game + guitar bundle.

The risk of something going wrong is quite high, especially considering that it will be possible to unlock upgrades for your guitar, which will affect the scores achieved during your performances. According to what the developers told us, in online matches on matchmaking it will take into account the configurations of each player but we wait to check these elements firsthand, before unbalancing ourselves with any kind of consideration.

What is certain is that the Guitar Hero saga is preparing to return to make us feel like six-string wizards, alone or with friends. All that remains is to wait to get hold of the final version of the game, to understand how much the new formula studied by Activision is compatible with the enjoyment of users.

Buy Guitar Hero Live from Amazon