Changing The Channel
Once you’ve unlocked and mastered all the songs on Live, you’ll be spending the bulk of your time playing Guitar Hero TV, the game’s Pandora-like mode of randomized songs on constant play for anyone to join in and jam to. The primary gameplay of GHTV lies in two genre channels (soon to be three) constantly playing random songs–you can jump in at any time, on any difficulty, with a second guitar/vocal or alone, and play songs from a library of around 200 different tracks. Instead of a screaming crowd, GHTV will play the song’s music video in the background. Each of the channels will carry a different theme (metal, pop, etc.) for about 20 minutes before switching to a new theme, so even if you don’t like what’s playing currently, you can always either swap channels or wait a bit for something new to appear. Playing through songs will reward you with currency, experience, and levels that track your rank and unlock various in-game rewards.
…you won’t be bored with Guitar Hero Live for a long, long time…
If you don’t like the randomization, you can replay songs from GHTV…but for a price. Playing a specific song will spend a Play, which can be purchased using in-game currency, real money, or occasionally received for free as a reward for leveling up enough. Depending on how you want to play, you can find this extremely frustrating, or not problematic at all. If your intent is to practice certain songs and get really good or have friends over to play whatever they want, you’ll be disappointed. Without spending real money, you’re not likely to have enough Plays to grind out all the songs you’d want. A Party Pass is available for real cash that’ll give you full access to everything for a 24-hour period…but again, it’s real money above and beyond what you already spent on the game. There’s no way to permanently unlock the songs in GHTV.
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If you’re just looking to play some new songs without much concern about hearing specific ones, GHTV is a lot of fun. There’s a constant stream of music with rewards even if you play poorly, you can compete online against other players’ scores, and you’ll probably find some new favorite songs. Still, the fact that you can pay real money, in-game money, and complete in-game activities and still not permanently unlock any of the 200+ GHTV songs is absurd, especially in a game that already comes with a steep price tag.
Furthermore, GHTV can be incredibly frustrating to play on its own: the loading screens are long in both game modes, but excessively so in GHTV. Occasionally, the game would just freeze randomly, leaving the screen black and requiring a console restart. Perhaps these problems will be smoothed out as the number of people playing at a time evens a bit, but so far (at least on the Wii U version), the number of resets and waiting I’ve had to do has been intensely frustrating.
That being said, it’s worth praising the sheer amount of content available. At least 70 more songs have been promised, and will be added for free in the future in lieu of DLC. That combined with what’s on-disc at purchase means you won’t be bored with Guitar Hero Live for a long, long time, even after you’ve completed the relatively short career mode (only a few hours long).
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Guitar Hero Live is a blast to pick up and play alone or with friends. It may take some time to master the new guitar layout, but once you have a handle on the six frets, it makes for more intense and intuitive gameplay than the old layout. Though an expensive title on its own with even more microtransactions hiding inside, its value as a single-player game and a party game is worth the cost. Whether you’re just starting your rock career, want to play with friends, or are eager to perfect every song on Expert, Guitar Hero Live is stuffed with fun content to keep you jamming for a long time to come.
A copy of this game was provided to GameSided for the purpose of this review. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.