Rhythm games appear to be on the upswing. Following the news that Rock Band 4 is coming to the Xbox One and PS4 later this year, Activision has announced a new game in the Guitar Hero series. This time, though, quite a bit has changed.
While the new Rock Band seems to be just that -- a new Rock Band -- Guitar Hero Live appears to be trying something new. Gone is the now-familiar (perhaps too much so) plastic guitar with five colored fret buttons. You still need a guitar peripheral, but its layout is unique.
"Guitar Hero Live enhances the gameplay experience by introducing a modern, redesigned guitar controller, featuring two rows of three buttons that better reflects the way people naturally play," Activision's press release says. "The new format ensures fun for players of all abilities. For beginners, you can feel like a rock star by mastering play with just the bottom three buttons. Medium-level players don't have to stretch their fingers down the neck of the guitar controller anymore and can instead skillfully play two-row combinations that mimic real chords. Experienced players have a new challenge in creating complex chord-like shapes and finger combinations that will bring new thrills to veterans."
One of the other big changes relates well to its name: Guitar Hero Live is live action. Instead of stylized CG concert animations that often showed the guitarist as a character, Live's gameplay takes place in first-person and uses recorded FMV footage to put you directly into the action. Play well and the audience (and your fellow band members) will be banging their heads and singing along with the music. Mess up and the crowd will visibly lose interest, while your band mates will visibly get angry with you.
The final piece of the Guitar Hero Live puzzle (so far) is GHTV, "the world's first playable music video network with a library of hundreds of music videos you can play." They say it's "a 24-hour mode that lets fans play along to a continually-updated collection of official music videos - across a wide variety of genres -- from the newest releases to favorite hits."
Interestingly, Activision also says that the game will be fully playable on mobile devices, though they don't go into specifics of how. "More exciting details will be announced in the near future," they say.
Guitar Hero Live will be available this fall for the Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4 and Wii U. It's been long enough since the last time I held a guitar controller that I'm genuinely looking forward to playing a Guitar Hero game again.