Activision has been making the rounds to show off Guitar Hero Live, it’s upcoming revival of the once mighty music game franchise. It’s of interest to us here at Gamezebo because of the promise that it will offer its full gameplay experience to mobile players, but the company rep who ran my session in New York offered up an even more tantalizing possibility: playing it on your huge flatscreen TV without needing a gaming console.
At least people with the right kind of tablet will be able to do it. While this is all hypothetical at this point since Activision hasn’t officially announced platforms for the mobile release yet, if you’ve got a tablet with an HDMI output, all you’d have to do is hook it up to your screen and voila: instant home version. It probably won’t work for Apple devices — the rep at my demo said he thought even a slight delay using AirPlay would prove unsuitable — but thanks to the Bluetooth guitar controller that will be used for mobile play, you’ll be rocking out with Guitar Hero Live sans game disk.
Speaking of the new guitar, it’s a little more complicated than the one you might have grown fond of the first time around. Gone are the colored buttons on the neck of the guitar, as well as any need to use your pinky (apparently the chief complaint from the first wave of Guitar Hero titles). Instead, the developers at FreeStyle Games have two rows of black and white buttons that you’ll need to master with three fingers, as notes might need to be played with either or both as they travel down the screen.
The two game modes both look promising. The Live mode is almost like an RPG, as you play songs with 10 different types of bands and experience what it’s like to play in front of a real crowd. Hit most of your notes and the crowd will react with excitement, dancing and even singing along with the chorus. Mess up too often and both your bandmates and the fans will get angry, possibly even throwing things at you after a while.
If the game catches on long term, though, it will be due to the Guitar Hero TV mode, which turns things into a competitive multiplayer experience. It features channels that offer up curated song collections from various genres, with people playing live against each other. It also incorporates some concepts that will be very familiar to mobile gamers, including in-game currency you can accumulate to unlock songs for good and limited time events with special customization items as prizes.
Assuming the devs deliver on a mobile version that doesn’t cut any of this out, it should be a lot of fun, regardless of whether you’re playing on the screen in your pocket or giving yourself the big screen treatment.