Review: Guitar Hero 5

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Windows Phone 7 Xbox Live games are miniature-sized, so they get miniature-sized reviews. Say goodbye to ‘meh’ – features are either cool or shite. The next game to get the mini treatment is Guitar Hero 5 by GLU.

The cool: I’m a fan of the Guitar Hero series and I have to admit that a mobile version seemed cool (hence the download). If you’re used to the game on consoles, you’ll be very comfortable with the mobile version. The 5 notes of the console versions have been downgraded to just 3; touching the bottom of your WP7 screen when a note comes screaming down the track is how you play. While I had problems with the touch interface during menus, the interface works perfectly in-game.

The music on offer is fairly mixed, from David Bowie’s Fame to A-Punk by Vampire Weekend. With 32 songs total, there will be something that caters to all musical tastes. Can you tell I’m already scraping the bottom of the ‘cool’ barrel here?

The shite: There’s good song variety, yes, but it doesn’t change the fact that the songs aren’t nearly the .mp3 quality that is advertised.

On top of that, the touch screen seemingly becomes useless when you’re not playing a song; using the menu is a nightmare. Pressing on any option in the menu to works about 5% of the time. If you’re going for the ‘OK’ button in the bottom-left of screen, and you’re a fraction too high, nothing happens. If you’re a fraction too low, and still nowhere near the WP7 physical ‘Back’ button, you’ll go Back anyways.

Even MORE frustrating is that pressing any of the physical WP7 buttons will destroy your game and history. If you’re going for achievements that require you to play a certain number of games, hitting Back, the Windows key, or Search will throw you out of the game and somehow cause it to reset your history. It’s a mobile phone and a mobile game – surely GLU could have figured out a way to retain data in an environment where users will accidentally hit a key or be forced to multitask quickly.

Worse yet is that if a WP7 phone notification pops up mid-game, the game pauses and forces you to replay the song. There is NO option to resume. It’s a complete and utter fail.

At $7 US (cause I can’t use the Aussie Marketplace), this game is utter shite and simply not worth a purchase. If you like Guitar Hero, don’t tarnish your memories of the series with this. If you’re not a fan, avoid it anyways and pick up a title better suited for a mobile phone.

Note: I have been given a HTC Mozart with Windows 7 Phone by Telstra free of charge to review. The comments expressed by me reflect my own user experience and personal opinion and are not made on behalf of Telstra.