|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Vicarious Visions||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Activision||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 16, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2; 2 Versus; 2 Co-op||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Decades has gamers play through the Career mode in three ways: Lead Guitar, Bass/Rhythm Guitar, and Guitar Duel. Lead Guitar and Bass/Rhythm Guitar settings are similar to the console versions in that the same song is divided up into its constituent parts. As such, players essentially get two different gameplay experiences with the same song.
Additionally, a third experience is thrown into the mix with Guitar Duels, where players battle it out against an A.I. combatant using the Duel mechanics established in Guitar Hero III and refined for portable consumption in the original On Tour. After completely going through each of the three components in Career, players will be rewarded with a new secret song each time (We are the Champions Queen; Satch Boogie Joe Satriani; Smooth Criminal Alien Ant Farm). This kind of reward is substantially more motivating than the various guitars and skins youll open up for purchase along the way.
Other than Career, youll find the Multiplayer, Practice, and Quick Play features from the original On Tour that round out the title. For those out of the know, co-op and competitive modes are available and will have you battling it out and/or strumming in harmony with friends over local Wi-Fi. Best of all, Guitar Hero: On Tour - Decades amps up the Wi-Fi features by unlocking a sharing feature that allows you to stream songs wirelessly between both versions of On Tour in co-op and competitive modes. We were amazed at how well battling and co-op worked over Wi-Fi in the original, but the seamless way in which songs are streamed between two DS this time around is downright amazing.
Background visuals in Decades, like On Tour, are poor; band members, guitars, stages, crowds, and scenery all look awfully pixelated. However, foreground features are all that anyone really looks at, and they are clearly drawn, allowing for perfect execution. Like foreground visuals, sound is quite good. I was amazed at just how clear tunes are reproduced. However, quality earphones are a must, as the tiny DS speakers are practically worthless. This is especially so if you are travelling in a car, train, plane, boat or mo-ped; the drone of the engine will completely cancel out the music. Besides, much of the garbled sound transmitted through the handhelds speakers is reduced with headphones.
Guitar Hero: On Tour Decades is a great choice for anyone that wants to take a virtual axe on the go. As competent as the original, Decades brings another 28 quality songs to the mix that can be streamed between two DS. On the downside, I do wish the Decades theme was further enriched by a greater selection of older jams, though Activision does have a demographic to think about. Regardless, if your hands arent still screaming out in pain from On Tour, grab a DS and a friend, but be sure and grab Decades. It is well worth the price of admission.
CCC Editor / News Director