A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this rhythm game contains lyrics from modern pop and alt-rock songs, a few of which reference violence, sex, and alcohol. Some also contain mild profanity. The language is never graphic or gratuitous. Kids unschooled in music may learn something about the composition of pop music while they play, including song structure and musical patterns. Note that this game, like previous games in the Guitar Hero On Tour series, is not compatible with the Nintendo DSi. The fret attachment it ships with plugs into a Game Boy Advance slot, which exists only on the original DS and the DS Lite.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
The third entry in Activision’s popular rhythm game franchise to be released for the DS over the last year, GUITAR HERO ON TOUR: MODERN HITS offers up play similar to that of its two predecessors, just with a track list composed only of pop and alt-rock songs from the last five years. Featured artists include: Franz Ferdinand, The Offspring, Foo Fighters, Finger Eleven, Fall Out Boy, Coldplay, and about two dozen other current and recent acts. Players work their way through venues that escalate in size as the game progresses, playing sets consisting of a few songs each and taking on fan requests when available. Note that this game is compatible only with the original Nintendo DS and DS Lite; the new DSi lacks a Game Boy Advance cartridge slot, which means it can’t accommodate the fret attachment that comes bundled with the software.
Is it any good?
Aside from providing a few dozen fresh tracks to play, Modern Hits is much like its precursors. Players press buttons on the fret attachment, strum the screen with a pick, and gradually unlock new venues and challenges. However, there are a few minor tweaks to the formula, the most noticeable of which are fan requests. As players master new songs, fans begin to request them to be played with special criteria. For example, players may need to duel another guitarist and launch a variety of attacks (such as breaking strings or speeding up the tempo). Or they might need to play a song’s bass section and chain together a set number of notes without error.
These tasks help mix things up a bit, but the core play is pretty much identical to what the franchise’s fans have experienced in previous games. That means most players’ enjoyment will hinge on how much they like the game’s music. Best check the complete track list before buying.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about pop music. What did this game teach you about the structure of pop songs? If a song has a complex guitar track does it automatically make it more entertaining to listen to or to play, or does your appreciation derive more from melody? After playing the game do you feel like you have a better understanding of how to play a guitar? Do you have more respect for guitarists who carry out physical antics on stage while playing difficult passages?
Families may also want to discuss the stereotypical rock and roll lifestyle. Why do you think vices such as smoking, drinking, promiscuity, and profanity are so closely associated with rock musicians? Do you think the game’s avatars accurately depict how real-life rock and roll stars look and act? What is it about the rock and roll aesthetic that makes it alluring to young people?
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