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Guitar Hero DS and Dreamfall: TLJ | Posted at 10:35 PM

Guitar Hero: On Tour [DS]

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My littlest brother got Guitar Hero: DS for his birthday. I was skeptical of such a game being made for portable... preferring my Rock Band or Guitar Hero plastic controller.

The game has 25 songs of no real "awesome" value. There are some nice songs that I forget but they are there, including one by Ozzy. It has a career, quick play, and multiplayer mode and the standard Easy, Medium, Hard, and Expert. It also comes with a plastic pick that acts as stylus, it's great!

I started on Expert. Now, it should follow that if I can play GH on a console on Expert, I should be able to handle the 4 buttons instead of 5 offered on DS. I was happy to see I could. Here's the problem though: with someone like me who has large hands, doing fairly quick button presses is a chore. When I got to Ozzy's song on the last tier, I couldn't do the solo. It has a lot of arpeggio motions, going yellow, red, green, a three-finger quick hammer-on-pull-off. My fingers in the DS grip can't move that fast easily. If I try to move real fast, the screen shakes making it hard to see anything. That and for doing fast note sequences, I am used to moving my hand a bit above the neck of the guitar to make sure my fingers can have breathing room. Not possible with the DS since I'm all strapped in.

In addition, after only a handful of songs, about 8, my hand starts to hurt and I'll have to put it down. I can't play too long.

With all of that said, however, I still find it fairly fun to play. I think that if you're on the go a lot and need that GH fix, GH: DS is a great game. I mean, the lineup isn't Rock Band but it's not bad either. I think with enough practice, you could probably get through the solos on Expert. I only played 3 times and I got to the last tier in no time. My little brother has finished Easy, Medium, and is working on finishing Hard tours.

Plus it's pretty cheap considering all you get.

There's one other thing about the DS that I like. A touch strum. Some people might find the touch screen a bit awkward at first, but I think a translation of touch to a real GH/RB controller would be amazing. I much prefer strumming on a touch screen than a friggin' lever. It's so much easier to do fast riffs on a touch screen, which is better. Just because it's easier doesn't mean it's easier, know what I mean? I feel like on the DS version I am actually strumming to the music because I can use a natural picking style versus grabbing on to the lever on my Rock Band controller. I noticed I can hit a lot more fast strum notes than I can on a plastic guitar.

Someone should mod their RB controller to use a touch screen, then post a How To so I can do it too.

The Good

  • Fun to play
  • On the go Guitar Hero
  • Multiplayer!

The Ugly

  • Fast note sequences might be too hard
  • Large hands get cramped
  • Only 25 songs

Dreamfall: The Longest Journey

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Dreamfall: TLJ is a very overlooked game. I saw it on a shelf one day at Target and looked at the box. "Adventure game." Whoopee? After that I forgot about it. Not until I saw a demo offered on Steam that I decided to check it out.

I liked what I saw. It's a very story-driven game. In fact, I would say that if you don't like the story, you won't bother finishing it because the gameplay itself is pretty sub-standard. I mean, a few of the puzzles are challenging but overall it's fairly straightforward. I stopped playing for awhile due to a puzzle awhile ago but just yesterday I picked it up again. I figured out the puzzle and have played it for about 4 hours today.

That's another thing, the game isn't short. I think I must be up to about 15-20 hours by now and I feel like it's getting near finished but not quite.

Back to the story though. I enjoy it a lot. Some of the voice acting is bad but a lot of it is fairly good. Good enough to be enjoyable. In fact, Krow, who becomes the main character's sidekick later is my favorite personality. The other thing I like about the game is the variety of narratives. It isn't a one person story. It's about a lot of people and you get to play them to advance the story, very much like episodes of a TV show. It's like playing a book because you do get to see some scenes that are revealed solely to you rather than the cast of characters and they eventually link up at some point. I think what I enjoy most about the story is its originality and actual enjoyableness. It's set a bit in the future (year 2219) and deals with a parallel world scenario where "dreams" act as the transport between them, but there's more to it than that. Technically, you start out by playing an unknown character who is living in a monastery. There you lead him to some sort of ritual where he gets transported into a different dimension and weird stuff happens. Then, the game moves to the future where you start playing Zoe, a girl with an Australian accent who lives in Casablanca. The story is too convoluted to get into but suffice it to say there's something wrong with "The Wire" (like the Internet only it transports all communication) and it has to do with Dreams and a girl named April Ryan. It blows up into this immense narrative about a corporate conspiracy, a lost orphan, two dimensions, a drugged plant, politics, and the search for meaning. Trust me, it's cool when you play it. Here's the official plot introduction:

Zoë Castillo is about to get involved in a conspiracy that spans parallel worlds and hundreds of years.

Something is affecting our world: static interference disrupts technology, and it seems to be linked to a ghostly presence seen only by a few – a presence inhabiting a black house in a wintry landscape. As Zoë begins her search for a lost friend, she discovers that there is a magical world behind our own – and the search is now on for the one person who may help Zoë unravel the dangerous web she has become entangled in:

April Ryan.

Like I said, the story is where this game shines. It's an adventure game in the vein of classic graphic adventure games I seem to be playing a lot of lately ala Grim Fandango or Secret of Monkey Island. It's simpler in that you have an inventory but don't constantly keep things in it instead using them fairly soon to solve puzzles. It's mostly driven by conversations you have with other characters instead of using various verb commands to solve riddles. They did implement some fighting but they are horrible and I am so glad they happen only once in a blue moon. They should have just left out fighting, it's useless in this game.

There are many characters involved in the story and all have unique personalities (albeit one or two with poor voice actors). What I like about the characters you play is that they have depth. They aren't some vapid piles of skin and bone who just drop in and can do everything. They have feelings, guilts, uncertainties, backgrounds, and a history. For example, one of them is a member of the religious and military civilization that has occupied one of the cities in the alternate universe and one of them is a rebel fighting against said occupational forces. It is a different story for both of them but they run into each other and while you are witness to the narratives that tie them, at first they are unaware of each other's fates and how they are tied together. I still am not certain how it works out because I haven't finished.

I tend to enjoy stories that are mixes of fantasy and sci-fi so I really enjoy the story a lot. However, it's not for everyone and if after the demo you feel no real desire to answer the questions it poses, you should probably move on. If, though, you were like me and enjoyed the story you saw in the demo, I think you should give it a chance. My girlfriend even enjoyed watching the story progress way back when I started playing it.

I am one of those people that will play a game to the end if the story is compelling enough. Devil May Cry 4? No. Eternal Sonata? Eh. Thief III? Hell yes. Beyond Good and Evil? Loved it. It's the same idea here. While gameplay is lacking but still not horrible, the story makes up for it all, in my humble opinion.

If you want to try it, you can get the demo off Steam or buy it off Steam with its prequel. System requirements are small, the graphics look fairly good, and it runs quick.

I didn't realize that there was a game before Dreamfall, confusingly titled "The Longest Journey," and apparently it's done well for itself, garnering 91 on Metacritic. I bought it just now. Why Dreamfall's subtitle is the same as its prequel, I'm not sure, but whatever I guess.

The Good

  • Amazing narrative, characters, and cinematic storyline
  • Fun puzzles and adventuring
  • Nice graphics and colorful scenes
  • Easy interface
  • Nice and long

The Ugly

  • Fighting sucks but there's not a lot of it
  • A couple bad voices but not dealbreakers
  • Linear, but that comes with the territory
  • Average "actual" gameplay experience
Filed Under: Games Reviews

Comments

A good review- Personally i prefer guitar hero with the Wii, the guitar makes it all more authentic. Suppose that this is a compromise of making a great game more portable. If you get a chance visit my teach yourself guitar blog. Thanks!

I love Guitar Hero, only played version II and III but the DS version looks interesting. Though I have Rock Band coming in the post within the next few weeks!

Hope its good!

Great post btw ;)

Great review, but I'd have to agree with you. They keep trying to make all things portable, and half the fun of GH is holding the fake guitar! It sounds too close to plain old air guitar.

Btw, your blog is well written!

nice review. i prefer the real guitar as well, but the DS version is a good time waster when you are mobile.

Great review! I also enjoy the Wii guitat hero version as well. I also play guitar and teach and I feel this has helped many people find thier love for music...

Great review there, but I still don't like Guitar Hero.

I love the real thing much more. The sound is real, and it's more impressive and attracting than playing Guitar Hero.

Don't know if it's jut my age, but it just seemed too busy for me. Can't see me getting to the end of this one.

Haha I've had more people come to me for guitar lessons after playing Guitar Hero than ever before! It's great I tells ya!

I have guitar hero on PS3, I have to say I'm addicted!
I play better on my real guitar.

I have guitar hero DS. It's ok, nothing like the other consoles though!

Guitar hero DS doesn't even close to the console version in my opinion. It just feels so boring playing it on that little screen with only four buttons(no guitar body).

I haven't played Guitar Hero in quite a while now. Your post makes me want to fire up the 360 and give it a shot.

I haven't played Guitar Hero in quite a while now. Your post makes me want to fire up the 360 and give it a shot.

Guitar Hero can develop kids interest of guitar and help them learn it.

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About the Author

Kamran
Divide by Zero is Kamran Ayub's personal blog. Kamran owns and operates Intrepid Studios, a web design and development firm based in Minneapolis. Despite the above picture, Kamran is usually an intelligent person. Please forgive him.

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