Guitar Hero 5 lacks star power

by Tim McLain

The folks at Glu Mobile are at it again, converting yet another popular next-generation Guitar Hero title to the Android platform. Sporting 20 tracks from David Bowie, No Doubt and Nirvana, and the ability to rock out using a guitar, bass or drums, the question remains: Does the Droid version rock the house, or is it an epic fail?

As a fan of the Xbox 360 versions of the game, I found the Droid demo to be less than satisfactory. Okay, let's be honest: It's downright terrible. With that out of the way, the folks at Glu should get on the stick and fix the bugs, quickly, before their license for this franchise is revoked.

Right out of the box, I launched the demo and proceeded to try to play my first track. I was glad to get an offer to download a "high-quality" version of the track, as I've read that the included MIDI versions of the tunes are laughably 1990-era Casio keyboard in terms of quality.

After waiting a few seconds for the track to download, I was greeted by an "unable to connect to server" error. On a high speed wifi connection with 4 bars of 3G access? Failure No. 1.

Skipping the download, I proceeded to play "What I Got" in all its MIDI glory. Nasty. Failure No. 2.Tip: Play in portrait mode. You'll have a 2 percent lesser chance of tapping the Star Power button every time you try to touch the left-most note. (Surely beta testers would have noticed this before it launched?) Failure No. 3.

The rocker animations are another serious fail. The tiny avatar barely moves, and no additional graphic effects add to the experience. The conversion to the small screen is lacking any sort of creativity or visual appeal. Failure . . . you get the idea.

Fixing the high-quality audio download servers, adding better avatar and performance graphics, and moving the Star Power button to a better location would all add up to a solid demo. Until that happens, steer clear of Guitar Hero 5 on your Droid. And rock on, people.