The main DS-specific addition to the gameplay - a revamped duel mode - is also problematic. You take on other guitarists in a format similar to GHIII's boss battles, hitting star note sequences to win attacks which you can then unleash at a touch of an icon. Unfortunately, hitting icons while you're playing is very tricky, while the responses to enemy attacks all require novelty uses of the touchscreen or microphone. Signing an autograph or blowing out the flames on your guitar is fun once or twice, but it gets old fairly quickly whether your opponent is human or computer controlled. Thank goodness a more regular co-op mode has been included.
Sadly, the biggest barrier between GH: OT and greatness is the tracklist. Sure, there are some blinders in there. Jet's Are You Gonna Be My Girl was great in Rock Band and it's great here, while ZZ Top's La Grange and Steve Ray Vaughan's Pride and Joy are the stuff of GH legend. All the same, an excess of many pop-punk tracks and very US focused choices (who is/are Daughtry, exactly?) leaves you wondering where the equivalents of More than a Feeling, Killer Queen, YYZ and Knights of Cydonia can be found. Surely Activision and Red Octane had the chance here to cherry-pick the best of the GH line-up, or was someone feeling cheap with the chequebook this time around?
Take one of these negative factors and you could still have a mobile Guitar Hero to treasure. Put them all together and, while GH: OT is still fun, it's not a game I can hand-on-heart recommend. It's close to being great and only a whisker away from being good, but I just can't see anyone picking this up and playing it more than a week from purchase. Guitar Hero fans deserve a little better than that. The old joke with GH used to be that we should turn the score up to a Marshall stack sized eleven. Here, it's easy to turn it down to a dwarf Stonehenge sized six.
A disappointment for would-be DS axe manglers,as the uncomfortable grip, less than accurate picking, gimmicky duel mode and patchy tracklist conspire to spoil an otherwise decent conversion.