When is Guitar Hero not Guitar Hero? When it’s with a new controller? Or maybe when it’s a fan-made version of the game, that’s when.

As a guy who fell in love with the series from Guitar Hero 3, I’ve been suffering for a good music game for quite a while. Yes, it is true that there was a reboot of the series created by Free Style Games and distributed by Activation, but it never gripped me in the same way that the older games did.

The main game, I thought, didn’t focus on the roots of the series, good rock and metal songs, instead focusing on a more poppy theme, looking at songs from the likes of Skrillex to Katie Perry; there were a fair number of songs by bands that I listen to, from by the likes of Elbow, Imagine Dragons and Royal Blood, however, so I couldn’t really complain. You play the songs in sets of genres; you would play the guitarist/bassist depending on your choice and then play a set list of 5-7 songs with 12 different bands… The problem however is that the songs that were chosen were the ones that got the most radio airtime, and I feel that they may have not the best songs that some of those bands have done. For example, one of the songs that were chosen was “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up)” by Fallout Boy, Personally, I thought that a better choice from the same album would have been either “Rat A Tat” or “Young Volcanos”.

Whereas there were some metal songs in the game, they were one of the last series of songs that you came across in the main game due to their ‘complexity’. When I think of a Guitar Hero game, I think “Let’s get ready to shred some solos and get pissed off that my guitar controller isn’t working properly while playing some DragonForce!” – I didn’t get that from Guitar Hero Live’s main game. The thing that made Guitar Hero Live impressively was the TV mode. You would effectively watch a series of music videos that you could play along too. With over 300 songs currently available to play across many genres, you can really get your fix for what you want to play, whether its metal, country or pop. There were some downsides to GHTV though, where if you wanted to play songs from a list, you only had a certain number of plays available to you and then had to wait for a time limit before more were gifted to you… You could buy more if you wanted to with microtransactions but let’s not get into that here…

The one thing that did really impress me of the main game was the video effects behind the Highway. Guitar Hero Live Featured a first-person view of you on a stage playing the songs in the band with the audience reacting to the way you’re playing, if you’re playing well you would see the effect in the crowd and the same for if you weren’t doing so well as well. You would even have other members of the bands come up to you and tell you to get your act together.

But what’s this clone I mentioned at the beginning I hear you say? Fan made versions of guitar hero haven’t been rare, but the latest one to crop up is considered by far the best to date. This version was created by a guy called Srylain with help from other members of the community. While only being supported on pc, the game runs with very low system requirements meaning if you don’t have a gaming rig, it’s okay.  What’s better about this is that because the game is fan-made, it’s currently available for free. The game is nowhere near complete though. It’s currently on alpha version 0.14.1 meaning there are a few bugs but I haven’t come across anything that has severely broken the game.

The game does not come with a songs loaded though. But, all of the charts that you used to play on your Xbox 360 have been ported over by a hugely dedicated community, and not just the songs from Guitar Hero 3 but all the songs from the original all the way to Guitar Hero 5. You could even import songs from Guitar Hero’s biggest competitor, Rock Band if you felt like it (this game was developed by Harmonix who also developed the original Guitar Hero). The officially created songs are not the only songs you can find though. Guitar Hero 3 was largely used as the go-to game to add unofficial songs into the game that were charted by the community, this meant that you could get more modern songs to play, or maybe you just feel like playing some memes. I suggest Crash Bandicoot singing some songs…

So now to sum up these games, while Guitar Hero Live has a great background, I feel that this game didn’t manage to live up to my expectations.

I’m only giving the game a 6/10

But Clone Hero is coming from the people that know what they really want and even in early development you can tell the direction they’re going in is the right one.

I’m going to give it a 7.5/10

On a separate note to condemn Guitar Hero even further, the studio that made it, Free Style Games was acquired by Ubisoft. The teams are now working on Ubisoft’s triple-A games meaning the series is effectively dead once again.

If you wish to download Clone Hero, you can do so, for free, from here: http://bit.ly/2wltVrB

Songs sets can be downloaded online with a simple Google search.