Guitar Hero: Aerosmith Review

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Descriptive Text Publisher: Activision
Developer: Treyarch

Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, Wii
Reviewed on Xbox 360

Few expected the original Guitar Hero to explode into an industry, but with Guitar Hero 3 selling over eight million copies, we should expect a few Guitar Hero titles every year now. The latest entry, Guitar Hero: Aerosmith, is a tribute to one of rock's most iconic and enduring bands. With a career spanning four decades, many of Aerosmith's titles are instantly recognizable, even to non-fans. In addition to the 29 Aerosmith songs, there are a dozen non-Aerosmith songs included, ranging from The Clash to Stone Temple Pilots. Beyond that, though, Guitar Hero: Aerosmith's essentially gets you half the content of Guitar Hero 3 for the full price, and doesn't include downloadable songs, making this game fan-centric at best.

Kevin Rice

A New Coat of Paint on a Familiar Work of Art

Anyone familiar with Guitar Hero 3: Legends of Rock will feel instantly at ease with this game, as it's the same engine with a coat of Aerosmith paint on it. All the band members get recreated in that not-quite-lifelike, not-quite-cartoon style, and while everyone is recognizable, it's still an art choice that doesn't quite sit well with me. The usual players are also back, and you play as those stand-ins during the non-Aerosmith songs.

Guitar Hero: AerosmithThe venues are all new, and each venue is actually a recreation of a place close to Aerosmith's heart. It's starts at Nipmuc High School, where they had their first gig, and goes all the way through to their Hall of Fame induction. The six venues comprise the entirety of Career Mode, and each is selectable after being unlocked in Quick Play Mode. The venues look pretty nice, although the background on the fret stream can make it difficult to pick up a few notes.

Beyond the Aerosmith characters, the graphics are largely unchanged. Small details have changed, yes, but overall, if you've played Guitar Hero 3, this is approximately the same game with a new set list. If you're an Aerosmith fan, though, this is the set list you've always wanted.

Walk This Way

Each venue contains five songs, except for the final set's inclusion of the only boss battle in the game, appropriately played against Joe Perry. This one is as annoying as previous boss battles, but is easily beaten so long as you get in the first attack. All the venues start off with two non-Aerosmith songs, followed by three Aerosmith songs (with the fifth song being an encore).

Guitar Hero: AerosmithWhile I'm not the biggest Aerosmith fan, I certainly like most of their more popular tunes. However, it wasn't until the end of the second set (when "Sweet Emotion" came on) that I recognized any of the Aerosmith songs. After that, each set contained at least one Aerosmith song I knew, from "Walk This Way" (both the original and the Run D.M.C. versions are included), to "Dream On" and "Love in an Elevator."

The song order is a bit odd, with some harder stuff (the solo in The Kinks' "All Day and All of the Night" comes to mind) coming early in the game and relatively easy songs like "Sex Type Thing" and "Dream On" coming toward the end of the game. All of the Aerosmith is from master tracks, as are most of the other songs. For the two or three covers in here, they're very clearly labeled as such. The difference between the real "Hard to Handle" on Rock Band versus the cover version found here illustrates that songs based on master tracks are far superior. The covers aren't bad, but they don't hold up against the real deal.

After playing the first two songs in each set, the crowd starts chanting for Aerosmith. However, there's a very annoying volume change at the beginning of each Aerosmith tune. The audience and the ambient effects get twice as loud when they take the stage, and then it's all back to normal again once the song starts. This was only startling at first, but quickly became an aggravation as we had to constantly adjust the volume knob between every song.

We Want More! We Want More!

Guitar Hero: AerosmithWhile the included setlist is definitely rockin', there are only 41 songs in the entire game. There is no downloadable content, and for whatever reason, Activision didn't opt to allow your downloaded songs from Guitar Hero 3 to be playable in here. That seems like an obvious oversight, as the game's engine is identical, and it would've given this game some much-needed legs.

There is more content in the Vault, though, including longer versions of the video introductions seen before each set (which are done by the band), a few of Joe Perry's guitars, and the ability to unlock Run D.M.C. and Joe Perry as playable characters. The regular characters get a few new outfits as well, but it's nothing spectacular. It is, however, much more content than what was included in Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the '80s.

All of the regular Guitar Hero features are present, including local and online and offline multiplayer, cooperative modes, and so on. However, the game as a whole is a little bit easier. That's probably welcome news for everyone who found Guitar Hero 3 to lean too much on technically difficult tunes, especially at the Expert level. I was able to go through all of Guitar Hero: Aerosmith in Hard on the first try, and I got to the fifth venue on Expert before it started giving me issues. For comparison purposes, the Expert mode in Guitar Hero: Aerosmith at the highest stages is about the equivalent of the Expert mode in Guitar Hero 3 in the first or second stage.

Curtain Call

It's no secret that many, myself included, think the game is over too quickly. Being a Guitar Hero game, there's a metric ton of replayability in here, assuming you like Aerosmith. However, Guitar Hero 3 included more than 70 tracks out of the box, and has downloadable content being added weekly. Guitar Hero: Aerosmith has 41 tracks and it costs the same. That doesn't seem right. Had this game been in the $30 to $40 range, it would've been a much easier sell. Yes, the Aerosmith guys got recreated, the venues are new, and there's a little bit of video interviewing with the band, but it's all about the songs, and there aren't enough to justify the full price. (The three included Joe Perry solo songs shouldn't count, as they are pretty damn bad.)

Fans of Aerosmith will definitely eat this stuff up, and people who are looking for an entirely new set list will probably enjoy themselves as well. However, it's a short set list, and with no downloadable content or future content of any kind, it's a rough sell at full price. It seems like it was forced out before the November release of Guitar Hero: World Tour. It's filler, yes, but it's decent filler. It's just not full-price filler.

For whatever reason, the PS2 and Wii version are $10 less expensive, both with and without the controller (a Guitar Hero 3 guitar with an Aerosmith faceplate). It's still too much for too little, regardless of the version, though, and ultimately, this is going to be a footnote in the history of the series, much like the '80s version has become.

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This page contains a single entry by Editor published on July 1, 2008 10:18 PM.

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