Digital Spy

Search Digital Spy
0

Gaming Review

'Guitar Hero: Greatest Hits' (Xbox 360)

By
Released on Monday, Jul 13 2009



Also available on: PS3, PS2, Wii
Genre: Rhythm Action
Developer: Beenox Studios
Publisher: Activision
Release date: June 26, 2009

All of the best bands, groups and solo artists do it; releasing a greatest hits album is a simple way to raise profiles and, let's face it, cash. Who would have thought that rhythm action video game manufacturers would start to do the same thing? However, unlike a musician who may release an album every other year, it's somewhat baffling that Activision would feel the need to release Guitar Hero: Greatest Hits in a year when it plans to unleash a bucket load of other Guitar Hero titles.

At least it's done so on the back of the triumph that is Guitar Hero: Metallica, and a game like Greatest Hits would need to match Metallica’s offering for effort in order to be deemed a success and not just a cheap cash-in. Unfortunately, Guitar Hero: Greatest Hits doesn't.

For anybody who may not know, Guitar Hero: Greatest Hits is a collection of songs from Guitar Hero 1, 2, 3, Rock The '80s and Aerosmith (although only one song features from the latter). All of the songs are now master recordings as opposed to covers, and now feature full band play as per Guitar Hero: World Tour. To be perfectly honest, that's it, the game in a nutshell. There are no new features, no band trivia, no downloadable content, no lyric sheets, band photos, or music videos. The only additional feature Greatest Hits does contain is the insanely difficult Expert+ mode on the drums, which is playable to anybody who buys an extra foot pedal.

The biggest problem with Greatest Hits' lack of content will be encountered before you actually play the game. Buying the title will see your wallet take a pounding, which will leave you scratching your head at how you can be charged full price for a game that features a recycled set-list, and almost half the number of songs of the likes of World Tour. Also, although admittedly much more subjective than smarting at the price, many of you will probably feel slighted by the fact that several of your personal favourite songs have been omitted from the title - ‘Ironman’ I’m looking at you. Surely they could have included more than 48 songs?

While the game's tracklist will intentionally inspire a sense of déjà vu, the career mode (frustratingly) will do much the same thing. Progression is achieved by earning enough stars to climb to the next tier, which gradually gets harder as you move on. The game features its trademark animated storyline, which sees various stars brought together by the mysterious God Of Rock in order to power an ancient rocking artefact. Instead of concert halls and festivals, shows are performed throughout numerous Wonders Of The World, such as the Amazon Rainforest and the London sewerage system. The locations are all fairly interesting and colourful, while the story provides brief enjoyment, but ultimately neither does very much to add to the game.

Call it resting on your laurels, but the biggest saving grace for Greatest Hits is that despite not changing a thing, it still features some excellent gameplay. Once again, playing with the full set of instruments is the way to go, and gather together a few people who played the original games and you have the opportunity to strum, sing and drum along to some of the series’ best tunes (if not all of them). Gone are the days when you'd have to wait for somebody to play through Lynrd Skynrd's 'Freebird' before you got your go, or change the disc between Twisted Sister's 'I Wanna Rock' and Boston's 'More Than A Feeling'. First-time Guitar Hero developers Beenox Studios have done a decent job of recreating the Guitar Hero experience to incorporate band play, as well as adding newer features such as touch sections and additional notes during sustains.

While undoubtedly pleasing to some, the addition of touch sections to all of those older tunes does make the game easier to play. A perfect example of this is throughout the cripplingly difficult 'Through The Fire And Flames', which despite still being a killer to complete, feels slightly easier thanks to the sliding sections introduced in World Tour. Others will notice a re-ordering of some songs, with former "Face Melter" 'Godzilla' demoted to a second tier tune, while former "Opening Lick" 'Thunder Kiss '65' gets ramped up considerably. It all goes to show that Beenox Studios has worked hard on its button mapping and has succeeded in making the game's music follow a slightly more logical order.

The game also features online modes and the music studio, but depressingly both follow the game's lazy recycled theme, and neither makes any attempt to offer anything new to long-term fans. Even the tutorials are the same, which may not be a big deal, but it does leave you questioning the logic of releasing this as a fully fledged (and priced) game, as opposed to World Tour downloadable content.

Guitar Hero: Greatest Hits is a disappointing entry into the Guitar Hero series due to a perceived lack of effort and reluctance to attempt anything new. With Guitar Hero 5 said to contain a bevy of new features and modes, it seems a shame that for forty plus pounds, Activision couldn't have used Greatest Hits as a guinea pig for the actual sequel, or waited until after 5 is released and incorporated its gameplay updates. On the plus side, Beenox Studios has done a good job in faithfully recreating the Guitar Hero experience, ensuring that at least the gameplay remains as strong as ever. In an increasingly saturated genre (and franchise), one feels that with Greatest Hits bigger would have almost certainly been better, and would have left consumers slightly more satisfied that they were getting enough bang for their buck.


> What do you think of the game? Share your views

You May Like

More: Gaming

Comments

Loading...