Review: Guitar Hero Rocks the 80′s
Like so many others, I’ve fallen deep into the Guitar Hero series. So, it was a forgone conclusion that I was going to spend the vast majority of last night playing my way through the brand new Guitar Hero Rocks the 80′s. Like a slavish addict, I made the early morning trek to the store to pick up my reserved copy of the game and counted the hours away at work until I could get my hands on the plastic guitar and begin to shred out those classic rock tunes from the 80′s.
Guitar Hero Rocks the 80′s (PlayStation 2 [reviewed])
Publisher: Red Octane/Activision
Released: July 24, 2007
Out of the box, it’s obvious that this version is built right on top of the Guitar Hero 2 interface. If you played that one, you’ll feel right at home in the new game. Gameplay is very familiar, and you’ll find no changes to what you’re used to here, and that’s a good thing. One of the great things about the Guitar Hero series is that anyone can pick it up and play. Sure, there’s no innovation in this release, but it wasn’t broken before, so why mess with it?
The big draw for any Guitar Hero title is the track list. The songs for Guitar Hero Rocks the 80′s are drawn right from the heart of the 80′s culture, including hair band icons Poison, Ratt and Twisted Sister. The addition of quirky favorites like I think I’m Turning Japanese and Only a Lad help to bring the decade fully into your mind. There are even some songs that aren’t known for their guitar licks, like I Ran from Flock of Seagulls, which was originally played entirely on synthesizers.
Unfortunately, I’m walking away from Guitar Hero Rocks the 80′s feeling a bit slighted. As much as the series had right in Guitar Hero 2, you’d think that keeping that formula would be way to go. For some reason, this version feels rushed. The stable of available characters has been reduced to 5, with only one unlockable character. Likewise, there are no bonus tracks provided. Yes, this was information that was given to us prior to launch, but hearing it and actually experiencing it are two different things. Rather than feeling like a solid new game experience, this feels like a trumped-up expansion pack.
On the whole, Guitar Hero Rocks the 80′s just feels like something that was slapped together in a couple of weeks, and tossed out the door in the hopes of capitalizing on the immense popularity of the series. With the stripped down extras, this feels like something that should have been an add-on, rather than a full game, and definitely not something that should have sported a $50 price tag.
Activision needs to make sure that Guitar Hero 3 returns the series to the heights that Guitar Hero 2 pushed it to. They can’t afford another mediocre release in the same time frame that Rock Band hits stores. Granted, fans of the series are going to scoop up anything with the Guitar Hero tag on it, but the good will the series has generated will quickly dwindle if this type of release becomes the norm. It may have been a better option for Activision to make this a less expensive add on (maybe in the $30 range) for the PS2, and offer it as downloadable content for gamers with the Xbox 360 version of Guitar Hero 2.
If you’d like to check out the full track list, you can do so here on Gaming Today