Review: Guitar Hero Rocks the 80′s

Guitar Hero Rocks the 80Like 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])
Developer: Harmonix
Publisher: Red Octane/Activision
Released: July 24, 2007
MSRP: $49.99

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

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12 Comments on Review: Guitar Hero Rocks the 80′s

License to ill

On July 25, 2007 at 2:40 pm

$50? :roll: No thanks…


On July 25, 2007 at 5:43 pm

Milking it, I see


On July 26, 2007 at 12:38 am

This is defently not worth it. I love GH2 and play it almost daily cuz my Rainbow six suffered a Xbox disk scratch ring. However for the ammount of songs in GH 80′s is not worth the $60 in Canada. Even as a DL for the 360 id not pay anymore than $30. $1 per song is ok. If they had like 60 songs or so then ya its worth the $60.

For myself i will be jumping ship. Cannot wait for Rockband. lets hope they manage their songs better. and not suffer the same as overpriced GH2 song DLs. packs of 3 is horrible, you many only like one song and hate the other 2 etc…
there should be indivual DLs id pay more for indivual songs i want.

I can bet almost sure, that when Rockband comes out there wont be no legendary Guitar hero, it will be Rockband the new King of rock n roll. Its obvious to see this.

So Activision stop cheaping out, and milking it for all its worth, or you will see Rockband Madness. Stop milking people to buy over priced songs for one good song and forcing them to two garbage ones. We all know Rockband this is gonna sell mad. It makes me feel good because Activisio when you try to milk something for all its worth ,it goes bust. No Cash Cow for you.


On July 26, 2007 at 8:43 pm

:evil: I am so angry that GH-80′s was so expensive and so crappy! I grew up in the 80′s and haven’t heard some of those songs! I am an avid GH player, but that just sucked! Luckily I bought it at a store that offers a 10 dollar rebate. If I had known that it just got a shot coat of primer and booted out the door I wouldn’t have bought it!


On July 29, 2007 at 7:50 pm

I liked rocks the 80s for one reason… new songs. But the game doesnt have anything creative. The venues are the same, the characters are the same (other than a change of clothes), there is only one unlockable character – grim reaper (who didnt see that one coming), the guitar rewards are the same for beating each level of difficulty, and there arent any extra songs to buy with that hard earned concert money. On a scale of 0 – 10 I would give it a 6 — simply for the 30 songs. the game was a flop, not worth 50 bucks.


On July 30, 2007 at 6:51 pm

:oops: well i can say one thing. THAT WAS MONEY WELL SPENT


On July 31, 2007 at 2:03 pm

it just seems strange to me that they focus so much on the fact that the characters had new outfits, rather than other more important things. instead of the usual 8 levels of a guitar hero game, this one had 5. everything from the start up screen to the venues was the same (well, they changed a few colors) i really think the game would be completly worthwhile if they were to have TONS of stuff to buy at the store. also, all the guitars were the normal guitarr hero 2 guitars, i think there were like two new ones.

i agree, i believe the new guitar hero was just slapped together. it’s a shame, i feel really cheated that i saved two months worth of babysitting money for it.

Steve Riley

On August 1, 2007 at 10:41 pm

Why is it limited to PS2…? makes me quite upset.


On August 6, 2007 at 7:20 pm

WOW! 50 bucks is alot for tht game! i rented it and i like it . but i agree totaly not worth tht much. they arnt many songs. i meen i really like it and all but not that much. i guess it really all depends on the person though to say weather they like the game or not.


On August 7, 2007 at 10:37 pm

:shock: Are you people serious?!?!?! How could any of you like this game? This would be a sad excuse for a game even if it came out on dreamcast. It was obvious that the greedy bastards at activision sat down and said, “let’s do what we can to make an ass load of money without really doing any work”. The only people who should get any credit for this game are the musicians, the designers should get a swift kick in the nuts. Instead of paying $50 for this game I should’ve just messed with the tint control on my television while playing GH2. What the hell was up with that song selection? Where was the AC/DC, Styx, Journey, REO, Def Lepard, or what about Bon Jovi for christ sake. Everyone knows that 80′s Bon Jovi is the only good Bon Jovi. Why in god’s name was Thunderstruck not in this game!?!?!?! WE GOT THE BEAT by the GO GO’s……ARE YOU SERIOUS!!!!!!!??


On August 13, 2007 at 11:57 am

What!! NO BON*JOVI? You gotta be kidding me , they totally had it in the 80′s and they still got it going on!!


On October 26, 2008 at 10:23 am

Damn straight! The game sucks! I’ve been going through a Bon Jovi obsession for a while now and i can not belive that it’s not here! I mean, “Livin’ on a Prayer” was the NUMBER ONE SONG of the 80s for cryin out loud!