Guitar Hero: Aerosmith (360) – Review

cover Guitar Hero: Aerosmith is the second expansion/spin-off of the Guitar Hero, the first being the rather dismal Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s.  This time around, RedOctane and Neversoft have focused the game on the career of one of rock’s more influential bands, Aerosmith, providing a song list with more than half the titles from the band, the rest from groups that Aerosmith based their style on or similar genre-wise.  While the game shows a lot more effort by the developers than Rocks the 80s, the fact that the game is short is a major problem, and likely puts this in the rent column for all but die-hard Aerosmith fans.

Gameplay: A-

There’s almost no point in repeating the usual spiel about Guitar Hero games –  GH: Aerosmith plays pretty much just the same.  The only easily observable difference on the controller is that hammer-ons/pull-offs were easier to do.  This makes Hard (the level I completed first) about equal footing to mid-range Rock Band Expert; low range Guitar Hero II Hard, and higher-end Guitar Hero III Medium into it’s low-end Hard range – in other words, there is no “wall” that will prevent you from enjoying the songs.  I will also note that in the 360 version, career achievements (finally!) stack, meaning if you finish Hard, you also get credit for Medium and Easy. (Hint hint, this makes it a great rental title for this reason alone).

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The primary structure change is that in each of the six sets, the first two songs are the opening acts for Aerosmith proper, and you need to complete those before moving to two more Aerosmith songs, finally finishing at the encore song.  There is only one Boss Battle with Joe Perry in the last set, but its relatively easy to pass (and if you fail a few times, the game allows you to skip it).  With ten additional songs to be unlocked in the Vault, this gives you 41 songs in this game.

There is one significant flaw in the game; not a game wrecker but it should have been caught.  When you play in the opening bands, you select one of the standard characters, but when you switch to Aerosmith songs, you play as Joe Perry.  Perry’s fretboard (as shown here) on screen isn’t necessarily bad, but there are two visual problems with it: the first is that if you are not watching for the yellow (middle) note, it may sometimes be easily missed in the pattern of the fret.  The second is that when you go Star Power, most of the fret becomes blue – just like all the notes, and again, if you aren’t carefully paying attention, you’ll miss notes.  This is only a problem in Career mode (or unless you want to Quickplay as Perry), and maybe only got me on the last two tiers, but still, I figured that would have been something they would have caught.

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Value/Replayability: C+

Here’s the largest fault of the game – it’s short and on the easy side – I got it at 11am and was down in Hard, with all but 5 songs 5-starred, by 2:30pm.  It does help that there is the added variety of the opening acts as after a while, I was starting to get bored of listening to Steven Tyler.  What more there is beyond the core game is very small: videos and interviews with Aerosmith about their career, but that’s it.  Now, this isn’t the easy cash-in that Rocks the 80s was; all the venues are new and the menu/interface graphics are similar in style, it is not just a recoloring that Rocks the 80s did, so it is a step up from there.  However, as I like but am not fanatical about Aerosmith, I really wonder if this would have been better served as DLC, because I’m having a hard time otherwise justifying $60 spent on it.  Both it’s length and lasting appeal will probably make this a renter for most.

Graphics: B+

One aspect that is good is that Aerosmith – particularly Steven Tyler – does fit the Neversoft graphics approach to this game.  With the motion capture to get all the band members looking right, they look right at home among the other characters. However, it is interesting to compared the visuals during the opening acts (when your character and the old stand-by band members, including Mr. Muppet-head singer) and Aerosmith’s songs; in the former, your guitarist is mostly center stage of the camera, but when doing the Aerosmith songs, suddenly Steven Tyler is (and in two cases, Run D.M.C. also steps in as singer).  If this was Rock Band, I could understand this, but the game is Guitar Hero, and that’s still the key feature of the game I expect to see.

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Beyond that, the new venues are pretty good looking (though I note that the surroundings of the last one, at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, look nothing like Cleveland).

Audio: A-

Again, as a listener but not a fan of Aerosmith, I think the song selection is pretty good, though I note it focuses mostly on the 1970s stuff, with only a handful of more recent works.   The opening acts are pretty consistent with Aerosmith’s style, however, this does lead to a small problem that all the songs are roughly the same playing style and lack the fuller variety of the other Guitar Hero games.  The Vault also contains a bunch of songs from Joe Perry which are ok, and make sense to include, but again, they aren’t really Aerosmith.

Overall: B-

Guitar Hero: Aerosmith is a decent game if it was at a lower price – $40 may be ok, $30 would have made sense (as that’s about as much as I’d expect to pay in DLC).  But while this is everything Guitar Hero is, albeit backed off in difficulty, it’s really hard to set a $60 price for a game containing 2/3rd of the songs of the previous $60 Guitar Hero III.  If Aerosmith is your favorite band, you can likely justify the cost, but this is a renter for most everyone else.

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2 Responses

  1. […] week we have been playing: Left 4 Dead (Xbox 360), Katamari Damacy (PS2), Myst (PC), Super C (NES), Guitar Hero Aerosmith (Xbox 360), World of Goo (WiiWare), Rock Band 2 (Xbox 360), Call of Duty 4 (Xbox 360), Empire Total […]

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