he move to band-specific content releases is a smart one for Activision. It’s an easy incentive to offer big names (like Aerosmith) to gain access to their back catalogue, and a new retail disc can be released with a unifying concept behind it, even through very little has changed from the base game.
Enthusiasts may wonder why they can’t just download these songs for their existing copy of Guitar Hero III. It’s a fair gripe, but it must be balanced against the numerous small features that flesh out Guitar Hero Aerosmith beyond the new songs. New venues and motion-captured versions of the titular band look great, and the video interviews with its members are a blast for music history buffs.
The music itself certainly shouldn’t garner too many complaints – a lot of Aerosmith’s best stuff is playable here, from “Sweet Emotion” to “Love in an Elevator.” There’s also some fantastic music from bands that played with these Hall of Famers over the years, from Ted Nugent to Run-DMC, even if some of these songs are covers.
I feel foolish describing this now ubiquitous gameplay style to the uninformed. Suffice to say, the falling gem gameplay is easy to pick up and play, thanks to some great track layout work from Neversoft. It should come as no surprise that the last couple song tiers are challenging, particularly when dipping into one of Joe Perry’s inimitable solos. Unfortunately, it’s all over too soon – the game only has 41 songs – a little over half of what Guitar Hero III boasts. With the impending release of Guitar Hero: World Tour, I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that downloadable content for this Aerosmith release will be sparse.
Love the band-focused formula or hate it, Guitar Hero: Aerosmith is a herald of things to come. This won’t be the last Guitar Hero with an individual band for a subtitle. It remains to be seen whether a public that increasingly downloads singles and listens to mix CDs still wants a musical experience focused on a single act. Whatever the answer, Guitar Hero Aerosmith delivers where it counts — with great music enhanced by the chance to play along.