Publisher: Activision Inc.
Publisher 2: RedOctane
Developer: Neversoft Entertainment
N Amer - 06/29/2008
Guitar Hero: Aerosmith Review
Even though the series is only a couple of years old, you’d be hard-pressed to find a single gamer out there who has not tried at least one Guitar Hero game. After several different iterations across many major systems (including a recently released handheld edition on the Nintendo DS), the franchise is one of (if not the) most popular rhythm games on the planet. Now, publisher Activision is releasing the latest console entry to the series, albeit taking a slightly different approach than the norm.
As opposed to equally representing a variety of rock bands across the board, Guitar Hero: Aerosmith serves as an homage to the well-known Boston rock group, composed of Steve Tyler, Joe Perry, Brad Whitford, Tom Hamilton, and Joey Kramer, touching on a decent chunk of their hits and classic rock anthems from the past four decades. The gameplay is tried-and-true Guitar Hero, as the mechanics of this entry are completely lifted from the previous entry, Guitar Hero III, so there’s really not much new here. Also, it goes without saying that your enjoyment of GH: Aerosmith ultimately hinges on how big of a fan you are of the band. If you are a fan of the band, however, as well as a fan of the Guitar Hero series, then this one should be worth the price of admission.
The mechanics of Guitar Hero: Aerosmith are tantamount to Guitar Hero III in terms of notes and button responsiveness. The user interface is the same, and hammer-ons and pull-ups feel just like they do in Guitar Hero III if not a touch more responsive. The boss battles make a brief reappearance in the career mode, as do the multiplayer modes from Guitar Hero III, like Face-Off, Battle, and Co-Op, both online and off. All in all, the only true difference between Guitar Hero: Aerosmith and Guitar Hero III is the setlist.
The game does a fine job of putting you into the shoes of Aerosmith. The game gives you a good history of the band through the cut scenes featuring interview segments by the band members, which serve to set up the next venue. Each venue bears some sense of importance to the band, like their Super Bowl performance and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
While Aerosmith is definitely the main band in this Guitar Hero entry, there are still a decent chunk of other bands featured in the game. These songs make up the opening band tracks, and are hand-picked by Aerosmith themselves. In each tier, there are two tracks from different openers, followed by three Aerosmith tracks, including the encore. However, none of the opener tracks are terribly new, as the newest track from a band other than Aerosmith is “Sex Type Thing” by Stone Temple Pilots, which dropped way back in 1992.
The difficulty level is also a lot more casual and accessible in Guitar Hero: Aerosmith than in its predecessor. Granted, this is Aerosmith, so those expecting finger-shredding Slayer riffs would be quite mistaken, but players who have finished Guitar Hero III on Expert won’t have much of a problem getting through this entry’s 40+ tracks.
Graphically, the game isn’t far removed from Guitar Hero III, as the interface looks mostly the same, save for a few aesthetic changes here and there. The biggest graphical addition is the inclusion of the likenesses of each member of the band. Guitar Hero: Aerosmith recreates the look of the band, but retains the cartoony feel of its predecessor. Unfortunately, the end result looks a little frightening, as the band members just don’t feel quite right.
The game’s setlist is quite impressive, offering master track versions of all of the Aerosmith tracks (some of the opener tracks are cover versions). While there are some notable omissions from the band’s back catalogue, like “Janie’s Got a Gun” and “Cryin’”, quintessential hits like “Sweet Emotion”, “Dream On” and “Walk this Way” (both the original and Run-DMC versions are playable).
As I mentioned earlier your level of enjoyment with Guitar Hero: Aerosmith will ultimately rely on how into Aerosmith you are. If you love the band, and enjoy Guitar Hero, then this is a good way to enjoy a retrospective of the band’s history. However, if you are not much of a fan, then you’re probably better off saving up for Guitar Hero: World Tour.
Review Scoring Details for Guitar Hero: Aerosmith
The tried-and-true mechanics from Guitar Hero III return in this version, and the only real difference between the two games is the tracklist.
The character models and interface have been juiced up to make it more faithful to the band, but the new Aerosmith avatars look kind of frightening.
While there are some missing hits, the game provides a respectable look at Aerosmith’s catalogue, all via great sounding master tracks. The few covers that there are from opening bands sound pretty good, as well.
The game’s presentation looks pretty good, and the cutscenes with band interviews are a nice touch.
The multiplayer modes from Guitar Hero III return, but the game is sorely lacking downloadable content.
An entry to the Guitar Hero series focusing on the history of one band is a risky move, but fans of Aerosmith should enjoy this retrospective.