Monday, June 30, 2008

Dream On

Well, a new Guitar Hero game released this weekend, so I guess it goes without saying that it’s time for E to commence with the proselytizing...

The latest release is Guitar Hero: Aerosmith; a game, if you can’t tell by the title, that focuses on the music of rock legends Aerosmith. GH:A allows you to step into the shoes of Joe Perry (or, in multiplayer, Tom Hamilton or Brad Whitford) and rock out to old Aerosmith classics that we all know and love.

The first thing that struck me while playing through the songlist is that they did not stick to just the well known hits of Aerosmith. Sure, you’ll be playing Love in an Elevator, Rag Doll and Livin’ on the Edge, but at the same time you’ll be kicking to lesser known tunes like No Surprize, Nobody’s Fault and Uncle Salty. What this means for the player is a more well rounded experience. One that completely skips their gagtacular ballads like Angel, Crazy and Amazing. (Hint for Aerosmith, stick to songs with more than one word in the title, those tend to be your better ones.) On top of the heaps of Aerosmith you’ll be playing, there are also 12 songs by a wide assortment of bands such as Mott the Hoople, Cheap Trick and Stone Temple Pilots.

Gameplay is much the same as what we’ve come to expect from the Guitar Hero series. The more advanced players will find that the timing window on notes and HO/POs has been reduced, giving a wee bit more challenge on the complicated parts, though not by any major amount. Neversoft seems to have gleaned a better understanding of note charts this go around, as well. There are no songs in this game designed to be difficult just for the sake of being difficult. (Slipknot from GH3, I’m looking at you.)

The graphics, I’m sure, are clean and good looking and Aerosmith themselves are no doubt meticulously rendered. However, any player worth their salt in Guitar Hero will remark of the graphics with, “What, there’s graphics in this game? I thought there were just the notes.” Seriously, once you start playing, everything but the notes disappears.

On a more serious graphical note, it’s worth pointing out that Aerosmith came into the studio and performed full motion capture of them performing each of their songs. If you’re just watching the game, there’s plenty to see as the highly detailed Steven Tyler opens his massive mouth to croon while Brad Whitford stares blankly in one direction. (I’ve seen them in concert several times and that’s exactly what he does.)

The difficulty has been lowered on this one. If you’re new to the Guitar Hero franchise, this is an excellent starter game. The songs are challenging enough to be fun but never over the top difficult. If nothing else GH:A will end up as a great competition game as 100%ing songs should not be hard at all for experienced players.

Every GH game has one or two standout songs and without question the high point of Aerosmith is playing Walk This Way with Run DMC. The note chart is a blast on this one, really giving you a feel for that funky groove and kicking into some very fun solos by the end.

All in all GH:A is a worthy entry in the Guitar Hero series. It’s certainly not as massive as some of the other games, but it holds its own and is well worth the money. If nothing else, it’s 42 new songs to inject into our collective veins until the arrival of Guitar Hero: World Tour.

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