Monday, July 21, 2008

Review: "Guitar Hero: Aerosmith"

To hold fans of the “Guitar Hero” series over until the fourth installment arrives this fall, Activision delivers what could be the first in a series of artist-based titles, “Guitar Hero: Aerosmith.” (Rumor has it that “Guitar Hero: Metallica” is already in the works for a 2009 release).

While it’s still more of an expansion pack for “Guitar Hero III” than a new game, “Guitar Hero: Aerosmith” does manage to bring a few new twists to the table, unlike last years “Guitar Hero Rocks the ’80s.” While the game follows the basic pattern and rules of “GH III,” in career mode players must first perform two songs as an opening band before they unlock Aerosmith for that level and get to rock out on the band’s classic tunes.

The opening band numbers include classic songs from bands like Cheap Trick, Ted Nugent, Joan Jett, The Clash, Run DMC and more, all hand-picked by the members of Aerosmith. Most of them are the actual songs, rather than the covers that have dominated past installments of the game (though there are still four or five of those.) Once you get past those, there are two Aerosmith tunes and an encore to unlock a video of the band discussing its career and move to the next level.

The venues here are integral to Aerosmith’s history from the high school where they played their first gig, to Max’s Kansas City where they were discovered to the Orpheum Theatre where they reunited in the early 1980s to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame and halftime of “the big game.”

Perhaps the best part of this game is the playlist in career mode. Notably absent are overrated and oversaturated tunes like “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” “Janie’s Got a Gun,” “Dude (Looks Like a Lady)” and the “CryinAmazaCrazy” trilogy. Instead, we get some underappreciated gems from the catalogue, like “Movin’ Out,” “No Surprize,” “Uncle Salty,” “Nobody’s Fault” (my personal Aerosmith fave) and the Joe Perry vocal on “Bright Light Fright.” I was disappointed in the decision to use the Run DMC version of “Walk This Way,” but the real version is included as an unlockable extra and that’s a minor quibble for a set list that’s heavy on hard-rocking classics and light on the newer hits.

All in all “Guitar Hero: Aerosmith” is a short, but enjoyable add-on that should whet your appetite for “Guitar Hero World Tour,” due out just in time for Christmas, of course. More of these artist-based titles would be welcome.

Get "Guitar Hero: Aerosmith" for Wii.
Get "Guitar Hero: Aerosmith" bundle for Wii.

Get "Guitar Hero: Aerosmith" for Xbox 360.
Get "Guitar Hero: Aerosmith" bundle for Xbox 360.

Get "Guitar Hero: Aerosmith" for PS3.
Get "Guitar Hero: Aerosmith" bundle for PS3.

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