Guitar Hero: Aerosmith Review

Daniel Birkholz

Have you ever wanted to jam on stage next to Joe Perry? Ever wanted Steven Tyler to be howling his lungs out next to you? Ever wanted to be part of The Bad Boys from Boston? Look no further my friend, this is Guitar Hero: Aerosmith.

Developed by Neversoft, Guitar Hero: Aerosmith is the latest installment in the Guitar Hero series. As the name would suggest, you spend the majority of this game playing songs by the American rock band Aerosmith and from the moment you put the disk in, until you shut down your console, you will be seeing non-stop Aerosmith. Once you start up the game you will want to start a new career. You can pick the name for your own band, choose your own non-customizable character (same start characters as GH III), and choose your guitar. Although this is fun and all, you may feel a sense of deja-vu. This is because the game is set up almost exactly like the game Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock title. After you have gotten over that strange feeling, you can view the opening cutscene before being given a brief bit of background information from the Aerosmith band members on how they started the band. Now it’s on to play at Aerosmith’s first gig, a local high school, where you will show up with your band and play the opening two songs for Aerosmith. Whilst the crowd is roaring and the lights are flashing, you will be asked to bring on Aerosmith. Quickly accepting, you start up a song playing as Aerosmith. This is only the start to your career as the greatest American band ever…

While you may not notice it immediately, the time frame you have for hitting notes in this title is significantly less than its predecessor. Although this does not detract from the game in any way, it is noticeable enough to mention. Fans of the Guitar Hero series will know everything else as far as what to expect gameplay wise. Hold a plastic guitar in your hands, jam really hard, nail an awesome solo, and then jam some more. As usual, the HUD is another key game play characteristic, and once again it is exactly the same as Guitar Hero III. Apart from looking at what song is being played, there is no way at all to tell which game is being played. Longtime fans of the series will notice that the gameplay and note charts for this installment are significantly easier, previous games have all had their monster song, be it “Jordan” or “Through the Fire and Flames”, but Guitar Hero: Aerosmith lacks such a beast. Conquering these mythical songs was a feat reserved for the best of the best, but now, there is no way to show that you are the lord of shred. Neversoft does come close to this with an achievement for getting a beefy score on Train Kept a Rollin’, but this still does not stand up to legendary “Kicked the Bucket” or “The Inhuman Achievement” for beating Jordan in GH II or Through the Fire and Flames in GH III, respectively.

Look familiar?

This time around the multiplayer offers nothing new and as usual the game modes you can choose from are “Co-op”, “Pro Face Off”, “Face Off”, and “Battle”. "Co-op" is exactly what you would expect, you and a friend playing a song together. One person plays guitar while the other will play bass or rhythm, depending on the song. In "Pro Face Off", it is an all out war to see who can get more points on the same song, head to head if you will. This is by far the most fun multiplayer game to play. When the game ends and the winner’s name is up on the screen, there is no disputing that they are the superior rocker. In "Face Off", you and your opponent switch over playing the same song; player one will play a short segment, and then player two will follow. This is good if you want to play some faster paced songs that you normally could not keep up with. But, with both players playing different segments of the song, conflict may arise on who had the harder parts. In the last game mode, "Battle", you don’t have to wait out the whole song to win. The object in this game is to make your opponent fail. You will both be playing the same song, but instead of receiving star power phrases you will receive battle attacks. These range from lefty flip to a broken string to amp overload. Once you have received a battle attack you can tilt your guitar up and unleash a devastating blow on your opponent and of course, using these in a clever combination along with yelling and kicking will yield you a victory in Battle mode. All of these games can be played online in player matches or ranked matches (co-op is player match only).

The one field that this game does fine in is sound. Whether you are listening to a wailing solo by Joe Perry or the steady beat of Dream Police it will feel good to be playing it. The main reason this will sound good is because, well, you are making it! If you are not playing properly or are not keeping the beat correctly, you will notice from the screeching and open notes you hear. But, if you play well you will be rewarded by the beautiful sound the song you are playing coming through your speakers perfectly. Although the selection of songs certainly will not appeal to everyone, most of the songs that were chosen for the game are solid. My largest complaint would have to be that the game lacks some of Aerosmith's biggest and best songs. You will be able to hear songs from all parts of Aerosmith’s career, along with other bands that either opened for Aerosmith or inspired them. All in all it sounds great to be rocking out to a quality song with the crowd roaring. You will really feel like a rock star.

Steven Tyler at his best!

Once you have finished up your career and have learned all about Aerosmith you may feel anxious to play more. There are a few bonus songs to purchase, and some of them are fun. But when it comes down to it, this game is just is not very fun to replay. There are way too many Aerosmith songs and you may become sick of hearing Steven Tyler by the fourth or fifth tier. This game just doesn’t hold up as a solid title in the Guitar Hero series. Fans of the series should pick it up, along with die-hard Aerosmith fans, but if you are just starting to play, I would suggest you pass this up and try out GH III instead. With the insane $60 ($100 with guitar) price tag on this game, you had better like Aerosmith.

Seeing as it is a music game, one would hope it sounds good, unfortunately, this title lacks this quality. There is far too little variety and you may grow tired of Aerosmith quickly. Yes, there are many great songs from Aerosmith, but there are so many missing. Where are "Dude Looks Like a Lady", "Jaded", or "Janie's Got a Gun"? I would expect more big hits from Aeosmith and less songs that are decent at best. With a complete lack of modern day music you had better like Aerosmith and rock n' roll from the 70's.

Although there are no major flaws in the visuals, it is exactly like GH III. There is barely any change at all, in fact, the only real noticeable change is the menus. Of course the graphics are nothing special, but Guitar Hero games don’t need fancy visuals to play extremely well. The notes on the fret board look shiny and that is all that really matters in a game like this.

The Guitar Hero series has always been one that anyone can pick up and learn to play quickly. At the same time though, it is one of the hardest games on the market to master. The game play is easy enough for anyone to understand and this is what makes the Guitar Hero series so good. Players new to the series may not mind, but there is a lack of difficult songs in this game. Veterans to the series will grow tired of playing most of the songs quite quickly. With an official statement from Neversoft saying there will be no DLC, there really is no hope at all for more of a challenge at any point in this title's shelf life.

There is nothing special about the layout of GH: Aerosmith. The menus have the same text as previous games and the online multiplayer is also the same. It really just looks like a shortened version of GH III, but with Steven Tyler on the main menu. While there is nothing extraordinarily wrong with this, it just feels more like a crappy track pack from GH III.

This list is close to perfect. The achievement names are all creative and entertaining to do. Most of the names are the names of Aerosmith songs, which add to the fun to getting them. The achievements for finishing careers are finally stacked and there are no more five star achievements. The reason the list does not get a 100 is the stupid losing and failing achievements. You get achievements for failing songs, failing late in songs, failing in co-op, losing ranked games, etc. It is annoying to go out of my way just to lose to people online, or to invite a friend over so we can play a song and then fail it 95% of the way through. Without these the list is perfect. The average player can most likely get a pretty high score, but to obtain the full 1000 you will need buckets of skill.

Although it is a decent game I couldn’t help but feel I was playing an expansion pack for GH III. There are few songs with no improvements over from the last game, and it even plays exactly the same. This may not be so bad if I had paid the price of a normal expansion pack for it, but this game cost me just as much as GH III. With half the songs and no new features, this game is a bit of a disappointment, I think this could have turned out great as a DLC expansion pack, but of course the developers got greedy and wanted more money. Hopefully this is just to keep fans occupied while waiting for Guitar Hero World Tour to come out.

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