Kombo’s Review Policy: Our reviews are written for you. Our goal is to write honest, to-the-point reviews that don’t waste your time. This is why we’ve split our reviews into four sections: What the Game’s About, What’s Hot, What’s Not and Final Word, so that you can easily find the information you want from our reviews.
What the Game’s About
Guitar Hero is a franchise that burst onto the scene in a big way on the PS2 and has seen releases on every console out there and even Nintendo’s current handheld. By now, every active gamer understands what Guitar Hero is and how it works, but the excitement behind the series is still at an all time high. To celebrate (and capitalize) on the long time popularity of the American-born band, Aerosmith, Activision has put out an edition of Guitar Hero dedicated to the band. The game plays like any other Guitar Hero, but it’s peppered with Aerosmith information, video clips, venues with historical significance to the band, and other related fan service.
Depending on how big of a fan you are of Aerosmith, your enjoyment of the game could vary greatly. The game progresses in the same way as past Guitar Hero games. You work your way through each venue, playing a few opening songs by various groups, and then play a short set as Aerosmith. Fans of the band get to see the venues in which Aerosmith has built their career, and between each venue change, band members will share stories and thoughts about each stage of their career through short video clips.
Seeing Aerosmith faithfully recreated in 3D will be a treat for those familiar enough with the band to recognize their unique performance style. Steven Tyler’s trademark arm flailings and funky dance steps are well captured, as well as the rest of the band’s signature stylings.
Despite being an Aerosmith-themed Guitar Hero, Activision was smart enough to include music from other groups to give the game some variety. For the most part, the songs are pretty enjoyable, and they seem to mesh while with the Aerosmith selections. For those that aren’t too fond of Aerosmith, there may still be a few songs here worth checking out.
Most of what can be considered hot by one gamer can also be viewed as a negative by another. If you’re not fan of Aerosmith, then the video clips and venues will be mostly meaningless to you. While you might find some of the Aerosmith tunes catchy, many of them were chosen to appeal directly to their dedicate fan base, and not so much to the mainstream. It’s a minor gripe that will arise from within the casual Aerosmith fan base, but it’s worth pointing out.
Since the game is built upon the exact same gameplay engine as Guitar Hero III, the overall experience feels more like an expansion rather than a full standalone product. It really feels like the majority of the game could have been delivered just as effectively through DLC offerings. At the same price of a regular game, the price tag begins to feel a bit hefty for the content offered. No doubt hardcore fans will be willing to fork out the money required for Guitar Hero’s homage to Aerosmith, but it’s hard to justify for anybody else.
While many of the Aerosmith songs are suited well for the Guitar Hero experience, many of the riff-heavy songs can be repetitious to the point where they feel tiresome. Even Aerosmith addicts will notice this failing a few times throughout the progression of the tracks.
Guitar Hero: Aerosmith is enjoyable, and it’s pretty impressive as far as fan service goes, but its appeal is going to be fairly limited. With no new steps forward, the game feels like a bit of an overpriced expansion, rather than a whole new Guitar Hero experience. While we did feel that the addition of songs from other bands helped to keep some variety in the set list, maybe the best route would have been to have just offered the Aerosmith songs via DLC or a budget-priced disc. If you simply can’t wait for more Guitar Hero, and you don’t mind Aerosmith, then the game might be worth a rental and a marathon play or two. If you’re a true Aerosmith fan, then picking up Guitar Hero: Aerosmith is a no brainer, if you don’t mind the asking price.