Guitar Hero: Van Halen

by – “Tiger” Oliver

Pros:
If you got it free from the
Guitar Hero 5 promo, you’re getting your money’s worth.
GH Tunes brings back user-created songs not featured in
GH 5.
A decent set list.

Cons:
No Sammy Hagar-era songs at all.
GH Tunes doesn’t sound right this go ’round.
Plays basically like
Guitar Hero: World Tour; all the GH 5 features are absent.
A decent set list… outside of most the Van Halen.

It’s time for ANOTHER Guitar Hero game to be released, right off of the heels of the far-too-Pop-for-my-tastes Band Hero. This time, Van Halen gets their chance at pixilated immortality with Guitar Hero: Van Halen.

And, I’m sorry, but there’s a lot of things wrong with this game that should have been right in the first place – mainly the fact that this should have been a Guitar Hero 5 DLC.

GH: Van Halen features 25 songs from Van Halen, including “Hot For Teacher” and “You Really Got Me” (which have already appeared in previous Guitar Hero‘s). The other 19 songs are from groups handpicked by Wolfgang Van Halen – current bassist for the band and son of Eddie Van Halen – which features Killswitch Engage, The Offspring, Foreigner, Weezer and Fountains of Wayne, to name a few.

While the guest setlist is decent (I mean, c’mon, “Stacy’s Mom” in a Van Halen ga- oh, okay, now it makes sense), the problems start there and get amplified  by the Van Halen set list, which I will get to later.

So, let the gripe session begin.

Gameplay – 3/5
Guitar Hero: Van Halen takes a step back from Guitar Hero 5 in the sense that all the added features to GH5 and Band Hero have been scrapped, so gameplay is very much like GH: World Tour and Smash Hits. While the setlist isn’t as massive, it would have been lovely to have those features implemented. Besides that, it plays like all the Guitar Hero‘s after III.

The only thing that saves this from a 2/5 is the intro to the career mode. Playing “Panama” and  “Running With the Devil” right off the bat captures the atmosphere that is a Van Halen show.

Graphics – 3/5
I would give this a 4/5, but I have to dock it a point because of three avatar issues. The first being that you can’t play as any of the older Van Halen members. No Sammy Hagar, no Michael Anthony, no Gary Cherone. Second, you have to unlock the older versions of each, the current representations are the ones you start out with. Now, I haven’t unlocked any of Wolfgang’s, but I can guess that there’s a fair chance that he’ll probably have a fetus avatar for the 80’s, seeing as he was born in ’91. Thirdly, you can’t play as your XBOX Live avatar (or, at least I don’t think so, I never could figure it out so I’m just assuming here).

Apart from that, it’s the same as before.

Sound – 2/5
Let’s start off with the Van Halen setlist. While it features essentials like those previously mentioned, there’s something that sticks out like a sore thumb. Where in the Hell is the Sammy Hagar?! While Wikipedia claims that there was no legal or personal disputes over who or what should be allowed in the game, I’m pretty sure band politics flared up again which led to the lack of other Van Halen songs. I’m sorry, but this is not Van Halen without a set list featuring the entire line up, and I’ll say this about any band-centric Guitar Hero or Rock Band game.

Secondly, the guest set list. While the songs are good in their own right, Wolfgang Van Halen should not have gotten his grubby lil’ paws on control over what got in. “End of Heartache”, “Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)”, “Best of You” and “First Date” are good songs in their own right, I’ll give them that; don’t belong anywhere near a Van Halen game. Now, “Stacy’s Mom” I can kind of understand lyrically, but holistically it isn’t anywhere near what I’d look forward to on a Van Halen game.

Finally, GH Tunes. The Smash Hits and World Tour GH Tunes songs return here (that, or they did a bang-up job remaking them for Van Halen), which is good. Unfortunately, most of the best songs are video game songs. I have no problem with them, personally, but non video game music fans won’t get use out of GH Tunes. The main thing wrong with GH Tunes is that when playing downloaded songs, the music will fade in the background if the instrument levels weren’t set up quite right. Which sucks if your sound runs off of tv speakers, like me.

Controls – 3/5
Nothing new. Nothing to complain about.

Replay Value – 2/5
With the inability to have DLC on here or to import it to Guitar Hero 5, the only real replay value is GH Tunes. And most of that sucks.

Overall Score – 2.5/5
Disappointing. Sheerly disappointing. This should have been a DLC for Guitar Hero 5… no, it should have been made better. This pales in comparison to GH: Metallica, and probably the original Guitar Hero itself.

Buy – No.
SRSLY, no. Unless you’re collecting every single game of the franchise or you got it with Guitar Hero 5, don’t touch it with a 39 1/2 foot pole.

Rent – Only if you absolutely need to.
Unless your friends want a different Guitar Hero for a night or all your other choices are all checked out, it’s not even worth a rent. Don’t waste your GameFly on this, get Rock Band: The Beatles or Guitar Hero: Metallica if you want a band-centric game.

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One Response to “Guitar Hero: Van Halen”

  1. […] Tiger reviewed Borderlands and Guitar Hero: Van Halen. […]


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