Guitar Hero: Smash Hits

By Hans Wuerflein

Available on Xbox 360, PS3, PS2, and Wii.

Pros:

Brings some of the best songs from the earlier entries in the series, adding drums, bass and vocals.

Better than Guitar Hero: World Tour (but that’s not saying much).

Some tracks exportable to Guitar Hero 5/Band Hero…

Cons:

But not all of them (no Bark at the Moon, seriously?)

Not as good as Guitar Hero 5

If you have 2, 3, or Aerosmith it might not be worth it.

Activision kind of went crazy with music games after Guitar Hero III, so we’re bringing you yet another review from the series that has seen 12, that’s right, 12 entries in its five years of existence.  14 if you count Band Hero and DJ Hero.

It has come to pass!

Anyway, Smash Hits.  Yeah.

It’s a nice idea really.  The game is, well, Guitar Hero, but the track-list is composed of 48 tracks from previous Guitar Hero games, plus the GH Tunes feature from World Tour.  The on disc tracks break down like this:

14 songs from the original Guitar Hero

18 songs from number two (well, 19 really.  The Trooper was only in the Xbox 360 version though.)

Six tracks from Rocks the ’80s (Woo!)

Eight from Guitar Hero III

And finally, one track from Guitar Hero: Aerosmith.

Here’s the full list if you’re interested.

Overall, the game is fine, and the tracks that are rippable to Guitar Hero 5 are nice, but this should have ALL been available as DLC.  I understand Activision wanting this on the shelf because retail is still king, but the fact that it is ONLY available on disc is a little silly.

Gameplay – 3.5/5

There’s nothing wrong with this game in a vacuum, but Guitar Hero 5 came out 2 1/2 months after this.  It just looks bad in comparison.

The guitar parts play like Guitar Hero.  If you need more of an explanation at this point,  just call anyone under the age of 30 to borrow their copy.  Well, I guess it does warrant mentioning that it plays pretty much like the other Guitar Hero games between  3 and 5.

Drums were weird to test because I was using the Rock Band kit.  The game still works, but it remaps two of the pads to one.  It works, but it feels awkward at times.  That, and I suck at drums, so I’m not the best person to tell you about them anyway.

Vocals I didn’t do much with, but I watched my roommate who is the de facto vocalist on Rock Band, and he said that generally it was better than World Tour, but he still preferred the Rock Band system.

Graphics – 4/5

Overall, it looks pretty good.  Like the other Guitar Hero games, it has crazy themed stages for you to play.  The only odd thing is the venue order.  What seems like the last arena is rock heaven, but that is followed by the even better (?) venue of, wait for it, Quebec City!

Wait, what ?!  It seems so out of place, that is until you look up that the developer of this edition, Beenox Studios, is located there.  Kind of cool, if still a little odd, when you look at it that way.

Sound – 4.5/5

It really is a strong set list, but most of it is available elsewhere as DLC, or I still have the game it’s from.

It is worth noting that these are all master tracks now, which moves the game up a notch.   There really aren’t any serious complaints, other that you’ve seen it all before.

Replay – 2/5

There’s GH Tunes, but other than the Keyboard Cat song it’s mostly a wash.

There’s online play, but things already seem to be dying off.

Overall Score – 3/5

It’s great for people who missed the earlier entries in the series, or who want to drum or sing on the older songs, but most people won’t get much value out of it.

It pretty much epitomizes why people have a problem Activision these days.   Shoveling out more editions of a franchise, especially a best of edition, just seems greedy and disrespectful to the original creators of the series.

Buy? – Maybe

It is getting pretty cheap these days.  Some versions of the game were going for about $15 on Amazon recently, so if the price is low enough go for it.

Rent? – Sure

It’s worth checking out some of the old tracks for those of you that missed them the first time around, but I wouldn’t sweat it if you miss out on it.

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