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The perfect game for dad to relive younger days, or a game for youngsters to rediscover what a real rock track is? We put Guitar Hero: Aerosmith through its paces with first father (here) then son (next week).
This first band-specific release from the Guitar Hero franchise brings us the chance to rock out as the Boston mega-band, Aerosmith. Guitar Hero: Aerosmith is effectively a re-skin of GH1 with the added ability to play as the band themselves as well as the standard 'support' group from Guitar Hero 3 (GH1). Interestingly for the non Aerosmith tracks the band makeup has been altered to be the same as Aerosmith's - i.e. the introduction of an extra guitarist. This is probably a matter of convenience for the developer as the extra guitarist plays no additional role in the gameplay itself.
The solo career consists of first playing two tracks by a group that is connected with Aerosmith in some way: having played with them or been 'inspired' by them in some way. Aerosmith themselves then make an entrance and you get to play three of their tracks to progress to the next venue. The six venues are from Aerosmith's long career - from humble beginnings at Nipmuc High School to their Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
It was a nice feeling to be actually able to attempt a few tracks on hard without my fingers instantly tying themselves in knots.
The much discussed difficulty level of GH1 has certainly been notched back for this release - whether this has been a conscious decision or the fact that a lot of the Aerosmith tracks are actually not that complicated I don't know. But it was a nice feeling to be actually able to attempt a few tracks on hard without my fingers instantly tying themselves in knots as I failed miserably within about 10 seconds of the track starting. I don't consider myself an expert on this game and I've effectively given up on GH1 at anything above medium level, but I reckon with a bit of effort I could crack this one on hard (having already 5 starred all tracks on medium). The difficulty wall that you hit on GH1 going from medium to hard (and even sometimes from track to track) has definitely been lowered and I might just be able to clamber over it.
I did however find the guitar neck background used for the Aerosmith tracks a little 'busy' - making it hard to see the notes streaming towards me at times. But maybe I just need glasses as my complaints were soundly dismissed by my sharper eyed progeny.
Obtaining achievements is another thing that has been eased up on to a large extent. GH1 was certainly a miser when it came to giving these away, but you'll find yourself receiving them left right and centre here. There are plenty of points to be garnered while completing the career modes and even some amusing ones for playing as a particular guitarist ('dude looks like a lady' and 'woman of the world'). There are also the insane ones like having to buy everything from the shop, sorry, the 'Vault', and with guitars and characters costing so much you'll probably have to play through every difficulty level to get enough cash.
While playing as Aerosmith the band themselves are nicely animated on stage, though it would seem to be more for the benefit of observers watching you play as you certainly don't have the much time to gawp at the stage antics of Steve Tyler unless you want to be rapidly booed off stage.
You don't have time to gawp at the stage antics of Steve Tyler unless you want to be rapidly booed off stage.
The introduction of video clips of interviews with the band members is of limited appeal - let's face it, rock stars are not often the most coherent people in the world, and each member gets to say one or two sentences at the most before the clip switches to the next. Big fans of the band will probably like this stuff and longer interviews can be unlocked.
And so we come to the track list itself. The career mode comprises of 31 songs which is made up of 10 songs from other bands (a few of which are covers), 20 Aerosmith tracks (both original and re-recorded tracks) and, thankfully, just one 'boss battle' against Joe Perry. Ten additional tracks can be purchased from the 'Vault' - with these being a mixture of Aerosmith songs and Joe Perry solo tracks. There will always be some debate over which tracks should have been included and which should have been left out, but I found there was a pretty good mix spanning the bands long career. No downloadable content will be available for this version and so it really is all about Aerosmith.
And that's really what it boils down to. This is a full priced game with a content level that may well have been better suited to an expansion pack. If you're an Aerosmith and GH fan then you'll probably lap this up and there's no doubt that its fun to play. If you're not especially into this band then you'd be better off sticking with GH1 and downloading the tracks that you really like.
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