chamberlain's Guitar Hero: Aerosmith (Xbox 360) review

For the Aerosmith fans under 40. All three of them.

You would think that a review of Guitar Hero Aerosmith would be as simple as asking the player two questions: one, did you like Guitar Hero 3 and two, do you like Aerosmith (and perhaps three, are you offended by Steven Tyler's massive virtual pie hole). Thankfully there is just a little more to it then that. Liking, or at least tolerating, Aerosmith is still a requirement, but there have been a few subtle changes since the last game, and all of them for the better.

It would seem that Activision actually listened to at least one major complaint about Guitar Hero 3: that the boss battles were out of place and far too difficult. There is still one boss battle here, this time with Joe 'effing' Perry (no, they don't call him that, but it would have been awesome if they did), and it is no where near as sadistic as Lou was. It shows up quite late in the set list, in the middle of the last tier, and then it's done. It still doesn't quite fit, but at least it isn't very hard to get past. It took me months to get past Lou on hard, and then it happened quite by chance and I have never felt the need to do it again. At least I have a fighting chance to beat Joe Perry on expert without growing extra fingers.

The note charts also feel less ridiculous this time, though that may have something to do with the limited set list, which thankfully avoids any of the super cheesy Cryin'/Amazin'/Crazy/Don't Wanna Miss A Thing sound alike power ballads. Without gushing (and yes, I do like Aerosmith, screw you) Joe Perry has a very distinctive style. The songs featuring him on guitar in either Rock Band or Guitar Hero 3 always felt a little different, but at least consistent to each other. There is an odd, off beat, bluesy rhythm to his solos and once I figured that out they became much easier. I have yet to go back and try anything on expert, and I will probably hurt myself doing so, but again, it feels like I have a decent shot which is more then I can say for the last two groups of songs in Guitar Hero 3. I'm looking at you, Raining Blood, I hate you.

If they made the game easier, so be it. I have no problem with that. There is a fine line between challenge and frustration that Guitar Hero 3 jumped across and kept running, Guitar Hero Aerosmith took a few welcome steps back from that. My only real complaints have nothing to do with the music itself, but with what a missed opportunity this is to really showcase a band and its history. For a group that has been around as long as Aeromsith, there just isn't a whole lot of them here. There are short interviews between tiers that look they were recorded with a cell phone, and that's it. No music videos, no stills, no record covers, nothing. They even used the same character models for the band members for every venue even though it is tracing the history of the band. I know the entire band spent most of their early years in a drug induced haze, but they still shouldn't look that wrinkly in the 1970's. There is definitely potential here, but if this is to be the first in a series of artist themed Guitar Hero's they need to spend more time on the extras to make it worth the $60 ticket price.    

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