An unnecessary release
Rhythm games are ubiquitous these days. With 25 games in the “Hero” franchise, Activision can't be putting out unnecessary releases. However, someone over there thought it would be a good idea to release Guitar Hero Van Halen, after Thanksgiving...and give it out for free in a desperate attempt to counter act The Beatles: Rock Band. Guitar Hero Van Halen is a step backwards for the franchise and is an obvious cash-in that had little time or resources spent on it to make it worthwhile. This is true even for Van Halen fans.
Band specific games have never made sense to me, but after the quality performance of The Beatles: Rock Band release in September I'm on board with listening to the idea of a game that plays tribute to popular bands. Van Halen lacks all the bells and whistles Guitar Hero 5 had and only keeps the bare-bones Band Play, online, and band creation. Even the graphics themselves look like the Guitar Hero of yesteryear, or simply outdated. The game just feels old.
So what if you are a Van Halen fan? Well, that's the problem. The songs themselves are fun, especially for players looking for a challenge. But only half of the game's catalog are Van Halen songs. You'll be spending more time in the career playing Blink 182, Weezer, Foo Fighters, or other bands that aren't what you've probably come for. Way to pay tribute to Van Halen!
This game continues to disappoint. Other than Guitar Hero studio tunes, there's no support for DLC or any way to import these songs to Guitar Hero 5 like Rockband does with some of its spin-offs. No Party Play, no avatar support, no polish, it's just a mess. Van Halen is merely a track list to play through. But hey, at least you can bring some friends along for Band Play! Hopefully you're one of the people who already got the game for free, if so, you got what you paid for.Guitar Hero: Van Halen offers some enjoyment for people who got the game through Guitar Hero 5. Anyone who actually paid full-retail probably got ripped off. The Beatles set the standard for band-specific games to come, and after Guitar Hero 5 there's no excuse for any lazy post products. This game feels more like a prize in a cereal box than a full-fledged release. Keep your lazy sleeves Activision! Sell this game as an impulse buy with the bubble gum and batteries.