Giant Bomb Review

35 Comments

Guitar Hero: Smash Hits Review

3
  • X360

Guitar Hero: Smash Hits is better than it sounds, but it'd probably be even better as a collection of downloadable tracks for Guitar Hero: World Tour.

Oh, and it looks like Guitar Hero, in case you were wondering.
Guitar Hero: Smash Hits is a nearly fully featured Guitar Hero game based on the foundation laid by the last full game in the series, World Tour. It offers a song list full of tracks that have appeared in previous Guitar Hero games, but don't get your anti-rehash pitchforks out just yet. Since this is based on Guitar Hero: World Tour, you can now play as a full four-person band with vocals, drums, guitar, and bass. So it doesn't feel like warmed-over leftovers from the series' past. That said, something about the game's full $59.99 price tag doesn't quite feel right, either.

Maybe that's because these songs all appeared in games that were chosen for their guitar parts. It's no surprise that a game called Guitar Hero would have songs with great guitar parts... but that doesn't mean I want to try to sing or play drums on "Through The Fire And Flames" by DragonForce, either. Also, the game's guitar parts have been retracked with new note patterns. If you're a Guitar Hero purist with fond memories of which buttons you needed to press back in the good old days, this might bother you. But considering how much the difficulty in Guitar Hero games has ramped up since those early days, retracking the songs to place them more in line with the modern releases allows the songs to still be a challenge on the higher difficulties.

While the game has support for the goofy GHTunes feature, where you can create tracks using various instrument samples and freely share them online, it doesn't have support for the proper, paid downloadable content that you may or may not have been buying for World Tour. This seems kind of silly. Also, while the Guitar Hero series hasn't been big on exporting tracks from a disc for use with another Guitar Hero game, you should probably know that you can't export the Smash Hits soundtrack and just play it in World Tour. This would have been a nice feature, since Smash Hits is little more than a collection of new songs to play with your existing hardware.

Yup, still Guitar Hero down here, too.
Beyond that, this has the same features you'd expect to find in a Guitar Hero game. There's a career mode that provides a progression through the songs when playing alone or as a group, or you can just go to quick play, where everything's already unlocked. There are also a bunch of online modes that let you compete against or cooperate with players on the other side of the Internet.

Even though some of the songs appeared as covers in the previous games, they're all being done by the original artists now. In some cases (probably cases where the original masters weren't available), the game doesn't have the original recording. For example, Pantera's "Cowboys From Hell" is a live track. So, provided you're pleased with the feature set, it really comes down to a desire to play the songs on the disc. Probably the best advice I can give you is to take a look at that song list, weigh it against your desire to play them across multiple instruments, and go from there. There are definitely some quality songs on the list, but I think I would have rather been able to pick and choose a few of them as downloadable content for World Tour than be forced to buy them as a package.
Jeff Gerstmann on Google+
35 Comments
Posted by Costello

No more video reviews? I miss them.

Posted by MatthewMeadows

I agree, video reviews are awesome but one for this game would probably be kinda hard. I mean, it's Guitar Hero, at this point we know what the score is, bars falling from the top of the screen to the bottom.

Posted by JJOR64

I do have the game and I'm having fun.  It would be awesome  if you could import them into WT.

Posted by TheLawnWrangler
there were SOME songs that were oodles of fun on the drums, or to sing (mainly Unsung or Play with Me)... but the the majority of the set list was just... not fun to play... also since the guitar charts are different (I'm into score tracking, fc's, etc.) I was caught off guard and had less fun than I wanted (especially since the new charts SUCK)
Posted by RedSox8933

New note patterns? I'm out.

Posted by troyx

can anyone think of a franchise that is more milked than  Guitar Hero ?

Posted by Caddy

I was going to rent it, but as soon as I found out that Through the Fire and Flames is in the main set list, I have lost all of my interest. Besides, I still have all the GH games around so I can play all the songs on offer anyway. :)

Posted by TripMasterMunky

People need to stop buying all these guitar heroes.

Posted by Lozz
@troyx: Nope.
Posted by ManMadeGod
Probably the best advice I can give you is to take a look at that song list, weigh it against your desire to play them across multiple instruments, and go from there.

This is the best and only advice someone can give when it comes to buying a GH game.
Posted by Jimbo_N

Why no mention if there´s expert+ mode for the drums in there? (like in metallica) Its the make or break it for me at this point.

Posted by LukeNuk3m
@Jimbo_N: I can confirm that Expert+ is there for the drums.
Posted by MetalGearSunny

The whole review should have been:

"It's Guitar Hero."

Posted by Curufinwe

I really don't understand why GHWT  DLC doesn't work in this game.

Edited by jonnyboy

Everyone keeps bleating on about how "this should be DLC", I download a ton of tracks for GH and Rock Band and have only ever played about 10% of it online. People forget that you're dependent on four strangers having the same musical tastes as you. I applaud disc based track packs. I'll be able to play any track I want online, it's cheaper, and I'm not stuck with it when im done.

Comes out in the UK today. Sold.

Posted by DrX25

Although I would like to pick and choose the songs and get them as DLC, Guitar Hero : Smash Hits costs a lot less than DLC (considering the DLC pack discount, it would cost about 85$ as a DLC pack to 60$ (70$ in Canada) (plus tax) in retail (in USD).

Edited by ShiftyMagician
@troyx said:
" can anyone think of a franchise that is more milked than  Guitar Hero ? "
Final Fantasy.  I love the series regardless because I like what they do personally, but yea it's the main source of income for Square Enix.  Thankfully nowadays they are making games left and right like The Last Remnant and that WW2 RTS game (I wasn't aware they were involved in the game until I saw their logo on it).

But  to be honest with the Guitar Hero franchise, I do not have a problem with them making games with updated song lists, as it's sorta like singstar music packs. Sure you can download them if you like, but to a lot of people nothing is more reassuring than having a physical copy of all the music you want in discs, and people do not mind swapping discs, as not all of us are lazy bastards.  I do like Rock Band's initiative with songs being transferrable between versions, and all the music franchises should do more to implement this method.

It's sad to see that certain packs aren't supported with this though.  Makes such a waste of such a good transfer system.
Posted by lordofultima
@ShiftyMagician: Final Fantasy is milked, but not as much as Guitar Hero. You're forgetting that it takes them like 17 years to make a game.
Posted by DisneySecurity5000
@Costello: I don't think this game is worth a video review
Posted by Lassegp

So true. Well written Jeff

Posted by Mijati

GH:SH is actually based on the Guitar Hero: Metallica engine which is quite a significant improvement over the World Tour one.

Posted by ChickenPants

The fact that you can't even add these tracks to your world tour collection after buying them is atrocious.

Think Rock Band is the next most milked series - Lego Rock Band,Rock Band Unplugged.
But Guitar Hero is in a whole different league to anyone else.
I think Square-Enix genuinely need their Final Fantasy  titles to stay afloat so i let them off the hook.Plus, they keep the main series pure so that keeps me happy.

Posted by airules

the moment I found out it was master tracks, and wouldnt have the awesome version of Ziggy Stardust from GH1 with the guitar solo, I was like "Dude, thanks but no thanks!"

Posted by Mijati
@ChickenPants:
I'm glad these songs can't be imported into World tour, the World Tour engine is horrible, huge improvements have been made to the game since then. And I'd much rather play them on here. Plus things such as Expert+ Drums wouldn't be available on WT
Posted by RHCPfan24

I still am not convinced on the viability of this game. They are charging $60 for songs we already have owned and they could've easily put this on as DLC for World Tour/Metallica.

Posted by Skywarpgold

I couldn't agree more that this should've just been a bunch of DLC...

Posted by Media_Master

yup, still guitar hero....

Posted by Cazamalos

just wait like 2 months and it will be 30$ on amazon.

Online
Posted by TissueShoe

Exactly what I thought the game would be. Honestly, $50-$60 is way too much to pay when there are only half the songs in World Tour or Rock Band 2. Should have been DLC.

Posted by Kohe321

Hmm good review, I might get it

Posted by tooPrime

"but I think I would have rather been able to pick and choose a few of them as downloadable content for World Tour than be forced to buy them as a package."

I rather be able to rent it for 8 bucks because I have no money for dlc or get it on gamefly.  I can't rent dlc. 

I know every game costs 60 bucks nowadays and frankly unless you have quite a disposable income I don't think people buy every game they want to play.  I think reviews should consider "Is this game worth playing" not "is this game worth 60 bucks" becuase frankly most games arn't worth 60 bucks but still have worthwild experiences.  I buy maybe 2 to 3 games a year but play 10 to 15.

Posted by Keeby

This game is a fun distraction till GH5.

Posted by jonnyboy
@tooPrime said:
""but I think I would have rather been able to pick and choose a few of them as downloadable content for World Tour than be forced to buy them as a package."I rather be able to rent it for 8 bucks because I have no money for dlc or get it on gamefly.  I can't rent dlc. I know every game costs 60 bucks nowadays and frankly unless you have quite a disposable income I don't think people buy every game they want to play.  I think reviews should consider "Is this game worth playing" not "is this game worth 60 bucks" becuase frankly most games arn't worth 60 bucks but still have worthwild experiences.  I buy maybe 2 to 3 games a year but play 10 to 15."
Amen brother. You think you have problems, Try living in PAL regions. The UK and Australia pay waaaaaaaaay more than you guys are prepared to put up with. The DVD/Game rental site LOVEFILM is similar to Gamefly in the US and is making serious money. I've been a member for years. I sometimes even sell games I haven't played in ages, the rent them through love film when I fancy playing them again. The GH/RB disc based track packs are perfect for this.
Posted by vgmkyle

Excellent review, your arguments are spot on.

Posted by GameFreak315

Yeah...I rented it, and I liked it.  I can't see myself getting much more out of it, though.  I'll just wait for "5"...or "Van Halen."  :P