Reviewed: June 16, 2009
Released: June 16, 2009
Activision keeps pumping out the jams with yet another installment in the Guitar Hero franchise, but this time rather than reinvent the wheel Beenox is backing up my long-time asserted claim that these games are all about the music. Taking the established World Tour engine with support for a full four-player band, and keeping the amazing online modes intact and even brining back the music studio so you can make and share your own tunes, Guitar Hero: Smash Hits is going to rock your world.
You might be surprised to learn that there isnít a single new or original song in this game that hasnít appeared in a previous Guitar Hero title, but therein lies the core gaming goodness that awaits within. Featuring 48 master recordings from all the games that came before World Tour, Neversoft has gone back and remastered these tracks making them insanely difficult.
The songs appearing in Guitar Hero: Smash Hits are as follows:
Iím not going to begin to bore you with gameplay. Itís identical to World Tour so go read that review if you have any questions. The core game is relatively unchanged aside from a few minor cosmetic changes. You have some new venues, which are not only awesome in originality and creativity; you also have this cool new costume feature that will redress your chosen rock star in venue-themed attire.
Aside from that you play the chosen set list, unlock the encore song, then unlock the next venue, earning money along the way to purchase all sorts of clothes, hairstyles, tattoos, and new instruments. Those signatures urban art style cutscenes are back and tell a minimal silent movie-style story between venue changes. The venues are gorgeous and I love the camera work and opening sweeping shots of the stage and all the lights and pyrotechnics during the show.
My one and only complaint is that everything you do when switching menus and screens triggers the game to search for downloaded GHTunes content. Itís a rather long (20+ sec) and frequent delay that grows annoying very quickly when you simply arenít playing through the career.
I have to admit that I was becoming a bit weary of the Guitar Hero franchise, but Smash Hits was just the breath of fresh recycled air that we needed. Not only are these the songs I grew up listening to, these are the songs that introduced me to the Guitar Hero franchise back when it was just on the PS2. Now I get to play them all on my fancy next-gen consoles with better instruments and new challenging note streams and even share them with my friends in a full band situation. There is something to be said for nostalgia and Guitar Hero: Smash Hits earns a perfect score with itís superlative track list built on the fantastic World Tour engine.