July 30, 2009

GUITAR HERO SMASH HITS Nintendo Wii (3).jpg

It all boils down to the systems you’ve got, and what you want out of your favorite songs. Those who have a large pile of Guitar Hero games won’t find much new here, while those with newer systems (like the Wii) and want the old songs, and those who love playing as a band, should be quite content with this release. My full review after the jump:

GUITAR HERO SMASH HITS Nintendo Wii (1).jpgSmash Hits is as it sounds – a collection of popular songs from previous main releases and Rock the 80s. (Including: Boston’s “More Than a Feeling,” Franz Ferdinand’s “Take Me Out,” Alice in Chains’ “Them Bones,” Rush’s “YYZ,”  Twisted Sister’s “I Wanna Rock,” Heart’s “Barracuda,” and DragonForce’s “Through the Fire and Flames.”) It’s a great collection for one disc, and prime for those who don’t have the previous installments (or hate switching between discs for favorite songs.)

There are two big differences between this release and the previous discs these songs popped up on. One, the whole band can play (including Expert+ for some drumming songs); it isn’t just guitar. Two, while they updated the songs for the whole band, they also changed the guitar’s note structure. Those loathing the rattling, unchanging starter notes of “Barracuda,” for example, will find things changed up in Smash Hits, while creatures of habit will be faced with re-learning the songs.

The structure plays out as a cross between World Tour and Metallica – funky customization, earning stars unlocks new songs, rather than gigs, and finishing a set unlocks encores. And if you hate having to unlock songs, they’re all available from the get-go with Quick Play. However, once again, downloadable content is a no-go.

Guitar Hero: Smash Hits is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it’s updated with all the latest Hero bells and whistles, you can play it with a whole band, and enjoy better visual perks than the earlier releases. Having the hits on one disc also means not having to switch between them (if these are the songs you love [no Stray Cats!]), that newer converts can get a taste of the past, and playing a game free of filler songs. On the other hand, it’s a double-dip that won’t wow the die-hards. New note structures must be learned, and there’s absolutely nothing worthy of an update unless you want to bring out the band.

Should you buy it? Yes …  if you don’t have the first four, or have been itching to play your old favorites with a whole band. If not, don’t bother.


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