Guitar Hero: Greatest Hits

It’s hard to know where to start with this review. It’s another music game, it’s another spin off from Guitar Hero: World Tour which itself is a knock-off of  Rock Band which is the spiritual sequel of Guitar Hero one and two and those were very similar to Guitar Freaks from Konami on the arcade! Confused? Well it gets worse. This game is a port of the best songs from the Guitar Hero games that just used the guitar so we can use other instruments in them…along with the guitar but based on the game engine and structure of World Tour and released as a full price game.

At it’s core Guitar Hero: Greatest Hits is a meaty track expansion to Guitar Hero: World Tour. The gimmick being that the tracks are all pulled from the Guitar Hero series before the addition of drums and vocals and have been updated to add these instruments in. Also if you strummed along to covers of those songs in the original games (mostly Guitar Hero 1 and 2 songs) then the master tracks are now present and all tracks have had their guitar note tracks rewritten. It’s very hard to complain about the track listing, which is a meaty 48 songs and offers a variety which is reminiscent of Rock Band with everything from Queen to Aerosmith to Nirvana. It being a compilation it doesn’t have the cohesion of a soundtrack pieces together with a theme in mind but the songs were clearly chosen to be fun to play instead of just popular and definitely benefit from the tougher note tracks on guitar. Despite this the lacklustre singing and drums in several tracks highlights the fact that they were chosen for the original game for being fun guitar tracks and don’t translate well for the full band experience, this is a minor gripe however and one that can be levelled at all music titles due to the nature of having songs made fun for each instrument and not necessarily fun for the whole band. Online play is identical to World Tour and the welcomed addition of all songs being available to quick play from the start makes it’s way from Guitar Hero: Metallica.

In terms of reviewing this title that’s pretty much all you can say. It’s Guitar Hero: World Tour with new songs. Some are hits, some are misses but there is guaranteed at least a handful of tracks everyone will enjoy and if you get 4 drunks around this you are guaranteed to have great fun. Unlike the Metallica spin off which had new features and enhanced drumming there are no new features in Greatest Hits and in terms of a gaming experience I’ve seen this before. It begs the question when reviewing a title like this is do you as a reviewer judge value or simply quality of the product? In terms of product quality you are looking at a robust package, highly similar to World Tour albeit lacking the compatibility with your World Tour DLC. Looking at the value of the package it’s hard not to call this a shameless cash in of the Guitar Hero brand and question the decision not to release these tracks as DLC.

The infrastructure is clearly there given the large number of songs available for download and being able to download the tracks you want would be better value for the consumer yet here we are with a disc and a full release. The future of the genre is surely the disc holding the structure of the game and you downloading your own custom soundtrack for the game, as such this feels like eight steps backwards for the sake of making money. As such it’s very hard to recommend this game to anyone. If you own World Tour then this simply doesn’t represent value for money, if you don’t own World Tour then the lack of DLC compatibility means that Greatest Hits misses out on all those songs right now on the marketplace and if you don’t like music games then this will not do anything to change your view. It’s sad because Greatest Hits is still fun, there are still quality songs on there and playing with plastic instruments is still appealing but if this release is indicative of the route the series is taking then it looks like Rock Band may be the future.







7 responses to “Guitar Hero: Greatest Hits”

  1. Tony avatar

    I disagree with your value assessment, John.

    As songs for Guitar Hero sell in track packs of 3 for £5, this means if they had made these tracks available as DLC instead of a full title it’d cost you £80 for the lot.

    Admittedly I’d like to have seen both options anyway, though.

  2. John.B avatar

    True enough, however the notion of this saving you money only holds if you want every single song in this game. Otherwise you are paying for songs you don’t want. The nature of games like this is that they have to cater to a wide audience so the person who happily sings to Pat Benetar is not going to want Raining Blood by Slayer. Whilst that’s forgiveable in a game that forms the bedrock of extensive DLC and perhaps even a platform (see Rock Band 2) it’s baffling for a game that could easily have been put out as DLC for the sake of the consumer so they could cherry pick the tracks they want. If that was the case I am exceedingly confident that most people’s list would have stopped short of £40.

    You also have to take into account for value that this is an unwieldy product. It’s another disk on your shelf, if you want DLC play you have to switch out to World Tour and there’s no way of importing the tracks into World Tour so you lose that idea of a cohesive base for your music genre. All the more baffling when you consider that the game doesn’t come with instruments so is aimed squarely at World Tour owners already.

  3. Tony avatar

    I agree it’s a confused product but it’s certainly not a bad one.

    The problem is perception of value. Put all these songs on the respective stores as a bundle for £40 (effectively half price) and I dont think many people would go for it. £40 worth of DLC seems like a ludicrous amount of money. £40 for an actual physical product just seems more acceptable. It’s odd but that’s how I see it.

  4. John.B avatar

    That’s the problem I had in reviewing it but whilst it’s not bad it has no real place in the market and feels like an extraneous and useless purchase. The analogy that springs to mind would be a Cod4 map pack being released as a standalone product, not compatible with the main Cod4 game.

    I mean, perception of inherently value which is why I’m glad this site doesn’t have a “value” aspect to our reviews the way some other websites I work on have done where I have to give a score based on value. It’s a personal thing and if you look at this game and feel that £40 for the songs on offer is fine then super. But as a review for this game I found it very very difficult to justify why it existed. I agree £40 for DLC bundle is off. But why not 48 new DLC tracks individually?

    You raise the point as well of £40 for DLC seems ludicrous, I agree and I think you’ve stumbled onto a problem here. The DLC combined if it were in the 3 song pack would be more expensive than a disc, which has all the relative manufacturing/advertising/development costs included. So, either this is massively undercut (which doesn’t seem likely given the fact it’s a money making exercise) or the DLC is overpriced? Either way something doesn’t tally up, surely something ethereal would be cheaper?

  5. Tony avatar

    You’re right that something doesn’t add up.

    Originally I thought the DLC was overpriced but then I considered it’s about twice the iTunes price for a song. And there’s a hell of a lot of effort put into making a song work with all the instruments.

    In summary, then: Dunno.

  6. John.B avatar

    I think the morale of this review is we have no flipping clue what Activision are doing with Guitar Hero as a brand anymore.

  7. Betty avatar

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