Columns & Blogs

Fans won’t fret over ‘Guitar Hero: Smash Hits’

I didn’t expect any surprises when I played “Guitar Hero: Smash Hits.”

Sure enough, upon playing the game, it turned out to be just what I envisioned — an opportunity to revisit some of the most popular songs from the series. It was nothing less than that, but also nothing more.

A greatest hits compilation from publisher Activision, the June release takes songs from the series and allows gamers to utilize the full-band approach to playing them. The track listing includes songs from the first three games in the main series as well as songs from “Guitar Hero Encore: Rock the 80s” and one from “Guitar Hero: Aerosmith.”

The songs were previously guitar-only tracks, so the selling point for Activision is allowing gamers to sing and drum along with playing the guitar. Most of the songs were cover versions on the previous games, but they are now all the original artists’ master tracks.

The story puts the player in a legendary band that is brought out of retirement to play at some of the great natural wonders of the world. The developers went for a greatest hits game at the greatest venues, which seems pretty fitting.

It was great to see Ozzy Osbourne’s “Bark at the Moon” and Pantera’s “Cowboys From Hell” included.

They were two of the toughest songs in any “Guitar Hero” game, and they haven’t been available on the current generation of consoles outside of “Bark at the Moon” being released as downloadable content for the Xbox 360’s “Guitar Hero II.”

Because it doesn’t offer any completely new songs, I could understand why someone would be hesitant to purchase the game.

It’s also hard to justify paying full price for mostly recycled content, particularly when Activision has “Guitar Hero V,” “Band Hero,” “Guitar Hero: Van Halen,” and “DJ Hero” all scheduled for release by year’s end. Many of this game’s targeted demographic will likely be shelling out money for one or more of those upcoming games.

Most of the “Guitar Hero” games get discounts following their release. This might be a game that could be found much cheaper in the coming months. Then again, if you are a diehard “Guitar Hero” fan you probably won’t be disappointed with this release.