Guitar Hero: Rocks the 80's Review

Guitar Hero, you and I have come a long way together. I played you before you came out in 2005, and despite my praises, my friends and many of my peers laughed at my love of you. "Childish," they called me. Why, that first Christmas after your release, when I went to the store to try and buy you to give to my friend, those GameStop employees? They laughed. Once again, "kid’s game." Who’s laughing now, Guitar Hero? Us, that’s who.

That’s why your latest game, Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80’s is tough for me to review. I loved Guitar Hero and Guitar Hero 2, and I’m having an absolute blast with Guitar Hero 3 every time I play it, but this 80’s incremental title just doesn’t come close to what you’re capable of.

Like all the other Guitar Hero games, you have your share of good songs, bad songs, and songs I really don’t give a damn about; unlike your other games, this one has far less of the good songs, and more of the latter two. What happened?

I’m not really sure. The gameplay is all there, virtually unchanged from Guitar Hero 2. Hammer-on’s and pull-off’s are still easy to accomplish and don’t give me nightmares like they did in the first title, and the multiplayer is still a blast with friends, but this one is just missing that Guitar Hero magic.

What’s to blame? Maybe it’s the fact that despite people loving 80’s music, there’s not really enough demand to fill an entire game with it. Or maybe it’s the fact that this is full price (albeit cheaper at places like Best Buy) but less content. With only 30 songs (and no bonus tracks, which are a great way to be introduced to new music) this game just feels lacking.

The biggest disappointment is the choice of songs. You had thirty limited spots to fill, Guitar Hero, yet you picked a bunch of ones most people don’t care about. I can think of at least thirty songs from the 80’s which would have been perfect for a Guitar Hero game and aren’t in it – likely much, much more. You boast that you include the "greatest rock anthems of the era," but do you? Don’t lie to me, Guitar Hero – we’ve been together far too long for you to be able to lie to me.

Even with the lackluster songs and lack of content, though, you still do offer that same Guitar Hero magic. Even when the songs are ones I don’t care about, there are still a few which become enjoyable thanks to your magic. Normally, when talking about Guitar Hero I would say that you’re great, but this may be the first time I’ve ever said you were good, but not great.

The saddest thing, Guitar Hero, is that this is the last time we’ll be together when you’re being developed by Harmonix. I know your future offspring are in good hands (and I’ll continue to watch over them), but things just won’t be the same. Rock Band is fun, though, so I suppose we’ll have that to look forward to. It’s just a shame you couldn’t deliver an encore as perfect as your opening set.


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Author: Brendon Lindsey View all posts by

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