|System: X360, PS3, Wii, PS2||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Neversoft Entertainment||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Activision||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: June 29, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
The Train Keeps a Rollin'
by Jonathan Marx
Aerosmith has been rocking the world over for 35 years. They've seen musicians and trends come and go but have somehow remained a constant force. Their longevity and wild popularity is due to loads of talent and an ability to adapt their style of rock over the decades. As usual, Aerosmith is on the cutting edge of the latest musical trend: music gaming. Guitar Hero: Aerosmith includes 25 Aerosmith master tracks along with 16 songs from other groups (and Joe Perry) that are some of the band's favorites. All in all, there are just over 40 songs for living room axe-slingers to blaze through, as they follow the band's meteoric rise to Rock 'N Roll royalty.
When the title was first announced, I was a little skeptical. How was one band going to be able to pull off a Guitar Hero title by itself? Later, I learned that other bands were going to be included, and it started to make more sense. A band-centric, rather than band-specific title, could work as long as innovative features and a deep song list were included. For the most part, Guitar Hero Aerosmith delivers. There are great multiplayer options including two types of Face-Offs, Co-op play, and a nerve-racking Battle mode that take the fun of Guitar Hero from the living room and allow you to challenge the world in more ways than just leaderboards.
On the downside, the set list in GH: Aerosmith is decidedly lop-sided and not particularly deep; my initial fears were somewhat realized in that regard. Nevertheless, it was surprising just how fun the title actually is. Furthermore, if you are a serious Aerosmith fan, then you'll be smitten by the inclusion of deep cuts as well as a varied collection of Aerosmith's greatest hits. Their master tracks include classic hits such as Dream On, Sweet Emotion, Walk This Way (Twice), Back in the Saddle, and Rag Doll, while more obscure titles include Uncle Salty, Movin' Out, and Toys in the Attic.
Single-player gameplay has seen almost no innovations over previous editions. The one thing most players will readily notice is that difficulty in GH: Aerosmith has been toned down a bit compared to GH III. That's mostly due to the guitar style of Joe Perry (Aerosmith's lead guitarist). Players will rarely have to deal with tendon-straining chord progressions and will only have to contend with lightning-fast riffs. As a result, GH: Aerosmith makes players that ordinarily struggle to play Medium and Hard difficulty levels feel like champs! However, for the Guitar Hero elite (i.e. Stan Mars and Kyle Broflovski) there won't be the challenge you're used to.
In the Career mode players will be given the task of playing as both the opening acts as well as Aerosmith. Opening acts include Stone Temple Pilots, Run DMC, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Cheap Trick, The Kinks, The Clash, and Ted Nugent among others. In each new venue, you will play a couple of tunes from these groups and then will finish off the tour stop by playing a few more Aerosmith songs. Between each act, there are band interviews that give players a bit of insight into the triumphs and trials of Aerosmith as a musical group. Of course, a dreaded boss battle is also included. Mercifully, there is only one, and it's against Joe Perry. On the whole, I found Career mode to be very engaging for a quick run through. Sadly, the lack of song variety doesn't allow for much replayability.
That's where the multiplayer side of the title significantly picks up the slack. Playing Face-Offs, Pro Face-Offs, Co-op, and Battle should keep players busy for a lot longer. Face-Off pits two players against each other while alternating between sections of a given song like dueling banjos. Pro Face-Off more accurately quantifies player skill by having both competitors play the exact same notes through the entire song. Additionally, both Face-Off modes allow for handicapping via difficulty selection. That means gamers of vastly different skills can still vie for bragging rights.