Guitar Hero: Smash Hits Review

Throughout the years, we’ve all loved and enjoyed some of Guitar Hero’s finest tracks, from Boston’s ‘More Than a Feeling’ on the original Guitar Hero, through to the momentous ‘Through the Fire in the Flames’ by DragonForce – as witnessed in Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock. In recognition of such great tracks, RedOctane, responsible for the entirety of the Guitar Hero series, put their heads together and Guitar Hero: Greatest Hits is the outcome.

Greatest Hits features forty-eight master-recorded tracks from the first five Guitar Hero titles in the series: Guitar Hero, Guitar Hero II, Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, Guitar Hero Encore: Rock the 80s and a track from Guitar Hero: Aerosmith. Each track supports band play on all four instruments (guitar, bass, drums and vocals) and while this is a great addition, it’s regular Guitar Hero players that may feel a little hard done by.

With all the tracks featuring in previous Guitar Hero titles, the addition of drums and vocals to the songs may not appeal to players who already own all, or the majority of the included games. On the other hand, the title itself is very likely to appeal to Guitar Hero fans who own very few or no previous titles.

Despite being an expansion, Guitar Hero: Greatest Hits does include an array of new features. One of the most-appreciated features is that all the tracks are available to play in Quickplay from the start. In doing so, get-togethers and the likes are made that much more fun, due to the larger array of tracks on offer. It also means playing through the game’s career isn’t as important as it once was.

Whilst Guitar Hero: World Tour’s career consisted of gigs containing a number of songs, Guitar Hero: Greatest Hits takes a more similar approach to the likes of Guitar Hero III (and dare I say) Rock Band, where players have to obtain a required number of stars from songs of their choice, within a selection of around eight. Obtaining enough stars unlocks the next venue, along with new items and goods. This approach to the career works well and is a significant improvement as, depending on your skill, players won’t have to play all the songs in order to progress. Unfortunately, it does have its flaws.

The return of the bizarre over-the-top cut scenes, in which your rock band is formed and performs till they have obtained world domination; once again, prove to be more annoying than entertaining, though it’s the length of the career itself that’s slightly disappointing. With only forty-eight songs on offer, the career isn’t as long as regular Guitar Hero players would expect.

The remaining game modes are no different to their Guitar Hero World Tour counterparts, consisting of the likes of Quickplay, Head-to-Head and the Music Studio, all of which have no significant improvements over Guitar Hero: World Tour, nevertheless, it’s the Xbox LIVE play which makes Guitar Hero: Greatest Hits a… well, hit.

Whilst World Tour only offered two online game modes and therefore being fairly limited, Greatest Hits improves on this, with an excellent selection of modes. Band Quickplay and Band vs. Band make a welcome return and are joined by Pro Face-Off, Face-Off, Co-op Guitars, 2 vs. 2 Guitars and Battle – all of which have featured in previous Guitar Hero titles. Each game mode is fairly enjoyable to play, with each mode having its own advantages and disadvantages. Unfortunately the main problem with the game’s online feature, is that being an expansion, players are unlikely to find opposition in many of the game modes. Whilst you can almost guarantee an opponent in Pro Face-Off, you aren’t likely to find players waiting around in many of the others.

Guitar Hero: Greatest Hits continues to improve on some of Guitar Hero: World Tour’s flaws in its layout. In World Tour, it wasn’t possible to determine which player was causing the band to flop. To counteract this, Greatest Hits sees the introduction of an additional bar to the left of each fret. This bar is split into three sections of green, yellow and red, to match that of the band meter and whichever box the pointer is in, shows how well the player is performing. This inclusion is vital to the game’s success, as it was a certain factor that contributed to World Tour’s downfall.

Another inclusion is the ‘Star Bar,’ which displays how many stars those performing have currently earned. At first, this appeared to be a fairy insignificant addition, though proved worthy when wanting to know how far off the next star you were; especially with stars being all-the-more important.

The cartoon-like graphics prove to be identical to those witnessed in previous titles, which may come as a slight disappointment, though considering the title is an expansion, graphical improvements weren’t necessarily expected. Fortunately, the game’s audio appears to be a lot sharper, due to the master-recorded tracks.

Overall, Guitar Hero: Greatest Hits is a worthy addition to the already large collection of Guitar Hero titles. The incredible set list and extensive online features make the title a great purchase for new and returning players alike. If you already own a number of the Guitar Hero titles included, yet still intend to purchase Greatest Hits, it’s probably worth waiting until the price comes down, before splashing the cash.

David Wriglesworth

David Wriglesworth is a Northern lad with a passion for gaming, who graduated from the University of Lincoln with a BA (Hons) Journalism degree. If you can drag him away from the consoles, you can probably find him Tweeting or watching Coronation Street.

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