Make no mistake, though: the setlist is, truly, great. Cherry picking the best, most enjoyable songs from four different games must have been a challenge, but the list is extremely solid. Rush, Pantera, Incubus, Alice in Chains, Foo Fighters, White Zombie... these are just a handful of the artists with songs represented. Of course, Dragonforce's legendary "Through the Fire and the Flames" makes a return, and so does "Freebird", as one would expect. Everyone, I am sure, will have some song or band left out, and for me, that band was Megadeth. "Hangar 18" is one of the best playing songs in any music game, in my opinion. I can't really say enough about the songlist; if you have the slightest interest in the previous games, you will love these songs, period.
One issue about the game that I didn't enjoy were the new note tracks. I realize that the recordings are different, and thus the same exact tracks couldn't be used. However, in many cases, they are completely different, and so far from the original that you have to learn it all over again. In general, I found the new tracks to be less closely tied to the actual music, which has been the case for several iterations of the Guitar Hero franchise now. I suppose complaining about note tracks is nitpicking, but it's still worth mentioning.
Still, there is that naggling feeling while you are playing: we've done this before. The initial thrill of playing a song in Guitar Hero for the first time is gone. Sure, they are the master recordings, there are drums, and all that, but there is an overwhelming sense of deja vu. Clearly, nostalgia is powerful, but it feels a bit early to be playing these songs once again. Compounding this problem is the fact that Smash Hits is not compatible with previous GH games, or their DLC. You would think at some point that they would learn from Rock Band's success, both with integration between games and deploying to save your co-op partners. There have been three Guitar Hero games since Rock Band 2 now, and it seems like Activision should at least attempt to duplicate these features, but unfortunately, this has not been the case so far.
While I cannot deny the fact that Smash Hits is a good time, I still feel a bit disappointed by it. The master recordings and additional instruments are a big plus, but are balanced out by the full price and lack of any innovation whatsoever to the gameplay. The songs would probably have been better off released as DLC, but Activision seems committed to the regular disc based release scheme. Speaking in terms of DLC cost, there is value here, as four dozen songs would cost far more than $60 at current prices. But for many GH enthusiasts, you already own these songs, and can play them anytime. How strongly you feel about playing these songs again is going to be the deal breaker when it comes to your own enjoyment of Guitar Hero Smash Hits.
The Co-Op Experience: The Guitar Hero franchise continues as a full band experience.BackgroundThe setlist will include the best of Guitar Hero 1, 2, and 3, plus the Rocks the 80s expansion.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.