One of my favorite video games of the last five years has turned into one of my least favorites. Apparently I am not alone in thinking that the Guitar Hero video game series has jumped the shark. A plethora of reasons from overkill to game changes has take this from one of the premier party games of the last decade to a game with a serious need of a tune up.
The first Guitar Hero video game I picked up was Guitar Hero 3 – Legends of Rock. From the second I saw red, blue, yellow, green, and orange I was hooked. The set list of songs were great, it was challenging yet not too difficult, and the game itself became addicting to anyone who dared to pick up a guitar in my living room and take a “Slow Ride.”
Most of the world agreed with me as Guitar Hero 3 – Legends of Rock was a smashing success. The game reinvented the genre of interactive music games. Add the success of Rock Band and its multi-player instruments and you had the perfect recipe of fun for an old school rocker and video game lover that just can’t sink his teeth into the crazy fantasy games of today. Unfortunately with success came greed and later games have never achieved the level of success that came with Guitar Hero 3. A few Activision blunders later and the future of the series three years later looks more bleak than ever.
Go back to guitar rock! It was immediately evident as I loaded up Guitar Hero 4 and saw the set list that this game wasn’t for me. Gone was a set list of guitar smashing classic and hard rock classics replaced with pop music favorites that you are likely to hear at your typical Friday karaoke night at the local bar or club. Load the next game up with fun classic and guitar rock and you will get me and most other rock fans that found very little appetizing about the last few Guitar Hero games.
Drop the all instrument portion of the game. The big problem here is that Guitar Hero turned from a game that made it fun to play guitar to a game that had to alter their set list of songs to include drumming and singing. This eliminates a ton of great guitar anthems that would normally be included in the game that couldn’t because they didn’t have vocals or drums. Hey, leave the vocals and drums to Rock Band. They do it better anyway or create a Music Hero game. Activision may be leaving a ton of dough on the table by getting rid of the addons, but I believe they would make it back in sales of a new all-guitar Guitar Hero.
Finally, improve the DLC! A Smashing Pumpkins or Country pack aren’t going to cut it. As much as I like to play Guitar Hero more than Rock Band, I made the full switch to Rock Band because of their DLC. RB constantly updates their DLC. On top of that, the selection of Rock Band DLC is massive. They hit everyone from Buddy Holly to Slayer. I can’t tell you the last time I saw anything on Guitar Hero that I cared to spend 160 points for, yet I drop points like crazy on Rock Band content that admittedly isn’t as much fun to play on guitar.
While I am sure we can sit here all day and come up with a wish list for the next GH game, I think this is a great start of tweaks that Activision can make to revitalize the franchise. Like a 70s rock band that hit rock bottom and made a successful come back in the 80s, Guitar Hero can be that band. The ball is in their court and it’s up to them whether they want to be a one hit wonder or a classic comeback.
Order Guitar Hero 5 with bonus Guitar Hero Van Halen on Gamestop.com by clicking here.
Buy Guitar Hero 5 and get Guitar Hero Van Halen for free on Amazon.com by clicking here.
Order The Beatles: Rock Band with 3 free downloads on GameStop.com by clicking here
Order The Beatles: Rock Band on Amazon.com by clicking here.