Guitar Hero: Aerosmith is the first game in the hugely popular franchise to focus on a single band – although, with rumours of Metallica and Beatles versions in the offing, it probably won’t be long until this isn’t the only artist-specific version that’s doing the rounds.
The game’s formula hasn’t changed a jot from the original, though, so you’ll find it easy to get back in the saddle: notes scroll down the screen and you hit them on the fretboard, while strumming, on your plastic Gibson Les Paul. Points are earned for better axe-wielding performances, which translates into star ratings and cash – the better you do, the more songs you unlock, the more money you can earn, and the more tunes, costumes, guitars and videos you can buy. There’s a well-stocked shop, called The Vault, that’s full of toys in the attic that you can use with the game.
What has changed is that there’s plenty of Aerosmith – there’s no surprise there, then – so, if you’re not a fan of the iconic American band, stop reading now. If you are, you’ll be glad to know that there’s a whole truckload of Aerosmith songs – spanning the entirety of their career, from Uncle Salty to Love in an Elevator – as well as tunes form bands that have toured or been associated with the group. That includes The Kinks, Mott the Hoople, Run DMC, Lenny Kravitz, The Clash, Joan Jett and a fair few others.
One high point is the graphics, which are beyond beautiful. They’re based around the same engine as the PS3 and 360 versions of Guitar Hero 3, as expected, but the whole band has been motion captured fantastically well – it’s like watching a caricature version of Aerosmith, and that – along with the superb arenas you play in – add plenty to the experience, allowing you to dream on that you’re really playing with the band.
As well as the fantastic animation and master recordings of all the Aerosmith songs, each stage of your career – there are 6 in all – are introduced by videos of the band talking about their long and varied existence and introducing the venue you’ll be playing in. They’re a nice distraction and it’s good to see the band taking an interest – and showing some sweet emotion – in the project rather than licensing their songs and then having no more involvement.
A word of warning, though: hardened Guitar Hero 3 players may be slightly disappointed with Aerosmith, as it’s a fair amount easier than the previous game – possibly because of Joe Perry’s use of addictive, repeatable riffs throughout many of the songs on offer. It’s far easier to play through the game than it has been before, so longevity may be an issue, and you may feel like you’re not livin’ on the edge as you may have done with harder songs in previous games. I’d like to say it’s nobody’s fault, but it probably is. They should be kicked around like a rag doll when they’re found.
It’s also a pretty expensive addition to the franchise. Unlike most add-on packs, Guitar Hero: Aerosmith costs the same as a brand new game and has roughly half the content – and no downloadable additions – compared to Guitar Hero 3. It’s a bit of a rip-off, perhaps, so you may want to draw the line at purchasing this unless you’re a hardcore fan.
Of course, the game is aimed at the hardcore fan – and so those people will love playing along to all of their favourite songs. However, bear in mind that there’s less content here than with a regular Guitar Hero game, and it’s pretty easy, too. Still, it’s sure to sate fans – so walk this way if you’re keen on Aerosmith and you’ll be pleased with this.