I’m a huge Guitar Hero Fan. I’ve played and loved every single one, including the “80’s” one where it looked like it had been quickly slapped together and released to meet the holiday deadlines. So when I unwrapped the laws-of-physics defying plastic from around Guitar Hero: Van Halen (GHVH), I could barely contain myself. And then... disappointment. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a Guitar Hero game, and I played it right through to the end, but I didn’t get that warm fuzzy feeling I normally get. In all honesty GHVH felt a bit like the “Rocks the 80’s” game, and after playing GH5 religiously, I honestly expected a little better.
Included are all the famous Van Halen tracks, plus songs that have inspired the band at every second gig location in career mode. These tend to be the usual suspects: Blink 182, Killswitch Engage, and Weezer, among others.
Awkward and Strange
I was used to the new design and feel of Guitar Hero 5 and loved it, so GHVH just felt awkward and strange, like making out with your cousins. You start looking for options and edits that aren't in the right place, or not there at all. It’s all very Guitar Hero 1, and it took a while to get into it, which has never happened to me before, I swear. The game still supports four band members- lead guitar, bass guitar, drums and vocals, but they have removed the feature where you can just drop into a game and play. They have also removed the option to play with your Xbox 360 Avatar.
While GHVH is by no means a terrible game, Activision haven’t done anything new to keep the fans enthralled. Guitar Hero: Aerosmith was epic, and Metallica was monumental in working in the bands history and stories. By comparison, the Van Halen installment is a bit insipid. Gamers are not idiots and we can spot a rush job a mile off, so the hardcore GH fans are going to be very vocal about this one.
At the end of the day, if you want to play a little Guitar Hero and you haven't played any of the others, this one will satisfy. But if you jammed and loved all the previous ones, it’ll leave you feeling like someone (Activision) just stole your last R500 bucks and is now laughing at you. If you want to have the whole GH collection buy it and play it through for achievements, otherwise keep playing the previous versions and wait for Activision to release something more mind blowing.