Guitar Hero Smash Hits Review
With the release of Guitar Hero World Tour last year, the Guitar Hero franchise went beyond the guitar, adding support for drums and vocals. However, there was a large catalog of great songs that appeared in previous Guitar Hero games that didn't get the chance to get the whole band treatment, not to even mention the fact that the PS3 didn't even get a Guitar Hero game until Guitar Hero 3. Guitar Hero Smash Hits attempts to rectify the problem by bringing back almost 50 tracks from five previous Guitar Hero games and giving them the full band treatment. While this is in many ways good news to Guitar Hero fans, the way in which this catalog update was handled leaves a lot to be desired.
First let's look at the good news. The chance to play some of the great tracks that appeared in previous games as a band is very nice indeed, even though there are invariably some questions as to why some tracks made the cut while others didn't. The tracks have also been given an overhaul, making the note sequences more complex than in the original releases. This has always been an advantage of Guitar Hero over Rock Band, and now it's even more so. Even on medium difficulty the note sequences in Guitar Hero Smash Hits are more complex and feel like they match the music more closely than those in Rock Band. Drummers will also appreciate that the new dual foot pedal Expert+ mode introduced in Guitar Hero Metallica is also present in Smash Hits.
Smash Hits also borrows from Metallica in the structure of its career mode. Songs are grouped into tiers, and once you score enough stars on songs in a tier the next one is unlocked. This allows you to skip songs that you don't like or that are giving you problems without bringing your progression through the career mode to a halt. Also, in a very welcome touch, the entire song list is unlocked for free play at the beginning and you're not forced to complete the career mode to gain access to all of the songs in the game. On more than one occasion I've been at a party in which the hosts have brought out their new Guitar Hero game only to discover that their guests were limited to playing one of four songs because they hadn't started playing through the career mode.
I won't get into the gameplay itself because I'm sure that 95% or more of you have already played a Guitar Hero game before. If not, it's nothing to be embarrassed about. Take a few minutes to read through our Guitar Hero World Tour review and it will bring you up to speed. Go ahead now; we'll still be here when you get back.