Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s Review

Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s is a game that's likely to elicit a lot of mixed emotions in Guitar Hero fans. On the one hand it's a new Guitar Hero game based on Guitar Hero II, and many gamers sure do love their Guitar Hero games. On the other hand, it feels like an incomplete and easier version of Guitar Hero II. Whether or not you'll be pleased with Rocks the 80s will depend a lot on your expectations for the game. If you're looking for another Guitar Hero II, then you may find yourself disappointed with Rocks the 80s. If you're simply hoping from some new tracks to play, then Rocks the 80s definitely delivers.

I'm not going to go into the game modes and mechanics of play in this review because I'm sure that most of you reading this review have probably played Guitar Hero II. If not, take a moment to read our Guitar Hero II review to come up to speed.

Rocks the 80s comes with 30 new songs drawn from the decade and covers a number of genres. Metal (Scorpions, Dio), New Wave (Oingo Boingo, Flock of Seagulls), and Pop (The Go-Go's, The Romantics) are all represented, but the majority of songs are from the Hair Metal bands such as Ratt and Twisted Sister. In fact, the emphasis on Hair Metal hurts the overall strength of the track list - you can probably name a dozen New Wave or Metal bands that you'd rather have in the game than Limousine or Extreme. If you're counting, and you probably are, 30 tracks is a much smaller list than that which came with Guitar Hero II. You'll find the career mode to be a lot shorter since there are only six song tiers in Rocks the 80s, and since the tracks in the game are far easier to play you'll be able to finish it without any trouble in one evening.

After 5-starring your way through the career mode you can play through any of the game's 30 tracks at any time, but that's the extent of it as far as the music goes. There are no unlockable tracks in the game, so when you toss out the songs you don't really care for you're left with a pretty short list of tunes to play with.

Rocks the 80s gives Guitar Hero II a bit of an 80s facelift by giving the characters an 80s makeover and adding a lot of bright neon colors to the venues. However, you'll notice that not all of the Guitar Hero II characters made the cut and that a couple of venues are missing as well. Furthermore there aren't any alternate costumes for the characters as there were in Guitar Hero II. You just won't be able to shake the feeling that the game is an incomplete port of Guitar Hero II and this is certainly a disappointment with the game. This disappointment will be amplified for many gamers by the fact that the game retails for the same price as Guitar Hero II. You get less than half the tracks, fewer characters, no costume changes, and fewer arenas for the same price. When the price inevitably drops this will be more of a moot point, but for now it's hard to recommend spending $50 when you're getting so much less content for your money.

In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 70%. Rocks the 80s is like buying an expensive ticket to a music festival because your favorite band will be there, but once you're there they only play a two song set. It's enjoyable but you can't help feeling a bit let down.


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