James here, if you couldn't already tell. Time for my first review! Better get started.
Ah, Guitar Hero. Safe haven for all of the creatures on this earth who wish to rock like a god without actually having to learn an instrument. Well, creatures with opposable thumbs at least. This is the latest release for Guitar Hero, and the last before the creators of the games, RedOctane & Neversoft are Closed by Activision. They should have put their all into it then, presumably?
Well, the premise of the game is actually good for a Guitar Hero (from here on in, to be known as GH, or in some circumstances including the names of the separate titles), being that it actually has a story! SHOCK, HORROR, BABY DEATH, THE APOCALYPSE. All these could be caused by/ the cause of trying to put a story to such a simple game. It'd be like trying to change the story to Pokemon. It just wouldn't work. Anyway, back to GH (see the seamless change?).
Right, the story itself is narrated by Gene Simmons, most famous for his time as the bassist for KISS, but is now a self proclaimed "brand". This, to be fair, isn't the most positive point for the game, as I hate Gene Simmons with every fibre of my being. He seems to believe all the money in the world should belong to him, and as a self-confessed fan of free file-sharing, I find this quite annoying. But yeah, in terms of the game, it means at the start of each level you have to listen to his blood curdling voice telling you about all of the heroes, then after the level is complete, hear him tell you that you just complete the level. YOU CAN'T SKIP IT. You have to listen to him. That's at least 1 mark off.
The story itself, is that a great warrior is fighting a beast of some nature, and loses. He gets frozen into stone, you need to get his guitar working again so that you can resurrect him. This consists of going round a few gigs, each of them having one of the GH veterans you've grown to know and love over the last 5 games. This time, they all have demon forms "whooooooooooo" (ghostly sound), that are unlocked by (you'll never guess) completing each gig. Then they change into demon form & you play the encore. Yeah, I know. It's very genre-defining. Here's the catch though, each "warrior" has their own special ability. These consists of things like your combos not breaking if you only miss 1 or 2 notes, you having lives on songs, your maximum multiplier is increased, the rate you get star power is increased, etc. And, when you change to demon form, these powers get amplified. The problem with this is that they're overpowered. Once you complete the game, you get all of the powers combined on every song you play. It's a challenge to fail the song with that type of power at your disposal!
You go through about 4 levels of this, then you hit the high point of the game. No matter how many more games they make of GH, Rock Band, Band Hero, Vuvuzela Hero, you name it, they wont be able to beat what they did for this game. It's the single greatest thing on any game I've played in a long time. I'd rank it up there with the battle with Ganon on Ocarina of Time. Actually, no I wouldn't, but it's a pretty good moment. Rush's 2112, all 22 glorious minutes of it played in each of the 7 acts, with commentary of the story from Geddy Lee in between each song. Pure bliss. I failed it multiple times on expert drums, but by God I had fun.
Directly after this level though, was possibly the worst part of the game. Actually, second worst, but we'll get to the worst later. The level containing songs by My Chemical Romance and Fall Out Boy. The two artists who made me not want to get this game. To be fair to them, they're pretty fun to play if you forget about the music. But with the music, it's just horrible. The next few levels have good songs though. AFI, Alter Bridge, Atreyu, and Avenged Sevenfold. Bat Country was one of the main selling points of the game for me, and it didn't disappoint.
Right. NOW I can describe the worst level on the game to you. Megadeth. Not 1, not 2, but 3 songs by Megadeth. Good lord. The fact is, you don't just have to be able to finish them, you have to get a certain score or above to "complete" the song and "fill up the guitar", whatever that meant. If you failed (which I did several times) you get Gene Simmons popping up again saying "But it was not enough". GARGGSGFDHHFHAHDASHDKASJHDAJKDAFUCK. I don't need this. It's bad enough they're making me play Megadeath without having to play them multiple times over. You can't even pay attention to the cool backing video of the warrior kicking the beasts ass back to 1912. To be fair, the result of completing this is unlocking some really cool songs. Setting Fire To Sleeping Giants is one of the best songs on that game, and the humour that was achieved by my drum kit skidding across the floor as a result of me trying to keep up with the kick drum in If You Want Peace... Prepare For War was incredible.
And that's the thing with GH. It doesn't matter how bad the game is, nor how much of a re-hash it is of the last game, in an attempt to do some real cashing in, it only really matters about the songs included on the game, and to it's advantage, this game does have many amazing songs. The ones I've already mentioned are great, but there's also songs like Lasso - Pheonix that provide endless amount of fun. My favourite song to play on the drums at the moment is No Way Back by Foo Fighters. It's just the right amount of difficulty for it so remain immensely fun to play, yet be quite challenging.
One thing that annoyed me about the "quest mode" was that you could only have 1 game. If I couldn't play a song on the drums, it didn't really matter, because I could just switch to guitar and gold star it first try. Don't question why, I just can. If I was as good at life as I was at GH I'd be doing a hell of a lot better than I am as it is.
The thing is, I think it's got to the stage with GH that it just bores me. I've played all the songs a few times over, I've had my share of elation from it, now it's gone. I suppose it's just because nothing really changes. All the true "great" franchises in gaming bring something new to the game with each release (i.e. Metal Gear Solid has constantly gave new challenges to each new game with new settings, challenges and from time to time new characters to play as), or they've hit the peak of all gaming stories with a premise that never gets old and people never tire of. Games like Pokemon & Zelda are examples of this. Argue as you will that in each generation of the games they've introduced new stuff, but Gamefreak have been remaking Red & Blue for 20 years, and Nintendo have just been remaking Ocarina of Time. Not that I have anything against this, it's just how it is. GH has a story that isn't too brilliant for remakes. There's nothing they've done in this game that is any different from any of the last 2 games since they've introduced the rest of the band.
I haven't played any online for this, but I can 100% assure you that it'll be exactly the same as the online play for GH5.
I give this game a:
+ RUSH (Good lord, I think this is about 5 of the marks on it's own)
+ New songs, that to be fair, could have just been released on DLC.
- Gene Simmons.