Game Review: Guitar Hero Smash Hits (USA Title) /Guitar Hero Greatest Hits (European Title)
Release: Jun 16, 2009
Genre: Music, Rhythm-Action
Developer: Beenox Studios
Available Platforms: PS3, 360, Wii, PS2
Players: Single-Player, Multiplayer 1-4
MSRP: $59.99 / £49.99
ESRB Rating: T
Guitar Hero Hits is a track pack of 48 songs that were previously released on the earlier guitars-only GH games (Guitar Hero I, II, Encore: Rocks the 80’s, Aerosmith and III: Legends of Rock), with the note charts re-worked, drums and vocals added and reconstructed utilizing a polished up version of the Guitar Hero World Tour engine.
There’s two audiences for this game. Those who played the previous installments prior to World Tour and those that didn’t. If you’re new to this series then all you really need to know is that most of these 48 tracks are great to play, arranged in a linear progressive career mode with a few nice costume bonuses and customisation options for your characters.
If you played the previous games you need to know this; the guitar note charts are a little different and sometimes you’ll find yourself longing for the previous ones. The vocal mode is unforgiving and inferior to that of Rock Band, which is business as usual, and the drums tracks are well put together and probably the best reason to buy this.
What does it have over playing the originals? Firstly you don’t have to fire up the PS2 for the GH1 tracks and they play in an HD output justified for a big TV (as opposed to the smoky, square originals). This applies to any other installments you played only on PS2 before, but obviously not if you’re still PS2 only. Unlike most of the originals, these are all master tracks and sound a lot better than the cover versions on the original games. Finally you get to drum and sing for the first time, which is good or bad, depending on your feelings about how the GH games handle these tracks.
The online mode is a real step backwards from Rock Band. I ended up with a friend with no choice but to wait while the game attempted to find other players online. You also get stuck with your difficulty which means if someone else chooses a song you can’t play on hard for example, you’re stuck trying to play it until you get back to the matchup screen. RB allows you to choose difficulty after the song is selected, this seems a daft oversight on Beenox’s part. Beenox are the studio that Neversoft farmed this game out to so they could concentrate on the multiple other releases this year. They have done a decent enough job but if you’ve played all these songs it’s more like a going on vacation back to a place you went as a kid and finding it decidedly less awesome. Great songs, but you may have played them to death already. A lower price to reflect this game’s second-string development would have been good. Rent it or wait for it to drop a little, (UK tip. Check Amason.co.uk It’s on there for £24.99 but do play it, if only for the feeling of playing Free Bird as a full band.