Jun 23, 2010

Guitar Hero: Van Halen Review

  •  Game: Guitar Hero: Van Halen

  • Platform: Xbox 360; PS3; Wii; PS2

  • Publisher: Activision

  • Developer: Underground Development/Neversoft Entertainment

  • ESRB: Teen

  • Genre: Played Out Rhythm Genre

  • Player: 1-4

  • What's Hot: There is vintage Van Halen music to play

  • What's Not: Everything else

  • To state that Guitar Hero: Van Halen is the single worst entry into the Guitar Hero pantheon is something of an understatement. True, fans of the band’s early years will find some tracks here they can enjoy, but the $60 premium price tag for this game –assuming you didn’t get it for free with a purchase of Guitar Hero V- is far too steep for a title clearly produced on a budget and that has as many significant shortcomings as this one.
    Right out of the gate it’s impossible to avoid the impression that this is the single most blatant milking of the Guitar Hero franchise that Activision has chosen to foist upon gamers. First of all, it’s the worst-looking Guitar Hero game since the third iteration (a low-point for the series for the current console generation). Really, I have fonder memories of the looks for the first Guitar Hero game, on the Playstation 2, which at least made decent use of color.
    Worse, however, is the sound treatment, which is stereo only. For a music/rhythm game to be released in this day and age without full Dolby Digital surround is simply not permissible. Compare it to any other game in the franchise or anything from the Rock Band franchise and this one comes off sounding flat and hollow. It may fit the equally generic concert venues depicted in the game, but it isn’t befitting of a once great band.
    Still, were these the game’s only failing, they might be overlooked. Had the game the sense of celebration of its subject material that Beatles Rock Band boasted, or even Guitar Hero: Metallica or Guitar Hero: Aerosmith, for the matter, it might still be worth the price of admission. Instead what we get is a mockery of Van Halen’s history, one that is very likely perpetrated by the remaining band members themselves.

    How else to explain the fact that no less than three former members of the band: Michael Anthony, Sammy Hagar, and Gary Cherone are erased from its history? How else to explain that music from five of the band’s albums: 5150, OU812, For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge, Balance, and III is entirely absent from the game? No matter how you might feel about the post David Lee Roth years, it’s still an embarrassment. If a selection of 25 Van Halen songs from 1984 and earlier is the best Activision can bring to the table, why not simply offer them as DLC for the much higher quality Guitar Hero 5 platform?
    Instead we get decrepit and creepy looking depictions of over-the-hill Eddie Van Halen, Alex Van Halen, and David Lee Roth, with Eddie’s son Wolfgang on bass. Now, Wolfgang may be the best young bassist of his generation for all I know, but when the songs he’s shown playing in this game were released, the lad wasn’t even born yet.
    Finally, there is Activision’s insistence in muddying the waters of its band-themed games by making nearly half of its tracks (19 in all) those from other artists. Oh, they claim these are tracks that inspired or were inspired by the band, but who’s kidding who? I mean, really, Stacey’s Mom? Semi-Charmed Life? Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)? This is what Activision thinks fans are clamoring to play after divesting their wallets of $60 for this budget-produced Van Halen title?
    If there is a silver lining, and it is a thin one at that, it’s that for fans of the band, many of the tracks included in the game are iconic anthems from the band’s history. No matter how weak the surrounding package, it can still be fun to play such tracks as Panama, Aint’ Talk’n Bout Love, You Really Got Me, and Running With the Devil. It’s a testament to what could have been, and ultimately wasn’t.
    In a world where The Beatles Rock Band exists, the paltry effort put into Guitar Hero: Van Halen is, quite simply, deplorable. If you‘re going to devote the time, money, and effort to developing a band-themed game in this franchise—then do it right. Don’t embarrass yourselves by passing something like this off as a legitimate, full-featured game. This one is all on Activision. It doesn’t take much reading between the lines to see that Underground developed this game with both hands tied behind its proverbial back. There’s simply no way this is the game they wanted to make. This isn’t a game that anyone would want to make. It's a lesson in how to stick a fork in a once proud franchise.

    Review by: Todd Brakke
    Source: http://www.gameshark.com

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    Zaenal Fahmi said...

    Cool post...
    Continue your posts!

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