Guitar Hero: Smash Hits

Revisiting the Best of Past Titles, Without Doing Anything New
by Matt Helgeson on Sep 22, 2009 at 02:04 PM
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Beenox
Rating: Teen
Reviewed on: Wii
Also on: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Is it too early for Guitar Hero nostalgia? Seems premature, but we live in an accelerated culture, and video games move fast. Here we are, only four years after the release of Harmonix's original PlayStation 2 Guitar Hero title, facing Smash Hits. As the name suggests, it's a greatest hits compilation of tracks from earlier GH titles, now featuring the full band play introduced in World Tour.

The title is designed with one thing in mind: creating for revenue for Activision. This is especially odd in light of the fact that it feels like something that could be addressed through downloadable content, as Harmonix has done so well with Rock Band. While my instinct is to be a curmudgeon, once I dug in, I got caught up again in playing the songs that taught me what music gaming was all about, like ''Killer Queen'' or ''Bark at the Moon.'' It's especially edifying to find out how much fun it is to play old favorites like ''Freya'' by The Sword on drums. In addition, some of the GH I and II songs that were covers are now straight from the original masters. While some of the note charts have been altered (and not always for the better), for the most part it's great fun.

Smash Hits does absolutely nothing to advance the GH brand in any way, but if you've long since packed up your PS2 it's a great way to get your hands on some old-school favorites. You're basically paying $1.25 per song, which is lower than DLC pricing. Not a bad deal if you can handle jamming yet another Guitar Hero box into your racks.

Game Informer's Review System
Concept Guitar Hero experiences a landmark in any rock star's career: the first ''greatest hits'' repackaging of old songs
Graphics While the songs are old, the visual presentation is similar to World Tour or Guitar Hero: Metallica
Sound Although there's nothing we haven't played before, an awful lot of really great songs are here
Playability It's interesting to see some differences in the note charts between the original tracks and these new remakes. For the hardcore drum crowd, there is Expert + mode for a handful of songs
Entertainment While it's definitely product-for-product's-sake, we can't help but get a warm feeling of nostalgia playing these old favorites in a new context
Replay Moderately High