Review: Guitar Hero Greatest Hits - Xbox 360

by Steven Williamson on 6 July 2009, 14:32

Tags: Activision (NASDAQ:ATVI), Simulation

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Gameplay impressions

What do we like?
Being able to play some of the better tunes from past games with a full band is hugely appealing. Over the Christmas period, we revisited the original Guitar Hero to play ‘Take Me Out’ and ‘Killer Queen,’ using just the guitar peripheral, but now that these tunes and others have been re-invigorated with full band mode, and have received some note changes, it feels fresh playing them again.

Harmonix has made some wise choices with the track listing, which is probably the strongest out of all the Guitar Hero games – and so it should be being a "Greatest Hits" selection. Though the omission of any Guns 'n Roses tracks is bizarre, it’s great to see such classic as Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘Free Bird’ and Queens of the Stone Age ‘Know One Knows,’ being revived once more. It’s also nice to hear the proper renditions of some of the songs. Gone are the horrible covers such as Nirvana’s ‘Heart-shaped box,’ which have now been placed by the original master tracks. We're also happy to see that this is the first Guitar Hero game where for once you don’t have to unlock all of the songs before you can play them. The entire track list is available to play right from the outset.

Anyone who’s ever played Guitar Hero will know that the gameplay is extremely addictive and it’s no different here. Everything that makes Guitar Hero such an essential purchase for rock fans is here in abundance and the Guitar Hero World Tour framework makes it that more appealing.

What don’t we like?
Why can’t we just buy Guitar Hero World Tour and download these songs via the Xbox Live marketplace? That would have been nice, wouldn’t it? Ah, but the Guitar Hero franchise is so successful that it’s become a license to print money. We were quite shocked that it’s retailing with the full price tag of £39.99. It seems a bit steep for songs that we’ve already played. Sure, it must have taken Harmonix a bit of time to re-master them into the new format, but it still seems like a high price to pay.

Furthermore, many of the tracks from the first few Guitar Hero games were specifically chosen because they have strong guitar sections, so some of them feel a bit out of place when played with all of the instruments. ‘Free Bird, for example, has a stunning guitar instrumental but the bass and drum parts are fairly insignificant and are totally overshadowed by the guitar.

Final Thoughts
The hefty price tag is still going to be worth it for true Guitar Hero fans, though it 's still going to depend on whether you’re enticed by the track listing to want to play these old tunes with the full band experience. If you're new to the Guitar Hero franchise, however, Guitar Hero Greatest Hits is a very decent place to start.

Final Score - 8/10

Track listing overleaf...