Guitar Hero: Aerosmith is the first in what is sure to become a long line of band-centric Guitar Hero experiences. Imagine Guitar Hero: Metallica, Guitar Hero: AC/DC, Guitar Hero: The Beatles. The possibilities are endless. Guitar Hero: Aerosmith is a bit of a litmus test in that regard. Will fans dig a Guitar Hero experience that focuses on a single band?
Guitar Hero: Aerosmith is built on the framework of Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock right down to the boss battles (there’s a boss battle with Joe Perry towards the end of Guitar Hero: Aerosmith). Developer Neversoft has made some adjustments to help make it a uniquely Aerosmith experience. The Career Mode, for instance, follows the history of Aerosmith from their first show at Mendon Nipmuc Regional High School to the Super Bowl XXXV halftime show, and ultimately to their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, each represented as venues in the game. Steven Tyler, Joe Perry and company were motion captured and while the end result is pretty authentic, Steven Tyler looks even more “unique” as an individual than ever. His looks are a little on the cartoon’ish side but then again, that’s always been the style of Guitar Hero.
So you’ve captured the look and feel of the band, you’re following them through various periods in their musical history, and you’ve even provided interviews, albeit short ones, with members of Aerosmith between sets, and yet I can’t help but feel there’s a lack of Aerosmith in Guitar Hero: Aerosmith. You know what it is? It’s the soundtrack.
Each venue starts with a pair of “opening acts,” songs from bands that actually played with Aerosmith, including The Clash, Run DMC, Ted Nugent and the Stone Temple Pilot, which are then followed by a pair of Aerosmith songs. Once you’ve successfully completed these four songs, you’ll unlock an encore by Aerosmith and then move on to the next set. There are a total of six sets in the game. Go ahead, I’ll give you a moment to do the math. That’s right, there are only 18 Aerosmith tracks in Guitar Hero: Aerosmith. If you’re going to put the spotlight on Aerosmith, or any band for that matter, you might as well go all out. I appreciate that all of the Aerosmith tracks are master recordings but how about offering four songs per set, with seven or eight sets instead of just six? Do I have to wait for Guitar Hero: Aerosmith 2 to get “Dude Looks Like a Lady,” “Cryin,” “Crazy,” or “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing?” Ok, maybe we don't need that last one.
This might all be a moot point if Guitar Hero: Aerosmith retailed for $29.99 or even $39.99 for that matter, but it doesn’t. It retails for $59.99, which is the same sticker price as Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock. The difference? Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock offers almost twice as many songs on its soundtrack. It’s not a question of quality, it’s a matter of bang for your buck, and Guitar Hero: Aerosmith comes up short in that area.
Obviously your enjoyment of Guitar Hero: Aerosmith will depend largely on your appreciation for the band’s music, but there are other factors, namely its price point, that make a purchase hard to justify. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of the Guitar Hero franchise and I’m giddy with excitement at the prospect of playing Guitar Hero: World Tour later this fall, but I simply can’t whole-heartedly recommend Guitar Hero: Aerosmith as long as it retails for $59.99. There’s simply not enough value here at that price. If you’re an Aerosmith fan, hold onto your pick and wait for the price to come down.