Hot off the heels of Guitar Hero: Metallica, Van Halen have been summoned to the rhythm game proving grounds. The name of the game is still Guitar Hero, but the flavor has changed from gritty metal to semi-sweet 80′s rock. Does the approachable catchiness of Van Halen lend itself well to the Guitar Hero franchise, or has it and music like it dated beyond relevance?
Hit the jump and let us help you decide if it’s time to squeeze on the neon yellow jumpsuit one last time.
We here at Gamer Limit were lucky enough to get our hands on the full band experience. The overall framework of Guitar Hero is firmly in place. The menu structure, song selection, band setup, and overall foundation of the game remains the same since Guitar Hero: World Tour. A coat of Van Halen themed gloss has been applied to add authenticity, but nothing really drastic.
Upon selecting a song, the player is launched into a flamboyant venue featuring even more flamboyant musicians. Whenever playing a Van Halen song, the band will be visible playing and singing along, complete with David Lee Roth mid air splits and unique clothing choices. The character models, highway structure, and HUD are the same deal, however.
Rocking out to Van Halen songs like “Jump,” “You Really Got Me,” “Panama,” and Queen’s “I Want it All” is a very fun experience. Even non-fans of Van Halen will find themselves nodding their heads and tapping their feet in rhythm to the catchy, upbeat tunes. The note layout of each song is unique and engaging, but never ventures outside the box of the conventional Guitar Hero structure.
The difficulty of the songs is comparable to the majority of rhythm games. Challenge is based on overall rhythm game skill of the player, until the player ventures into hard or expert songs that emphasize their instrument of choice. Eddie Van Halen definitely can wail on the axe, and players will be forced to test their mettle against furiously frenzied guitar licks. Similarly, songs that focus on driving beats and double bass drums will test the reflexes of the most skilled drummers. We’re not exactly entering Guitar Hero: Metallica levels of epic brutality with song challenge here.
Overall, Guitar Hero: Van Halen reinforces the popular notion that Activision is not only squeezing everything thing they can out of the series like a tube of toothpaste, but they are taking a scissors and cutting open the tube to get every last drop. However, the product they continue to produce is high quality and fun, so as long as you can afford the price of admission, Guitar Hero: Van Halen will not disappoint.