Wednesday, June 24, 2009

GH: Smash Hits disappoints my already low expectations.


So after months of anticipation and hyping (admittedly from my end), I have a few people asking me:

"Hey Lucien, why don't you have Guitar Hero: Smash Hits yet? Weren't you waiting for that one?

Honestly, I was..

Then I saw this.

Forget the solo, that's standard Guitar Hero fare by now. It's that tomfoolery at the end that deserves special mention. A 5 button chord.

For a thunderstrike noise. Not a guitar sound, the sound of thunder crashing. Great.

I'd blame it on Neversoft not even trying anymore in a fit of anger, but after doing a bit of internet matlocking, I found out it wasn't even Neversoft who did the charting for the songs this time around, it was outsourced to another dev called "Beenox".

News Flash: You're truly milking your franchise when you have to assign it to other developers. Perhaps the other three GH games being developed this year are a bit unnecessary, hm?

Actually playing the game for a bit didn't do them any more favors as well. Songs I knew and loved were changed, some for the worst rather than best. Easy songs were fitted with awkward parts, harder songs were made easier, and even the songs themselves sounded worse in spots. How did this happen? The objective was simple, to take songs that were ALREADY on another three discs, transplant them here, add vocals and drums (bass for a few of them) and you have a finished product. I won't go into Guitar Hero's presentation issues, the game hasn't really advanced graphically in about 3 years anyway.

I already knew it was a cash-in from the get go, as the title required such a modicum of effort to become a reality in the first place. No matter how much fun the title was, it was still just a copy/paste job that would've been better served as DLC. Suddenly, the concessions I'd made to accept it ended up being the reason I hate it. The game DOES need to be downloadable content, as they're charging $59.99 for a GH title with 48 songs and NO downloadable compatibility with previous games. Worse even, the game won't have DLC of it's own, so after the nostalgia trip is over, you're left with little else to toy around with. I'll admit there's a fair amount of replay in the vocals/drums parts, as many of these songs haven't been realized in a full band capacity, but from what I've seen, many of the drum charts outside of Expert+ (drumming with two bass pedals) are just plain monotonous, and the vocals are still unsatisfying, due to the way GH handles the entire endeavor.

I thought it'd be impossible for Guitar Hero: Smash Hits to disappoint, and I couldn't have been more wrong. It's almost as if Activision read my Guitar Zeroes post and wanted to try their best to keep me from spending my final $59.99 on the franchise. "We don't need your $60", they said. "We can make this into the biggest piece of shit ever and people will STILL buy it!" If the ravings of friends on Facebook and the avalanche of YouTube videos showcasing kids playing it are any indication, they're right. There's no accounting for taste, or quality as long as it says Guitar Hero on the box. The series went from quality over quantity with annual excellent releases, to the exact opposite with titles like this every few months.

There's also a 5 button chord in this game. I really can't get over it. What the hell were they thinking?

Activision: 1, Me: 0. You win guys.

As for me, I'm very much done. Back to Rock Band I go. DJ Hero admittedly looks like such an interesting experiment in my mind, but I have very little faith at this point.

We'll see.

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