Guitar Hero: Aerosmith (XB360)

Beautifully continuing GHIII’s ~perfected gameplay system while reinventing it in a smoky 80’s purple-y haze with phenomenal supporting artists and a well-executed narrative storytelling arc from Aerosmith’s first HS mini-gig to Super Bowl XXXV. 8/10.

Guitar Hero: Aerosmith is a music rhythm game developed by Neversoft, published by Activision and distributed by RedOctane

*Possible spoilers ahead*

Review: Like the blitzing riff on Train Kept A’ Rollin, Guitar Hero’s new bat-outta-hell project Aerosmith is yet another home run for the biggest music gaming franchise. When I heard GH and Activision were going to take their iconic platform and use it to make solo games for some of the biggest rock legends in history, I nearly lost it with excitement. Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, AC/DC, Metallica, Van Halen, Pink Floyd, Queen, Guns N’ Roses, Black Sabbath: the possibilities for the greatest bands of All-Time to get a documentary-like exploration of their history, formation, and music was too much to contemplate. And on that premise and craftsmanship, they delivered. Beautifully continuing GHIII’s perfected-gameplay system while reinventing it in a smoky 70’s/80’s purple-y haze for Aerosmith, the game is about as flawless as you can possibly get from a guitar/band simulation standpoint. And beyond that, the construction method is absolutely BRILLIANT too, taking us on a tour through Aerosmith’s history with actual narration and insights from the band while playing some of their biggest songs at some of the biggest gigs or most important defining snapshot locations from their first gig at Nipmuc High School’s prom to Half-Time at the Super Bowl to The Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2001. Amazing. The songs selected are great, not glossing over any of their biggest hits from emotion-pure Dream On to wah-filled Sweet Emotion to the hard rock Back In The Saddle to my favorite and the guitar-prodigic Train Kept A’ Rollin that does makes you work on that last song before closing. The cartoons are great as usual, guitar battle with Joe epic, GH characters redesigned well with tons of new guitar and customization options, and openers fantastic perfectly blending/mixing in sound playing exactly like openers do and consisting of some legendary acts not really given much GH-attention in the past like Lenny Kravitz, Cheap Trick, Ted Nugent, The Kinks, and The Black Crowes, while also being real-life accurate in how headliners would be opened for at a real gig. It about delivers the absolute-perfect titular-band love-letter style and experience that any Aerosmith fan will go absolutely ga-ga over. Flaws are few, one being subjective and two being objective problems. Subjectively, while Aerosmith is unquestionably a top band and deserves their place amongst American rock greats, are they really great enough to be given an entire solo game? The game is honestly near-perfect in its construction, but the fact that this game could have been given to any number of worldwide-legendary bands like the ones I mentioned early makes it a bit of a downer. If this exact same game had been centered around say The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Metallica, or Van Halen (who both did get their own GH game later but that paled in quality construction compared to this), it would have been madness and an All-Time gaming history accomplishment. More objectively on a non-personal note, the game could’ve been a bit harder in construction (didn’t fail a song once mid-solo, far less challenging than GHIII) and could’ve used at least one more set or stop on the tour/way, since only having 6 sets of ~5 songs (2 of them being openers each time) gives a slightly-incomplete number of songs even by GH’s standards and past games. Overall though, despite a debatable band choice and somewhat-shortened setlist, Guitar Hero: Aerosmith is a sublime rock experience beautifully continuing GHIII’s perfected gameplay system and signature design while reinventing it in a 80’s purple-y haze with strong guest artists, an incredible documentary-like narrative curating/explaining the bands’ biggest moments and sets, and great songs choices for its titular band that will make any Aerosmith fan go nuts.

Overall Rating: 9/10