This is one of those reviews that's not really easy to do, since the Guitar Hero games have started to come out as if pumped by the bellows of banality, with very little in the way of new features or an inspired track-list until World Tour I can only say that, this one, Guitar Hero Greatest Hits takes the bar and keeps it around the same level as GH Metallica. If you're an old-skool Guitar Hero fan then you're not going to find much here to keep you going, a few innovations here and there give you a better gameplay experience than the core GH or dare I say it, World Tour.
The game is basically just like GH Metallica and Guitar Hero World Tour, it supports the band, custom character generation however doesn't allow you to actually make a proper band ala Rock Band 2 does, with the whole band dynamic and characters who play with you every time, you're relegated to the developers list of session musicians and there's no real band play apart from when you have a bunch of friends join you as their custom characters.
You unlock clothes and venues by playing various gigs; the system is similar to GH M and gives you the freedom to play the track list right from the start. So if you don't want to be bothered with the cut-down career mode, you can just dive right in and rock out to some classic tunes. Yes, that's right, Greatest Hits is just that, packed with tracks from the previous GH games such as Warrant's: Cherry Pie or Dragonforce: Through the Fire and Flames, it's a treat for the old skool rocker and metal head alike.
The Guitar Hero staples from World Tour are still there, the good old custom song studio is back and this is what makes me think, apart from a few new guitars, highways and extra bits like custom clothing, it's a reskin of GH M, which is a reskin of World Tour. Sure, they made it a lot easier to sing in GH M and GH GH but there's really not much else in the way of innovation, and why should they? after all, Guitar Hero 5 is around the corner and that is boasting lots of new innovative ways to play.
Nothing has changed here; the game still has the same cartoon-style tongue-in-cheek introductions, character graphics and venues. They haven't bothered to change the engine, leaving those changes till 5 is released (judging by the trailers we've seen) to whip the series into a new shape. The lighting and the stage effects are superb, as well as the character costumes - that's one area that I always felt GH excelled in compared to the Rock Band series, there's just something outlandish about having a ninja with an ape head.
With a slightly tweaked animation system, Greatest Hits boasts some nice and fluid guitar shredding and metal mania. The delightful whacky intro animations are there in all their glory and a real sense of style and character comes through in the music-video engine when you're playing a song, it's possible to become utterly distracted by the actual stage and animations that you miss notes. Yes Evil Plipster, I have seen it happen!
Well, let's see, the music is exactly the driving force of the game. So there's not much we can say except, it has some good tracks that span the series of GH games. If you're a GH fan this is worth picking up if you like to play with others, if you're new to the series, jumping in at World Tour or this game is highly worth it for the music selection.
The ambient and spot effects in Greatest Hits work well, the crowd are nicely vocal and it delivers on an audio front to help you live those Rockstar dreams.
As you might expect there's very little in the way of voice beyond the odd sounds made by the characters in the animated cut-scenes. The only voice you should be hearing is your own as you belt out Cherry Pie through the mic and scare the cats.
It's pretty much the same as GH Metallica and GH World Tour, so no changes there really.
I love Rock and Roll!
As stated previously, if you own the other GH games and you're just in it for the shred of fingers on strings, or the clack of fingers on plastic, then you might want to skip this. If you're a band player, you'll probably want to grab it. It's a nice trip down memory lane and will tide you over till 5 smashes down.