Wii

North America

Guitar Hero: Smash Hits

by Neal Ronaghan - July 10, 2009, 11:32 pm PDT
Total comments: 20

7.5

Take a trip down memory lane in the latest Guitar Hero track pack.

For those who remember the halcyon days of plastic guitar-strumming, way before drums and microphones littered the living rooms across the world, Guitar Hero: Smash Hits is probably right up your alley. It's a collection of songs from Guitar Hero 1, 2, 3, '80s, and Aerosmith that are all master tracks and reworked to be playable with guitar, bass, drums, and vocals. The set list is good, as it contains almost all the classics that were in those games, but there's nothing new here: it's not much more than a 49-song expansion pack.

To compensate, Smash Hits offers up a story, albeit an incoherent one. You see, the God of Rock has something that resembles Tenacious D's Pick of Destiny, and for some obtuse reason, decides to show it to Team Guitar Hero, who were last seen chasing Metallica around the world and fighting the devil. The God of Rock proceeds to lead Team Guitar Hero on a wild goose chase around seven natural wonders, one of which is developer Beenox's hometown of Quebec.

Nonsensical story aside, the game still contains the tried-and-true gameplay of past Guitar Hero games, even more so for older fans of the series. While it is a bit weird seeing the guitar charts redone for songs from the older games, it is great to hear the master tracks for songs such as Queen's "Killer Queen" and Wolfmother's "Woman."

Master tracks and extra instruments aside, the only thing that appears to be new and different to this game is that all the songs are unlocked in Quickplay at the outset. This appears to be a growing trend in rhythm games, as Activision's Guitar Hero On Tour: Modern Hits and Harmonix's The Beatles: Rock Band both feature a fully playable set list in Quickplay out of the box.

The Career mode features the same progression as the previous expansion pack, Guitar Hero: Metallica, which isn't as freeform as the Career mode in last fall's Guitar Hero: World Tour. Basically, you begin with access to one venue and six songs, and as you get high scores on the songs you unlock more venues and songs. If you beat all the songs in a venue, you unlock an encore. After the encore, you further the harebrained story. If you're very good at the game, you can unlock the first six venues by the time you get to the third venue, but in order to beat Career mode, you must complete every single song. This linear type of progression might be a little restrictive, but it works well with the expansion pack nature of the game.

The biggest bummer is that this is a standalone game, which means that you have to back out to the Wii Menu if you ever want to switch between this and any other Guitar Hero game. There's also no compatibility with World Tour downloadable content, which means all this game is good for is the songs in the package.

Regardless, Smash Hits is a great value if you can't get enough of Guitar Hero. You get 49 songs for far less than they would be if they were downloadable content. It's also a fantastic throwback to the older games, and fans of those classics will appreciate playing through old favorites like Ozzy Osbourne's "Bark at the Moon" and Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Free Bird." Still, it's a full-blown retail release with only about half of the amount of songs in World Tour and the forthcoming Guitar Hero V. If you are absolutely desperate for more Guitar Hero, then Smash Hits is worth it. Everyone else is better off sitting tight for the next full-featured release.

Score

Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
7 9 8 7 7 7.5
Graphics
7

It's looks similar to Guitar Hero: Metallica and World Tour, but seems a lot less inspired as it's not the landmark release that World Tour was and it doesn't have the band-specific artistic flair that Metallica did.

Sound
9

The music sounds great, especially with all the master tracks. The set list is also quite varied and features everything from "Raining Blood" by Slayer to "I Love Rock N' Roll" by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts.

Control
8

It's the same old guitar, drum, and microphone controls as the past two games. Once again, a few songs feature the Expert + drum difficulty, but there are considerably less of those because of the lack of a metal-dominated set list.

Gameplay
7

Nothing new was added to the gameplay in this installment, so it keeps all the warts of the previous game. (Most notably, when one band member fails, everyone fails). It's still a fun arcade-like gameplay experience with the same Saturday morning cartoon vibe that the previous games had.

Lastability
7

There are 49 songs in this latest game, which brings back a good amount of songs from the Guitar Hero vault. However, there's no way to bring the songs over to World Tour and no downloadable content.

Final
7.5

Guitar Hero: Smash Hits is a great purchase for Guitar Hero aficionados, bringing old songs to the band gameplay format. However, it's still held back by the same thing as the other Guitar Hero track packs: it features a lot less than the similarly priced Guitar Hero: World Tour and upcoming Guitar Hero V.

Summary

Pros
  • Great, varied set list
  • Master tracks for every song!
Cons
  • No downloadable content
  • Redone guitar charts might be off-putting for longtime fans
  • Songs not transferable to World Tour
Review Page 2: Conclusion

Talkback

It was NOT built for World Tour? Well, f*ck it. I'm not paying $60 for songs I played three years ago, I'm sorry. Lower the price or let me use the equipment I don't have and can't afford, but someday hope to.

Quote from: Halbred

It was NOT built for World Tour? Well, f*ck it. I'm not paying $60 for songs I played three years ago, I'm sorry. Lower the price or let me use the equipment I don't have and can't afford, but someday hope to.

Wait, what?

NWR_pap64Pedro Hernandez, Contributing WriterJuly 12, 2009

OK Halbred confused me as well...

I thought Smash Hits allowed for full band play on old songs. Am I missing something?

kraken613July 12, 2009

Man, you left out that I told you to say! haha

Your reviews are always great, and that second paragraph is epic.

thatguyJuly 12, 2009

If it isn't clear, it does allow for full band play on songs: Guitar, bass, drums, and vocals.

Quote:

It's a collection of songs from Guitar Hero 1, 2, 3, '80s, and Aerosmith that are all master tracks and reworked to be playable with guitar, bass, drums, and vocals.

Flames_of_chaosLukasz Balicki, Staff AlumnusJuly 12, 2009

Stuff like this makes me happy that Rock Band exists.

thatguyJuly 12, 2009

Why's that, now?

Doesn't Activision still release DLC weekly?

NWR_pap64Pedro Hernandez, Contributing WriterJuly 12, 2009

Quote from: thatguy

Why's that, now?

Doesn't Activision still release DLC weekly?

What he means is that Smash Hits could have easily been a DLC pack for World Tour but instead decide to make a full priced retail release, especially after the release of Metallica.

It should be noted, however, that Rock Band also does retail track packs, but are usually at budget price and are offered as alternative for those that can't connect their consoles and buy the songs.

Quote from: pap64

Quote from: thatguy

Why's that, now?

Doesn't Activision still release DLC weekly?

What he means is that Smash Hits could have easily been a DLC pack for World Tour but instead decide to make a full priced retail release, especially after the release of Metallica.

It should be noted, however, that Rock Band also does retail track packs, but are usually at budget price and are offered as alternative for those that can't connect their consoles and buy the songs.

In all honesty, Rock Band is not this saintly game of truth and virtue on the Wii. The Wii version does not have all the benefits of the 360/PS3 version.

The big issue with this game is that it is $50. If this were priced at $30, it would be a steal. But it's not.

NWR_pap64Pedro Hernandez, Contributing WriterJuly 12, 2009

Quote from: nron10

Quote from: pap64

Quote from: thatguy

Why's that, now?

Doesn't Activision still release DLC weekly?

What he means is that Smash Hits could have easily been a DLC pack for World Tour but instead decide to make a full priced retail release, especially after the release of Metallica.

It should be noted, however, that Rock Band also does retail track packs, but are usually at budget price and are offered as alternative for those that can't connect their consoles and buy the songs.

In all honesty, Rock Band is not this saintly game of truth and virtue on the Wii. The Wii version does not have all the benefits of the 360/PS3 version.

The big issue with this game is that it is $50. If this were priced at $30, it would be a steal. But it's not.

You talking about the first Rock Band or the sequel? I ask because I was under the impression that Rock Band 2 on Wii featured all the options found in the PS3/360 versions, including downloadable songs, and if I am not mistaken some of the track pack songs could be carried over to the sequel.

Sorry if I am sounding ignorant but I am fall behind when it comes to music games.

You can't do things like export the songs from the Track Packs and put them in RB2, which is something you can do on 360/PS3. I'm about 95% certain of that.

What these games need is a disc swap feature. I believe Singstar has this (and probably other games) where you can easily swap different game discs in and out without backing out to the main menu.

Nick DiMolaNick DiMola, Staff AlumnusJuly 13, 2009

The Wii Track Packs for Rock Band are really annoying for a number of reasons. Most importantly, as Neal said, you can't export the tracks from the disc into Rock Band 2 like you can on the 360/PS3. This means you need to swap discs each time you want to play those tracks, AND you need to recalibrate the game with your TV without the automatic simple way that is included in Rock Band 2.

It ultimately makes no sense why the track packs are gimped for the Wii version, because at worst, MTV Games could've included some code that would allow you to download the songs from the track pack via the in-game Rock Band 2 shop.

Quote from: Mr.

It ultimately makes no sense why the track packs are gimped for the Wii version, because at worst, MTV Games could've included some code that would allow you to download the songs from the track pack via the in-game Rock Band 2 shop.

...which is what they did for the 360/PS3 versions of them...

thatguyJuly 13, 2009

Did anyone happen to factor in the pricing differences of the Rock Band Track Packs and the Guitar Hero games?

Track Packs are released $30 a pop with 20 songs a piece.  $1.50 a song.

Guitar Hero: Smash Hits is $50 and has 49 songs.  About $1.02 a song.

Sure, some Track Packs have gone down in price, but the same could be said about Guitar Hero games, over time, too.  Essentially, the Guitar Hero games have better bang for the buck and include the song-builder modes, as well.

Guitar Hero: World Tour is $50 and has 80something songs.

thatguyJuly 13, 2009

It does, but I was comparing only the expansion games, the track packs and GH's newer expansions, which, while more expensive than track packs, are a better bang for the buck.  GH:WT is more on par with Rock Band 2, really, in song choice and functionality.

Quote from: thatguy

It does, but I was comparing only the expansion games, the track packs and GH's newer expansions, which, while more expensive than track packs, are a better bang for the buck.  GH:WT is more on par with Rock Band 2, really, in song choice and functionality.

Your point is valid, but to me, $50 is a lot for what is essentially an expansion pack. Rock Band's track packs might not be as cost effective, but there's a smaller amount of songs and their themes make it more tailored for specific genre fans. Also, most of them are already available for download.

It's a tricky thing. I just want to be able to have an easy way to swap discs if you can't bring the songs all over to one game.

StratosJuly 13, 2009

I'm actually dissapointed in the track lists I've seen for this so I'll either wait for a price drop or pass over it entirely.

I'm hoping that RB3 on Wii will include the 'song ripping' feature for older games/discs. I really want the songs on RB1. Also offering them on the store would be nice, but I want Nintendo to grow up and let Harmonix offer discount bundles for complete track packs.

thatguyJuly 14, 2009

Quote from: nron10

Quote from: thatguy

It does, but I was comparing only the expansion games, the track packs and GH's newer expansions, which, while more expensive than track packs, are a better bang for the buck.  GH:WT is more on par with Rock Band 2, really, in song choice and functionality.

Your point is valid, but to me, $50 is a lot for what is essentially an expansion pack. Rock Band's track packs might not be as cost effective, but there's a smaller amount of songs and their themes make it more tailored for specific genre fans. Also, most of them are already available for download.

It's a tricky thing. I just want to be able to have an easy way to swap discs if you can't bring the songs all over to one game.

Have you looked at the track packs?  The only one that was geared with a decent theme was the Country one.  Classic Rock was any sort of rock from the 90's and before it, with no solid genre, and the other two are essentially random packs of songs, with no theme.  GH: Metallica has a hard rock theme solid for fans of hard rock, while GH: Smash Hits is a collection more akin to the two random track packs... but more songs than the two combined.

Truthfully, if you're looking for the least amount of disc switching, you're by far best off using either Rock Band 2 or Guitar Hero World Tour, and making purchases online.  Since it's clear you want tracks of a particular style or genre, you'd be able to purchase specifically what's worth it to you, and not have to worry about switching discs or a bunch of songs you may not enjoy.

I'm not trying to bash Rock Band at all, I've just seen that overall, people have a better opinion of it than they do Guitar Hero, and the reasoning, beyond song list differences, are often unjustified, and make little sense, to me.  In all honesty, the track packs and the Guitar Hero expansion titles will become a good value, no matter what, once their value deteriorates, like what happened with the first Rock Band and pre-World Tour GH titles.  If you really want an amazing bang for your buck, wait a year, and buy up everything.  You'll be sure to find a sweet deal, then ;)

Of course if you were one of those people who bought World Tour just now, as it went on sale at GameStop for $100 off, then you already know what I mean.

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Guitar Hero: Smash Hits Box Art

Genre Rhythm
Developer Beenox
Players1 - 4

Worldwide Releases

na: Guitar Hero: Smash Hits
Release Jun 16, 2009
PublisherActivision
RatingTeen
aus: Guitar Hero Greatest Hits
Release Jun 24, 2009
PublisherActivision
RatingParental Guidance
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