Friday, August 10, 2007

Guitar Hero Encore (Rocks the 80s): Review


Last night, I finally finished Guitar Hero Encore on PS2 in "Medium" mode and moved briefly into "Hard" mode. But I wanted to provide a review of GH Encore.

I was mistaken in thinking that this was "Guitar Hero 3." I have since learned that GH3 is supposed to be out in the fall. I didn't find this out until after purchasing GH Encore.

But here's what I thought.
First, realize that my review is coming from the PS2 platform. If you are playing it on Ps3 or XBox, your experience may be different than mine. So, realize that disclaimer up front.

First, the Good.
1. There are some extremely fun songs to play on this edition of GH. Songs like "Radar Love," "Hold On Loosely," "I Wanna Rock," "What I Like about You," "Heat of the Moment," "Round and Round," "I Ran (which I actually downloaded for my iPod as a result of this game)," "18 and Life" and "No One Like You" are generally fun songs to play. They are memorable songs that are enjoyable to rock through. In fact, as I was playing one night I found myself singing along to "The Warrior" by Scandal.

2. There are some really fun bands with great tunes to play. Bands like "The Police," "Ratt" and "Poison."

3. The Grim Reaper has some 3D shades... after you unlock him for game play.

But that's about it for the good.
The Neutral:
I'm going to call this section "Neutral" because it could be either good or bad... but its not necessarily both.
1. The Game Play on GH Encore (graphics, maps, characters, venues, etc) are exactly the same as GH2. GH2 was a big difference from GH1. And that was what I was expecting. But that is not however the way that the PS2 version was. As the band travels from venue to venue (which are the same as in GH2), the band travels along the map of the US (which is the same as in GH2).
This could be both good and bad. It could be good in that it is comfortable. Having played GH2 extensively, I felt right at home. I knew what to expect. I knew where we were going and everything. It just felt like I had a new crop of songs to play along the way.
But it's bad in that there isn't anything new. Some of the loading graphic one-liners are different, but it's the same o' same o'. No new graphics... no new maps... no surprises. And at this point in my play through "hard" there aren't any new venues.

Now for the Bad... which is actually more than I wish it were.
1. There are less characters to buy and unlock. At this point, I have completed "Medium" through, even nailing a couple of 100% on the way, but there is only one character to unlock with money earned. And there don't even seem to be shadows available of other character to unlock. I have played one set list on "Hard" and there don't seem to be any more to play. My hope was that there would be some more on "Hard"... but there aren't... and I haven't worked up to "Expert" yet. So that may be the one hopefully item in this "bad."

2. There isn't a single song to purchase. Not on "Medium" which I played entirely through. And at this point, not one on "Hard" either. I have played one set, so my hope is that some will unlock as I play. But it doesn't even give you an option in the "Store" to buy more songs. To me, that's a waste.

With #1 and #2 in mind, I almost find short changed... but there is more.

3. There are of course a crop of songs that I have never heard and are not at all familiar with. This is bound to happen... but I still find myself thinking, "Why in the world is this song "Only a Lad" on here. The song stinks. It's almost like they got a great group of songs together, but it was 10 songs short so they threw on some more to round it out.

4. Some of the songs have that annoying 80s rock "fade." Where the song isn't really done, but the volume slowly begins to fade out as the song wraps up. One would have thought that they could have re-recorded them or something. I have never been to a single concert where the band ended a song with a slow fade of the music.

That's my humble opinion. I'm a huge GH fan... I've logged hundreds of hours on the end of a GH controller. My hope is that this version of Guitar Hero will get better and maybe I'll be surprised by some songs, more characters and what-not. But having played a bit of "hard," I'm not optimistic.

My rating for Guitar Hero Encore (Rocks the 80s): C-



  1. Have you started writing that Candide paper yet?

  2. Nope...
    Not yet...

    But if I want and start it first thing on Monday...


    That totally made me laugh out loud.