Guitar Hero: Van Halen
is not the first band-centric Guitar Hero
release, but if the quality is any indication, I hope it will be the last or at least lead to a major reboot on how Activision handles the concept. With the two previous releases, GH: Aerosmith
and GH: Metallica
, Activision pulled out all the stops on highlighting why that band deserved its own title. Aerosmith delivered a playable "Behind the Music" retrospective on the band, while Metallica's music spoke for itself. With GH: Van Halen
, we get what amounts to a track pack with a heavy dose of Van Halen.
Structurally, GH: Van Halen is GH: Metallica, but with weak connections to the band's history. Things start out strong with a two-song set based on the group's last tour, but then it's just a run to earn stars and unlock new venues and earn money to buy things for avatars you won't see much of during the game. When it comes to band-specific stuff, GH: Van Halen is able to muster up some pop-up trivia for songs in Career. Though interesting, big parts of the band's history are omitted. I understand not wanting to dig up old wounds and am certain legal issues are a part of the deal, but if you can't do a major send up, I'd rather just see something along the lines of Band Hero rather than a watered-down tribute.
GH: Van Halen retains Quickplay and Head-to-Head, both of which can be played online, as well as access to the GH Studio. Though their inclusion is appreciated, I had a difficult time finding online games. At least the quality of the songs in the GH Studio are drastically improving, including a set of great remixes of Christmas songs.