Guitar Hero Encore Rocks the 80s Review

PlayStation 2

August 9, 2007 by

Guitar Hero Encore Rocks the 80s Image

It was inevitable, really; a successful series like Guitar Hero is almost always destined to have a handful of quickly-thought cash-ins that aim to capitalize on the sudden success of a particular franchise without bringing anything notably new or commendable to the table. While the original Guitar Hero and its sequel offered a distinct gameplay style and new offers that made them all-round packages, Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s is anything but. Its essentially Guitar Hero II with thirty new tracks, some new costumes for the familiar playable characters and a new colour scheme that tries unsuccessfully to convince you that youre within a 1980s setting.

You see, Rocks the 80s doesnt offer anything new that we havent already seen in the past two games. Almost everything is the same as Guitar Hero II, apart from the new track list that consists of 30 songs taken from the classic rock era. Disappointingly, many of the tracks arent master tracks, and we had never even heard of quite a few of the tracks, something thats certainly disappointing given the countless classic releases that hit our radios during the era. Basically, Rocks the 80s isnt an entirely new game: its an expansion, merely offering 30 additional tracks for you to rock out to.

The problem that we have with the game isnt just the fact that its a basic expansion. The key complaint we have is that it appears to be marketed as an entirely new, fully-fledged game, and its price point supports this. When youre paying almost as much for Rocks the 80s as you did for the past two FULL games, theres a problem. You cant help but feel as though youre being ripped off when you splash down your hard cash on this one.

If youre a big fan of the previous games and can look past this pricing issue, youre bound to find quite a few hours of fun with this one. It doesnt feel as refreshingly new as the previous games did, and its unlikely that youll spend as much time with this one as you have with the previous iterations. However, if youve been thirsty for new tracks to rock out to, this is worthy of a look, although the quality of the selection of tracks doesnt appear to be quite as high as the previous games. Yes, there are some pure classics here, such as Vapors Turning Japanese, Ratts Round and Round and The Romantics What I like about you. But there are also a handful of virtually unknown releases, leading to the impression that Harmonix has become a bit slack with hunting down and securing more well-known hits to rock to.

The multiplayer component is still on hand, offering the familiar multiplayer modes of Cooperative, Face-Off and Pro Face-Off modes, which proves to be plenty of fun if you happen to have a friend with a spare guitar controller handy.

The full track listing for Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s is as follows:
Caught in a Mosh (as made famous by Anthrax)
Balls to the Wall (as made famous by Accept)
Electric Eye (by Judas Priest)
Los Angeles (as made famous by X)
Police Truck (as made famous by Dead Kennedys)
We Got the Beat (as made famous by The Go Go's)
(I Think I'm) Turning Japanese (as made famous by Vapors)
Seventeen (as made famous by Winger)
Because, it's Midnite (by Limozeen)
Hold On Loosely (as made famous by .38 Special)
No One Like You (as made famous by Scorpions)
Only a Lad (as made famous by Oingo Boingo)
Ballroom Blitz (as made famous by Krokus)
The Warrior (by Scandal)
What I Like About You (as made famous by The Romantics)
Wrath Child (as made famous by Iron Maiden)
I Wanna Rock (by Twisted Sister)
I Ran (by Flock of Seagulls)
Round and Round (as made famous by Ratt)
Metal Health (as made famous by Quiet Riot)
Holy Diver (as made famous by Dio)
Heat Of The Moment (as made famous by Asia)
Radar Love (as made famous by White Lion)
18 and Life (as made famous by Skid Row)
Bathroom Wall (as made famous by Faster Pussycat)
Lonely is the Night (as made famous by Billy Squier)
Nothing But a Good Time (as made famous by Poison)
Play With Me (as made famous by Extreme)
Shaken (as made famous by Eddie Money)
Synchronicity II (as made famous by The Police)

It is questioning as to why Activision has decided to release this expansion pack as an almost full-priced game. If it had admitted to what it was and given it the typical expansion pack treatment, we wouldnt have had any hesitation in recommending fans to pick this one up. The game is still very solid, and is still one of the best music rhythm games currently out there. Alas, while this one is worthwhile if youre looking to add further tracks to your available library, we cant help but feel a bit ripped off with the lack of new additions and its arguably unfair price point.

Rating: 6.8/10

Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.