Guitar Hero Aerosmith - impressions

I picked this up this morning for my review, because Activision apparently couldn’t get review code out early. I won’t post my review until tomorrow, but I feel like writing about this today, so I’m going to drift in and out of this thread as I complete each tier and post some early impressions.

Warning: Big post!

  • Intro movie: same style as GH3, but obviously with Aerosmith now. Kind of a “meh” from me – it didn’t have the humorous cohesion that the GH3 intro did.

  • Upon starting, I was prompted to download an update for the game via XBL. Are Day One updates like this common on the 360?

Career (Expert) Tier 1:

Instead of cartoony cutscenes, there are live interview clips with members of Aerosmith. The quality is average at best, and subtitles are on by default, which is annoying.

First two songs are unlocked by default – you can pick which to play.

  1. Dream Police - master track. Great song.
  2. All the Young Dudes - this is a cover version, and the introduction carries a “covered by Wavegroup” tag. Interesting, but since the games are moving to mostly master tracks, something we probably won’t see much of in the future.

After these songs are completed, you unlock 2 Aerosmith songs:
3. Make It
4. Uncle Salty

And then you unlock the Encore:
5. Draw the Line

“Draw the Line” seemed like the first good chart of the game – it’s the kind of song I could imagine playing repeatedly just for fun.

  • Difficulty check: 5* on all songs. No 100%'s, because I made a stupid mistake or two on every song. I could probably 100% all five in an hour if I wasn’t working on the review.

  • Disturbing trend: a few weeks ago, I bought a spare Les Paul because it was the first time I’d ever seen them available at Best Buy. Sadly, the guitar’s Star Power was borked – it triggers as soon as you have it, you can’t save it. So, wanting a proper Les Paul backup, I bought the Aerosmith bundle today and … this Les Paul has the same issue. The slightest vibration (like, say, sturumming) seems to trigger Star Power. Very bummed.

Career (Expert) Tier 2:

  • The intro here focuses on how the band played Max’s Kansas City in NYC when they were looking for a break. The live interviews are done in this weird style as if each band member told the story solo, and then 5-second pieces are spliced together to build the full story. Joe Perry in particular looks totally out of it, like someone just shoved some cue cards behind the camera and he’s not really sure what he’s saying. It’s really weird.

First two songs:
6. I Hate Myself for Loving You - I guess they wanted to throw Desmond Child (who wrote many of Aerosmith’s comeback hits) a bone here.
7. All Day and All of the Night - good cover, fun but challenging solo.

Next two Aerosmith songs:
8. No Surprize
9. Movin’ Out - both ok, neither is a standout IMO.

And the Encore:
10: Sweet Emotion – I really liked this chart, although the solo at the end will catch a lot of people off guard.

Difficulty Check: everything 5*'d again, although the solos were a lot trickier this tier.

Career (Expert) Tier 3

  • Intro interviews focus on the band’s comeback in 1984. Does this need a spoiler tag? :)
  1. Complete Control - this song did nothing for me in Rock Band, and, judging by, not many other people either. Lame choice.
  2. Personality Crisis - don’t be scared by the “Covered by Steve Ouimette” tag (he’s the guy who covered Devil Went Down to Georgia and We Three Kings). No crazy solos here.

Aerosmith songs:
13. Livin’ On the Edge - fun chart, IMO.
14. Rag Doll - tricky riff, not too bad.

15. Love in an Elevator - great riff, one of several songs I’ve really liked playing so far.

Difficulty Check: 5* all around. Nothing that tough, and yet the charts aren’t boring, as was the case with Rocks the '80s.

Career (Expert) Tier 4

  1. She Sells Sanctuary -
  2. King of Rock - these songs couldn’t be more different. SSS is all chords, easily 100%-able. King of Rock is one long solo.

Aerosmith songs:
18. Nobody’s Fault
19. Bright Light Fright - I’d never heard either of these tunes, but the charts are decent. I could imagine playing these a few more times.

20. Walk This Way w Run DMC - I didn’t mind it, but I have a feeling people are going to dislike the way the main riff is charted here. Otherwise, it’s fun, long solo at the end. And I just noticed the character models are changing – this version of Joe Perry has shorter hair and the Guild guitar I believe he used in the video.

Difficulty Check: All 5*'s again, but I could see this tier giving people some trouble.

Career (Expert) Tier 5

  1. Hard to Handle - OK cover. Not a fav of mine in Rock Band, either.
  2. Always on the Run – a GREAT Guitar Hero song. Good get.

Aerosmith songs
23. Back in the Saddle - fun riff, but it’ll take me a few runs before I can play the solo even slightly clean.
24. Beyond Beautiful - One of my favorite “unknown” Aerosmith songs. I was surpised to see it included, because it’s relatively unknown and not really a shredfest, but it does have one of the game’s harder solos

  1. Dream On - I’d have to listen again, but I think this is a re-record and not the original version. Very easy song for a tier 5 finale.

Difficulty Check: All 5*'s again, and I actually got my first 100% on Dream On, in addition to missing by a single note on H2H and AotR. Really, a lot of songs from tier 2-5 could be swapped and you wouldn’t notice it in terms of difficulty.

Career (Expert) Tier 6

  1. Cat Scratch Fever - great Guitar Hero song, albeit kinda easy for the final tier.
  2. Sex Type Thing - man, I LOVE this song, but if this doesn’t sum up how easy GH:A is, I don’t know what does. I 100%'d this on my first pass, and would probably do the same if I played it 10 more times.

Boss Battle: Joe Perry – they heard the complaints and they completely nerfed the only boss battle in the game. If you pick up powerups and trigger to block Perry from grabbing his, it’s a cakewalk.

  1. Mama Kin - challenging, but forgettable.
  2. Toys in the Attic – one of the game’s better songs and charts, but the main riff will kill a lot of people.

30. Train Kept A Rollin - seriously, the big finale is a song that’s already in Rock Band? Really? I hate it there, and I don’t like it here. Ugg.

Difficulty Check: 30/30 songs 5*'d, all on the first try. To everyone who whined that GH3 was too hard, congratulations: here’s the pussy game you wanted. Not a single song here would be Tier 7 material in GH3.

After you finish the final song, there’s a cutscene (I won’t spoil it), and then the credits roll with a bonus song, a la GH3.

I spent some time in the Vault buying new songs, and they’re kinda lame. 9 bonus songs total – and four of them are solo Joe Perry. No offense, but if there was a worldwide wish list for Guitar Hero songs, would solo Joe Perry tunes be anywhere in the top million?

Going to spend some more time unlocking stuff, check out the lower tiers and maybe do some co-op – I’m at 495/1000 Achievements in 3 hours and could probably break 750 without much work.

Final thoughts for now

I like Aerosmith, although I’m not a fanatic or anything – and I was surprised I liked some of the tunes as much as I did. I’d probably buy 15-20 of these songs if they were available as one-off DLC for Rock Band (and some already are).

But that’s all this feels like – a lot of DLC shoved on a disc. There’s no real difficulty ramp, and nothing really challenging; this doesn’t feel like a game, just a compilation. $100 for the bundle is way too much, especially if you factor in potential Les Paul issues; just rent it or wait until it’s $20 or so.

My wireless Les Paul has the same problem and my brother’s had the opposite, where it was tough to trigger star power at all. It’s humorous to me when I see snarky comments from those devs about the quality of the Rock Band peripherals. Rock Band was a first go-around at least. How many cash-in iterations of Guitar Hero is this now?

Anyway, not to derail the thread. It seems to me GH: Aerosmith is almost review proof. If someone likes Aerosmith enough to buy the game, almost nothing would dissuade that person from getting it. Conversely, if (like myself) someone couldn’t care less about Aerosmith, no amount of sparkling reviews could get him to buy the game.

I expect that it’s technically competent, but these band specific GH games have a massive weakness in that if someone doesn’t like that band, he won’t buy the game. In a typical multiple band GH game there are always a few I don’t care about, but I still buy the game because there’s something in it for me. GH: Aerosmith leaves a lot of people out because of its strong focus on a single act.

Can’t wait for the sub-$20 used copies! (I mean, I CAN wait.)

A few tiers in, it seems like pretty much exactly what I was expecting – a Guitar Hero expansion pack, with a slightly better difficulty pass. Which, to be honest, was pretty much what Guitar Hero 2 was. I’m definitely not disappointed, even as someone who isn’t a huge Aerosmith fan. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised how many of the Aerosmith songs I recognized, and on how much non-Aerosmith content there is in it.

Difficulty aside, how fun are the charts in general? Is Neversoft getting any better at charting or do a lot of the songs still feel as loose as GHIII did?

It blows my mind that they’re using so many tracks that were already on Rock Band. Train Kept a Rollin’ as the final song is just plain stupid. It’s not even a good song. And Sex Type Thing in the final tier? Wow. Isn’t that in one of the first two tiers in RB?


Thanks for the writeup Sluggo.

Though, no offense, I don’t think your skillz as a difficulty-meter for Guitar Hero games is exactly representative of the vast majority of players, is it?

OK, I suck at these games but I finally figured out enough to get through Easy. My brother in law just bought the Legends and Aerosmith this week and we had a ton of fun on his 360 with a whole crowd of people. Not sure I would play this alone at my house, but if I WAS interested in getting a set for either PS3 or 360 whats the best way to go about getting one these days? ie is someone clearing out the older versions of the game with the wired guitars for the new wireless ones or should I just go to Costco and get the new Aerrosmith for $85 and buy a used copy of the legends disk?

Not really, though. GH2 introduced Pro Face-off mode, Co-op mode, Practice mode, and significantly tweaked HOPOs. It also provided Rhythm and Bass tracks.

Too bad I didn’t like the songs as much as those in the original.

Two thumbs up from me on the fun scale.
Always on the Run (Expert) has a stellar note chart. If you know that song’s opening riff: it feels like that’s exactly what you’re playing. So I’d say they’re getting better. I’m also having fun with Sweet Emotion, Livin’ on the Edge, Movin’ Out, because the charts fit the songs, and the songs are complex enough to be interesting, without being hard.
Love in an Elevator, with its great riff, also has a crazy solo that lasts for half the song, while at the end the riff disintegrates into variations of increasing difficulty, making me fail about a dozen times before I passed it. So I’m not willing to use the F-word on that one, yet.
But they obviously put more energy into mimicking the original guitar parts, than into creating difficult note charts.

I picked it up from Blockbuster, so far it’s okay but I’m very glad I only rented it. There’s probably only 4 songs in here by Aerosmith that are actually worth liking, to say nothing of the other songs.

Me as a huge Guns n’ Roses fan hates you now so very, very much… ;)

Seriously: Sucks that the biggest hits are not on it: “Janie’s got a gun”, “Amazing” and “Crazy”. Really a shame.
Will snag it up cheap.

Are “Amazacrazy” or “Crazy-Amazing” available as bonus tracks?

Nope. IMO, they did a good job of avoiding the sappy ballad stuff like Angel or Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing, etc. It just wouldn’t be fun in Guitar Hero. The closest they come are Dream On and (bonus track) Pink.

To everyone who whined that GH3 was too hard, congratulations: here’s the pussy game you wanted. Not a single song here would be Tier 7 material in GH3.

Good, because GH3 was a fuckup of epic proportions, skill-wise.

I’ve been saying for months that what is needed is a new skill tier, something beyond Expert.

Of course Neversoft would probably screw it up by tying a bunch of core achievements and unlocks to the new skill level, making it the “new Expert” which entirely misses the point.

A new beyond-expert level named after Sluggo I think :-)

So you think they need ( Beginner / Easy / Medium / Hard / Expert / ScoreHero ) as difficulty choices? I think more granularity is better, and I also think having something harder than expert in Rock Band would be better, but I don’t know how much of a priority it should be for them.

It’s important that everyone be able to find a level that is appropriate to their skill level – easy enough to get through 90+% of the songs consistently, but difficult enough that there is still some challenge. What is not important is that everybody be able to get the fucking achievements. Saying that they need a level that’s harder than expert, but people who can do it successfully shouldn’t be rewarded with achievements is ridiculous.

I’ve never beaten expert on GH3 ( I could never get through the beginning of Raining Blood), but I don’t feel like it was unfair for the man to keep my Gamerscore down. You’re not entitled to beat the game on the hardest setting, you know.

There’s also the connection between the song being played and the difficulty of the Expert notechart. Assuming that Expert is intended to be the play-every-note/chord-in-the-song mode, the difficulty choice is tied to the song choice.

RB just needs harder DLC for the Scorehero crowd, not some bullshit “Scorehero” difficulty level that somehow can make Say It Ain’t So challenging to play. You do that and you’ve defeated the point of it being first and foremost a music game.

There’s nothing I hated more than in GH3 where they had songs where it felt like Neversoft was artifically making the notecharts more difficult. Cherub Rock is a good example - the Rock Band notechart fits the song better than the GH3 one.

Usually what GH3 was doing was having you play parts from multiple guitars at the same time, sometimes it was having you “play” the sounds of moving your hands around on the neck. Most of what people complained about in that game, I think, were the three note chords. Needless to say, three note chords are closer to reality than 2 note chords are, so that’s not really a fair complaint, either.

This is not to say that I prefer their charts to Rock Band, though. GH3’s levels kind of felt like they were made by a computer following a set of rules, and Rock Band tends to feel a little more like a human who understands music was doing it. There are tons of times in Rock Band that they drop parts from the songs on expert, though. It is artificially too easy, and it’s disappointing.

I rented this last night. I would never buy this for $60, but it’s a perfect rental. I’ll easily get through everything in 5 days.

I’m not anywhere as good as Sluggo, but I’m part way through tier 5, and I’ve 5-starred everything on the first try on expert so far.

This is why I was thinking this game is easier than GH3 so far. This last two tiers won’t suddenly become hardcore metal.

Also, I guess I like Aerosmith less than I though I did. I enjoyed all the non-Aerosmith songs a lot more. The Kinks, Cheap Trick and Mott the Hoople songs are especially great.