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.
- Dream Police - master track. Great song.
- 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? :)
- Complete Control - this song did nothing for me in Rock Band, and, judging by DLCStats.com, not many other people either. Lame choice.
- 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.
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
- She Sells Sanctuary -
- King of Rock - these songs couldn’t be more different. SSS is all chords, easily 100%-able. King of Rock is one long solo.
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
- Hard to Handle - OK cover. Not a fav of mine in Rock Band, either.
- Always on the Run – a GREAT Guitar Hero song. Good get.
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
- 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
- Cat Scratch Fever - great Guitar Hero song, albeit kinda easy for the final tier.
- 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.
- Mama Kin - challenging, but forgettable.
- 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.