There's a story in the game that desperately tries to tie all of these songs together. Sadly these cinemas prove that there's no way possible to turn these stories into a cohesive story. While I can appreciate that these songs are listed by difficulty, there are far too many different sounds to make a thread that runs through all of the tracks. Instead we get a lot of action-packed rock songs, all of which offer their own unique challenges.
On top of the standard story mode (which can be played solo or with a group of friends), you get a lot of other traditional Guitar Hero modes. There's a quick play mode which lets you select a group of songs to play whenever you want. In the past you had to unlock the songs in the story mode before you could enjoy them in the quick play, but Smash Hits throws that out and allows you to select from all of the songs from the get-go.
You can also make and distribute your own music in a slightly complicated music creator program. This feature is no different from what was found in Guitar Hero World Tour. And considering this very same mode appeared on the Guitar Hero: Metallica disc, it looks like it's going to be a mainstay across all future installments. While I haven't had much luck creating my own songs, I have had a good time downloading everybody else's. Sure there are some clunkers, but by and large there's enough content in this mode to make you forget about the fact that the game has less than 50 songs.
You also get the traditional Guitar Hero multiplayer modes, which include both online and offline variants. If you have a bunch of people over this game can be a lot of fun, though I'm still not a fan of Guitar Hero's item-heavy battle mode. The good news for single-players is that you won't have to deal with any of those one-on-one battles that Activision likes to throw into their story modes. They save the battles for the multiplayer, which is exactly where it belongs.
The graphics and presentation is straight out of Guitar Hero World Tour, as is your ability to create characters, design band logos and draw tattoos. The characters are still the over-the-top cartoon characters that you've learned to love and their moves are straight out of every other Guitar Hero game you've played. Then again, you're not buying this game for flashy new graphics; you're buying it because it has a collection of some of the best songs from Guitar Heroes past.
For the most part I'm fine with that. I don't mind that this is essentially a glorified expansion pack to Guitar Hero World Tour. What I do mind is paying the full $60 for content that is straight out of older games. I love having these songs, but it would have been nice to see them presented in a more original way. As I played through the disc I kept asking myself why these songs were on a separate disc and not in a music store ready to be downloaded. If that was the case then they wouldn't have needed to stop at 48, perhaps they could have gone all the way and remade all of the music over time.
Still, the songs in this collection are strong enough to recommend for people not patient enough to wait for Guitar Hero 5. It's fun to play through most of these songs using the new techniques that have been developed for Guitar Hero World Tour, even though some of them feel more like gimmicks than anything. If you're a fan of the older games and your fake plastic band needs more tunes, then I definitely recommend this. I just wish there was a little more to it to justify the high price point.
One could certainly argue that Guitar Hero: Smash Hits is nothing more than a glorified expansion pack. But there's definitely enough content in this game to warrant a look, even if you already own these songs in older Guitar Hero games. I just wish Activision would have done more with this idea than throwing us new songs.
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