Intensities in Ten Suburbs

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Geek Out: Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s Finally Released

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on July 25, 2007

“Do you wanna play with me?”

Say what you will about Guitar Hero II (and really, if you have anything negative to say, I’d be curious to hear what it is) but it definitely succeeded in making its fans feel loved. The character selection, the inclusion of in-jokey songs by Dethklok and Strongbad, the coupious Spinal Tap references, even the much-needed correcting of the formerly inferior face-off modes–the game’s creators clearly understood their audience, and did a great job of giving them exactly what they wanted.

Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s is a blast–playing through the setlist on hard tonight with a couple of friends was nearly as exciting as my first time playing through II, and probably just as much fun. But dammit, it just doesn’t make me feel loved the way the other games did. Despite a song selection filled with good tunes and good times, the entire thing feels phoned in–with virtually no new features, no correcting of whatever flaws II had, and an abridged (merely 30 songs), and largely incomplete track selection (among the missing: Def Leppard, Rush, Motley Crue, Van Halen, Slayer, Ozzy, Metallica, and of course, Yngwie), it has been correctly pointed out that the game plays more like an expansion pack than a new entry in the series.

Which should be all well and good–after all, III is only a few months away, and it looks to be everything a new Guitar Hero should be and more (not to mention the similarly imminent release of that other music synchronization game, which looks to be the most exciting thing ever). A new expansion pack should be just what the Doktor ordered to tide fans over until then. However, Rocks the 80s is retailing for up to $50 at some stores, and that’s without even another guitar–and I’m sorry, that’s far too much to pay for 30 new songs, most of which aren’t even that challenging.

Well, that’s actually a fairly blatant lie, considering I knew that going into it and bought it anyway. Fact is, Guitar Hero freaks like myself are completely at the mercy of Harmonix and Co.–when it comes to new GH material, we’ll take what we can get, for however much we can get it. And I can’t say I even regret buying it–one play of X’s “Los Angeles,” or The Police’s “Synchronicity II” or Anthrax’s “Caught in a Mosh,” and financial considerations just go straight out the window. Hell, I bought an entire system just to play I, I’m getting let off easy here.

And as for the actual quality of the songs’ gameplay in comparison to I and II, I really need to play on Expert before properly judging. Unfortunately, all the progress I made on Hard tonight counts for naught, as it wasn’t actually my copy (or memory card) I was playing with. But, as one of my friends failed to sympathize, “Yeah, poor you, you have to play a whole lot of a game you love.” Fair enough.

6 Responses to “Geek Out: Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s Finally Released”

  1. Colette said


    Iv’e heard about Guitar Hero II and it’s great!
    I don’t get the time to play many games i don’t have a ps1 or ps2…idk why…but i don’t .. youre probelly laughin at me right now..but i g2 my friends and he plays it all the time and says it awesome. Like it doesn’t even matter how good or bad you are at it…you can really rock out to it.


  2. me said

    andrew, you’re so cute

  3. Bonnie said

    I was disappointed about the lack of Def Lep, too :(. I haven’t been able to play “Rocks The 80s” yet, but… I’m still looking forward to completely embarrassing myself on “18 And Life”, “I Wanna Rock”, and “(Bang Your Head) Metal Health”. Especially since I’m seeing Quiet Riot (and Slaughter… but I’m most excited about seeing the headliner, Vince Neil!) on Friday.

    I am RIDICULOUSLY excited about GHIII, though.

  4. Andrew Unterberger said

    Those songs are all great on their own, but their riffs are kinda simple and repetitive, so they’re sort of underwhelming in the game. “I Wanna Rock” is a weird re-recording, too, so it’s not nearly as righteous as it should be.

    Bitchin’ looking concert, though.

  5. Bonnie said

    Yeah… I saw a gameplay video via Yahoo! of “I Wanna Rock”, and it was very odd. My friend Ria (she reads your blog too.) actually said “Did they actively search for the worst possible Dee Snider impersonator?”!

    I’m not very good at the game, though… I haven’t been able to buy GH1 yet, but the furthest I’ve been on GHII is the medium level. I need to work on learning how to play a real guitar, hehe… especially since I plan on playing bass in Ria’s band.

    I know :D! I’m so excited. Hopefully I’ll be able to sneak my camera in. I want to get some videos of Quiet Riot and Vince especially; maybe I’ll finally be able to contribute something to the Land Of YouTube. Or have fun pictures to add to my Facebook, hahaha.

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