N Amer - 07/24/2007
Twisted Sister, Skid Row, Quiet Riot – you know ‘em, you love ‘em, and you can’t live without ‘em. They are the kings of a previous time in rock music – the leaders of a network that was once Music Television. And they are coming to a PlayStation 2 near you!
Act now and the developers will throw in songs by Ratt (“Round and Round”), Billy Squier (“Lonely is the Night”), Extreme (“Play With Me”), Eddie Money (“Shaken”), Police (“Synchronicity II”), Asia (“Heat of the Moment”), and Faster Pussycat (“Bathroom Wall”).
Before the Rock Band revolution hits, Activision will release a new, PS2-exclusive addition to the Guitar Hero series – Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s. The game is exactly what it appears to be; GH2 gameplay meets 80s rock music. It’s a jump-in-and-shred experience that’s primed for success and is guaranteed to induce jealousy in those rare gamers who never picked up a PlayStation 2.
Rocks the 80s will include 30 classics from one of music’s most unforgettable eras. The list includes the aforementioned titles, as well as Poison’s “Nothing But a Good Time,” Dio’s “Holy Diver,” and Flock of Seagulls’s “I Ran (So Far Away).” The rest of the lineup has yet to be revealed, so count on there being at least one or two announcements from Activision before the game’s July 17 release.
Time to Jam
Players of the other Guitar Hero games will instantly recognize that the same level of quality has been applied to this Encore edition. The controls, response times, and music implementation could not be any better. The Easy difficulty setting is purposely a cakewalk; Hard is purposely a nightmare to test your skills at changing the game’s variation of guitar chords. Obviously it can’t get too crazy without having real strings and frets to utilize. But the skill required for some of the chord transitions is pretty impressive. Players will have to get very comfortable with stretching, bending, and quickly moving their fingers – just as you do when learning to play a real guitar (but on a much more manageable level that won’t mess with your sanity).
Back to Basics
Rocks the 80s doesn’t stray from its Guitar Hero roots. To uncover the game’s full features, just think about everything that Guitar Hero 2 had to offer. Two-player multiplayer, point multipliers, multiple character and guitar selections, etc. Characters and locations are taken from the previous games, but have now been given an 80s flair (big hair, flashy clothes, distinct band performances, etc.) to match the song lineup.
The single-player quest mode is back, allowing you to play through most of the songs with three, four, or five of the guitar’s buttons. Any song that has been unlocked may be practiced at normal or at a slowed down speed. This is nothing new to the diehard game guitarist, and likely won’t be a necessary option for those who have mastered a previous Guitar Hero game. But if you’re still learning the basics, the practice mode will help you learn how to jump from one chord to the next. It’s a tough process. When you think about it, Guitar Hero is essentially Dance Dance Revolution for your fingers. The trick is getting your hand to catch up with what your brain is trying to tell it to do.
Most players don’t typically think of music games as being a genre that provides a lot of visual integrity. But these graphics (animations, backdrops, lighting, textures, etc.) look fantastic. Rocks the 80s is just as eye-catching as the last game, ensuring that all spectators will keep their eyes on the stage.
With the sole exception of DDR and Sony’s SingStar series, music games do not use songs by original, well-known artists. Rocks the 80s does not appear to be any different, noting that each song was “made famous by” a particular artist (but does not actually list any of those artists as the performer). That being said, the sound quality is very good. There were some songs that were done so well that it was hard to tell the difference.
Rocking into retailers on the week of July 17, Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s is a bodacious trip back to an era when the word “bodacious” was still being used. Pre-order it now – and don’t forget to pre-dye your hair a snazzy shade of green.