Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s

Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s

Activision, $49.99

Dear "real" musicians: For sure, Guitar Hero is bogus compared to the real thing. And plastic controllers are way lamer than honest-to-goodness frets and strings. But there's good reason behind the Guitar Hero craze consuming bars everywhere: Activision's top-selling, axe-grinding-simulation PlayStation/Xbox franchise is unabashedly addictive ... and ... dare I say ... hip enough for rock & roll.

But, unfortunately, when Winger and Poison get involved, the naysayers just might have a string to strum.

Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s' July release sounded totally tubular. The gameplay improvements Guitar Hero II made upon its predecessor were impressive. Plus, the niche-retro possibilities were endless: Hours of skuzzy, stonewashed rock equal radical.

But GH 80s isn't the bodaciously iconic experience it could be. While the track list features some sweet peeks down memory lane (Dio's "Holy Diver," Ratt's "Round and Round"), the anticlimactic set list never takes us into complete Tawny Kitaen-writhing mode.

With the same characters, special effects, and venues simply skinned with an Eighties theme, this expansion pack (without the bonus tracks of previous installments) isn't a serious sequel. And if you're already a GH II "expert," you'll master GH 80s easily in one session.

Considering Guitar Hero III's upcoming release and the holiday gift of the ultimate in innovative gaming -- Rock Band, competitor Harmonix's four-player mega rhythm game -- this appetizer might not be worth the price. With Rock Band's beast of a setup, you'll never need to go niche again. You'll have a new album to download every week. No doubt you'll hit on some righteous Eighties shred for your repertoire there anyway, without having to pay retail. Like, totally.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Screens Reviews
Santa, Baby
The Adventures of Tintin: Season One
Gift Guide: On Tintin, that intrigue-chasing young reporter

Robert Faires, Dec. 2, 2011

On the Download
On the Download
Dispatches from Wii's Virtual Console

James Renovitch, July 10, 2009

More by Courtney Fitzgerald
Everybody's Court Artist
Everybody's Court Artist
Sam Brown on ExplodingDog.com

March 4, 2005

Reissues
The Kinks
The Village Green Preservation Society (Record Review)

Dec. 17, 2004

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle