Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Guitar Hero Editorial, Part I

Rocks The 80s Is A Ripoff
    I've been a huge fan of the Guitar Hero series- they're fun, they've got some great music, and they give me all the benefits of years and years of practice with a guitar without, well... years and years of practice with a guitar.

    But when Activision bought Red Octane, the publisher of the series, I was a little worried, and it didn't help when the ludicrously priced downloadable packs of original Guitar Hero songs were released for the Xbox 360's version of Guitar Hero 2. But now they've just pushed a little too hard.

    The Guitar Hero Encore sub-franchise looks like it wants to be expansion packs, and that's cool. I encourage that. You can only play "Carry On Wayward Son" so many times before getting tired of it.

    But it becomes harder to justify its existence when you get into the details: With the jump from GH to GH2, you got tweaks to the formula, a Practice mode, new stages, new characters, 64 songs, and new multiplayer modes, one even offering the ability to play Lead, Bass, or Rhythm guitar.

    With Rocks The 80s, all you get is a new look for the stages and characters and 30 songs.

    That'd be fine if it was reasonably priced, and originally it was. According to GameStop's updated listing, though, the price has jumped up to $50, which is the price for Guitar Hero 2. Not only that, but read the editor's note (near the bottom) in GameSpy's preview and you'll see that one of the songs, "I Want Candy," has been removed, and with no plans to substitute in another song in its place.

    I don't see how that can be defended. Rocks The 80s is an expansion pack, with fewer than half the songs, no new stages or modes, and just a makeover, but nevertheless costing the same amount as Guitar Hero 2.

    Mind you, "I Want Candy" wasn't exactly the most compelling song on the list, but ask yourselves: Would you rather have a song you might only play a handful of times or just to mess with friends, or have the game without that song, but for the same price?

    An expansion pack is supposed to give developers the freedom to add a beefy amount of additional content without having to worry about reinventing the game mechanics the way a sequel does. An expansion pack is not supposed to be less than half the content as the original at the same price. It completely unprecedented.

    All I can say is that I hope that GameStop made a mistake and updates the price again, else I'm going to boycott buying Rocks The 80s on principle; I'm just upset that now I can't play "I Ran" by A Flock of Seagulls.

UPDATE: Don't count on GameStop updating that listing. Check out the official RedOctane listing- $49.99 as of right now.

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