I've seen a lot of negative reviews about this game but I have to disagree with them. As a Van Halen fan, I couldn't wait for this game and I've been enjoying it since the day it was released. I'll do this review in sections: Songs: I love the selection of songs on this game. Pretty much every popular Van Halen song you could wish for from the DLR era. Don't get me wrong, I love a lot of Van Hagar too but even fans such as myself have to admit that not a lot of that stuff features a lot of guitar. Songs like "Right Now" and "Love Walks In", whilst brilliant songs, aren't very guitar-orientated. Perhaps "Summer Nights" could have made the game, but it's a very small criticism if one at all. This has "Jump", "Panama", "Hot For Teacher", "Oh Pretty Woman", "You Really Got Me", "Ain't Talking Bout Love", and basically every fun guitar-based song that David Lee Roth's Van Halen recorded. And yes, "Spanish Fly", "Eruption" and "Cathedral" are on the game. As for the non-Van Halen songs, I'm quite happy with the selection. Tenacious D's "Master Exploder" is fun and surprisingly difficult, whilst songs such as "Best of You" by the Foo Fighters and "Semi-Charmed Life" by Third Eye Blind offer a nice relaxing play which can be a welcome break from the face-melting solos and tricky riffs in the Van Halen songs.
Difficulty - This game claims to be the hardest Guitar Hero yet. I disagree and would either have to give that one to Metallica because of all the lightning-speed strumming, or one of the earlier PS2 games because of the poor game play. However, I have played a LOT of Guitar Hero in the past few years so I'm probably not the best to judge how difficult this game is. With the exception of the instrumentals, none of the songs on this game have given me any trouble. But whilst I'm sure this game is difficult in general, it's not so hard that you're going to give up playing due to not being able to pass a song on Expert. If you play Guitar Hero as much as I do, you just have to accept that challenges will be few and far between.
Gameplay - As smooth as ever. Hammer-ons are easy to hit if you're good enough at the level you're playing, so you won't encounter the frustrated feeling you get on Guitar Hero II when you miss hammer-ons despite being sure you actually hit them. If you've played any of the games from World Tour onwards, you can expect the same game play here.
Game Modes - Nothing new, but that's to be expected. The band-specific games are never likely to bring anything entirely new to the franchise, so hang on for Guitar Hero 6.
Characters - The band appears as they do in the present day, so Roth, Alex and Eddie are older whilst Wolfgang Van Halen is on bass. Michael Anthony is not available unfortunately. However, 80s Van Halen can be unlocked which will make the band spandex-clad like they were back in the day. This does not include Anthony, however.
So all in all, a satisfactory game. Nothing ground breaking in terms of the series, but a great and diverse collection of songs that I still enjoy months after its release. If you're a Van Halen fan then you'll like this, and even if you're not, you'll probably enjoy playing these songs and who knows? Like the editions that have preceded it, this game may introduce people to some brilliant music that they didn't know was out there.
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