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Review: ‘Guitar Hero: Aerosmith’

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One of the most appealing features of music video games is the wide-ranging collection of artists and songs included in each release. But “Guitar Hero: Aerosmith” eschews that formula and focuses instead on the legendary Boston rockers. The result is a game that will delight Aerosmith fans, but may leave long-time “Guitar Hero” fans thirsting for more.

“Guitar Hero: Aerosmith” features 40 songs, including 25 by the group itself. There are also a handful of cuts from guitarist Joe Perry’s solo career and a dozen tracks from artists who either played with or were influenced by Aerosmith, including Lenny Kravitz, Ted Nugent and Cheap Trick. But the main attraction here, of course, is Aerosmith.

While there were plenty of hits that didn’t make the cut, the collection of Aerosmith songs included on the disk should please the band’s fans. “Sweet Emotion,” “Ragdoll,” “Dream On” and “Love in an Elevator” are all here, along with my personal favorite, “Walk This Way” featuring Run-DMC.

Red Octane and Activision certainly deserve props for going the extra mile with “Guitar Hero: Aerosmith.”

Each of the band members were motion-captured to get their individual styles into the game and Steven Tyler even did facial mo-cap work. The career mode also has a distinct Aerosmith flavor. The mode allows gamers to follow in the Hall of Famers footsteps, from their humble beginings at Nipmuc High to performing during the Super Bowl halftime show. Between sets, a “Behind the Music”-esque set of video interviews provide some candid background information on the group from the guys themselves.

These additions help turn what could have been just another cheap cash-in (I’m looking at you, “Guitar Hero: Rocks the 80s”) into a game that can stand on its own.

Take away the Aerosmith influence, though, and the game is essentially “Guitar Hero III.” The gameplay is exactly the same (though perhaps a tad easier) and all of the other characters and play modes from “GHIII” are here, including solo play, co-op and online.

If you like “Guitar Hero,” there’s no reason you shouldn’t like “Guitar Hero: Aerosmith.” But with only half the number of songs of “Guitar Hero III” and zero downloadable content on the way, it’s hard to recommend dropping $60 on the title. For diehard fans of the group, however, this one is a must-have.

Score: 7.6/10