Guitar Hero: Too much of a good thing?

By Peter Nowak, CBCNews.ca

Activision today announced the newest addition to the Guitar Hero franchise and this time the game focuses entirely on the songs of one band: Aerosmith. So far, the reaction from gamers is quite negative.

Many of the comments showing up on blogs are of the "Aerosmith sucks!" variety. Whether or not Aerosmith does indeed suck is open to debate, but whether it's a good idea to devote an entire Guitar Hero release to one band does seem questionable at best and perhaps ill-advised at worst. If the immediate reaction is anything to go by, Activision has clearly turned off a large portion of its Guitar Hero fanbase with a focused title. Unfortunately, because people's musical tastes are so varied, there's simply no way to win here - no matter what band is given the spotlight, a good number of potential buyers won't go for it simply because they hate the band (unless, of course, you were to focus the game on a band that should be universally accepted as awesome, such as Tool, but I digress...).

Then there's the larger issue of Guitar Hero being eclipsed by its more ambitious rival, Rock Band. How exactly does Guitar Hero compete, or even survive, when its entire premise is replicated by Rock Band, which also gives players drums and vocals to boot? It's looking like Activision's solution may be to flood the market with Guitar Hero games - there are rumours of four separate titles this year, with the company already having confirmed two by the end of June. That could also be ill advised and gamers could take it as a cash grab by Activision.

Which brings us to downloadable tracks. If Activision or EA are going to put out a new Guitar Hero or Rock Band game, respectively, they had better improve and innovate the overall experience enough to warrant the purchase of an entirely new disc. Simply putting out a new collection of songs on disc, when they could be downloaded instead, won't cut it with a lot of gamers.