Mixed or average reviews - based on 12 Critics What's this?

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Generally unfavorable reviews- based on 4 Ratings

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  • Summary: Guitar Hero returns with another band-focused title, Guitar Hero: Van Halen. The game features 25 classic Van Halen tracks, three signature Eddie Van Halen guitar solos, and 19 hand-picked guest acts. Play in eight original venues specifically designed for Guitar Hero: Van Halen. Rock around the globe, from a small club in Los Angeles to arenas around the world, including the iconic "S-stage" from the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s 2007 world tour. Play as one of the four members of Van Halen or create your own personalized superstar with Rock Star Creator and watch your superstar party on stage. Rock out with up to four players locally or battle other bands with up to 8 players. With tracks ranging from the high-energy "Jump" to the legendary guitar solo "Eruption," the easy to play, difficult to master game play that Guitar Hero fans have grown to love is back in Guitar Hero: Van Halen. [Activision] Collapse
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 12
  2. Negative: 6 out of 12
  1. The steep cost of admission is the only real downside to this entire package.
  2. If you’re cool with just the DLR years and you can hang with the weird faces Dance the Night Away, but if you’re looking for a comprehensive VH compilation and accurate portrayals you might as well Jump, back into GH5.
  3. 65
    The song list is great if you love classic Eddie and the guest bands while not relevant, offer a solid mix. Not being able to export the songs into GH 5 or download any new tracks really hurts, but the lackluster presentation hurts even more.
  4. 49
    It’s a step backwards for the franchise and a totally unnecessary release.
  5. Perhaps the lowest example of not knowing when to give up. [Apr 2010, p.89]
  6. In 2010, Guitar Hero: Van Halen should have never been released in stores at full price. It’s absurd. We’d rather applaud you to wait for the release of Guitar Hero 6, since Guitar Hero Van Halen has the same lack of content as it has lack of love for our frettapping guitar legend. Or as Eddie would probably put it: Aint Talkin’ Bout Love.
  7. In a world where The Beatles Rock Band exists, the paltry effort put into Guitar Hero: Van Halen is, quite simply, deplorable. If you‘re going to devote the time, money, and effort to developing a band-themed game in this franchise—then do it right. Don’t embarrass yourselves by passing something like this off as a legitimate, full-featured game.

See all 12 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 2
  2. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. [anonymous]
    Dec 22, 2009
    Every bit as good as Guitar Hero V but a much better playlist.
  2. Nov 27, 2012
    Guitar Hero is fun. Van Halen is fun. Eddie Van Halen's playing is very fun in Guitar Hero. What could go wrong? Play this game and you'll find out!

    For starters, this game is STILL running off World Tour's okay-ish engine. Seeing as Guitar Hero 5 was in development at the same time, there are some serious improvements they could have made to the engine. The graphics, crowd, and stage animations are only marginally better than those in World Tour or Smash Hits, with the same career mode that can be breezed through in little more than an hour. The game looks really ugly, especially when compared to Guitar Hero 5.

    But nobody plays Guitar Hero for its graphics, especially on the Wii. They play it because it's fun! And a lot of the songs in the game are incredibly fun on guitar... of course, it's Eddie Freaking Van Halen! There's a good mix of tapping, hopos, and lightning-quick fret changing. If you're a guitarist, there's a lot of fun to be had here, but there's also a high bar of entry, especially if you play exclusively on expert.

    Unfortunately, the drum or bass career isn't as notable. Not that it's bad... there's just very few standout tracks. Expert+ returns for drums adding double-kick features, as well as the open note for bass. But really, there's nothing fundamentally different here you couldn't find in any other Rock Band or post-World Tour Guitar Hero game. Playing the drums and bass are as fun as they always are... no more and no less.

    The vocals are still using the icky, ICKY engine from World Tour, with no improvements. Your meter still jumps all over the place, you're still forced to sound like a robot to get a good score, and you still have no way of knowing how well you've done until the end of the phrase when you either keep combo or don't. They've managed to make David Lee Roth's vocals unfun.

    But, I mean, it's still Van Halen, right? Surely there's a game filled with classic poppy-hard rock-heavy metal hits, right? Well, yes and no. The 25 Van Halen tracks are all great fun, and just like Aerosmith and Metallica, the band was asked to include their favorite "guest acts" to help fill out the rest of the setlist. While Aerosmith had a solid blues-rock setlist and Metallica an excellent thrash/hard rock setlist, Van Halen is a total mess. What on earth are Killswitch Engage, Blink-182, or Third Eye Blind doing in this game? Most of the song choices were left to Wolfgang Van Halen, Eddie's then-17-year-old son. The gesture was appreciated, but it really wasn't the best idea to give control of the setlist to somebody who wasn't even alive during VH's heyday.

    Speaking of the band's members, Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony are never even mentioned in this game. Not once. Not unlockable characters, not even any references in the song's notes. They just don't exist according to this game and never did. And this means that, of course, there is no Sammy Hagar-era material in the game. That's half what we could have gotten.

    To cap it all off, this game does not support DLC or export in any way, shape, or fashion. None. Nope. Nada. Even Smash Hits had half its setlist export. The tracks you get on the disc are trapped there forever. You'll never get to play any of the songs here on GH:5 or GH:WoR. You'll never be able to break any of the songs free from their sucky on-disc prison.

    Guitar Hero Van Halen can still be a worthwhile buy if it's cheap enough; it IS Van Halen after all. But I would definitely think twice if you're being charged more than $10. But this should NOT be your first music game; play some better ones first. Once you've gotten good enough at the genre and you're confident you can look past the shortcomings for the chance to shred like Eddie, then perhaps you should give this a shot. Everybody else, stay FAR away.