I love playing Guitar Hero. It was the first game I got for my PS2 (Which I purchased in a bit of a stupor), and I've loved it ever since I got it. And with Guitar Hero III, and Rock Band on their way near the end of this year, I think I'll be a very happy boy when I get to play them for myself (Especially Rock Band). And in an effort to continue Guitar Hero's success, Activision announced earlier this year an pseudo expansion to Guitar Hero II, Guitar Hero Encore: Rock the 80's. When I first heard about it, I was over joyed. I <3 the 80's as much as the next hippie (Well maybe more, I'm not sure how many hippies really like the 80's that much, but I sure do). From great 80's movies, to TV, to music.
Today I played Rock the 80's at Future Shop for the first time. I played 'I Ran' by A Flock of Seagulls. Normally I'll play a new song on medium so I can get the rhythm down, but I was feeling a little adventurous today, so I thought I would try hard as to give myself a little challenge. Well, I never really found that challenge. I played through it like it was on easy. But hey, maybe I'm better than I used to be? But anyways, we went to find it on the shelf to see how much it was, and Riley and I were rather shocked to see it priced at $60. Well, we won't be picking that up today, maybe we'll go rent it instead. So we went to High Tech and rented it, brought it back and proceeded start playing through career mode. Wasn't much harder than 'I Ran' was at Future Shop, and I have good controllers, unlike at Future Shop where half the buttons don't work.
We also noticed a few other things. Other than the 30 new songs (Which is about half as many as Guitar Hero II had), there basically isn't anything new at all. And is some cases there's even less than in Guitar Hero II (Besides the song count). The main characters have received some minor 80's styling, as have the menus (Queue the neon paint), but other than that it looks exactly the same. From the rest of the band to the crowd to the venues, they're all exactly the same as before. Well, there was a neon beach ball in the high school. That's it. There are also less playable characters than before, with the Grim Reaper being the only one. And Stone Henge is also not included, which is a bummer because that's easily my favourite venue. Oh, and all the unlockable guitars are the same ones from Guitar Hero II, there's nothing new there either. And there are no unlockable songs either, just the 30 from career mode.
So what do we have so far? Guitar Hero II with a thin coat of paint, half the songs, fewer characters, fewer venues, the same unlockable guitars, no unlockable songs, all for a $60 dollar price point, the same as to buy Guitar Hero on it's own (Without a controller) when it was new. For $60, it's a bit of a rip off. At $30 this would have been a great deal.
After coming to these conclusions, I also started reading some reviews and checking out what other sites on the Net had to say about Rock The 80's. It was all pretty much the same thing. So for my money, I'm glad I rented it and didn't buy it. I'll wait until it's $30-$40 before I shell out. But that's just me. I know a few people who won't mind paying $60 for what is basically $30 of content just because they love Guitar Hero that much, but I'll wait.