Guitar Hero: Van Halen
Reviewed by Didi Cardoso
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2010-01-26 Xbox 360 Music/Rhythm T (Teen) Actiision / Neversoft

Guitar Hero: Van Halen is something I've kept my eye on since E3, mostly because I love the franchise, I like Van Halen, and DJ Hero just didn't interest me at all.

While I am not as big of a fan of Van Halen as I am of Metallica, I know and enjoy a few of their songs. And technically, GH Van Halen is basically the same as GH Metallica, but considering the features that were implemented in Guitar Hero 5 (which was released after GH Metallica), there is basically no excuse to skip them in this installment. There are no challenges, no Party Play mode, no DLC support or GH5 song import option.

As usual, you will spend a good chunk of your time in Career mode, but you won't be progressing through classic venues. In fact, you will only see some "classic" representations of the band members at the end of the Career, and even then, it's only dressing up their current virtual counterparts in early 80's outfits. While you still play as your custom rocker during the non-Van Halen tracks, for the band's acts you will see the current band members on stage: Eddie Van Halen, David Lee Roth, Alex Van Halen and Wolfgang Van Halen.

The game features 28 Van Halen tracks, with 3 of them being Eddie's guitar solos:

  • "Ain't Talkin 'Bout Love"
  • "And The Cradle Will Rock"
  • "Atomic Punk"
  • "Beautiful Girls"
  • "Cathedral"
  • "Dance The Night Away"
  • "Eruption"
  • "Everybody Wants Some"
  • "Feel Your Love Tonight"
  • "Hang 'Em High"
  • "Hear About It Later"
  • "Hot For Teacher"
  • "Ice Cream Man"
  • "I'm The One"
  • "Jamie's Cryin"
  • "Jump"
  • "Intruder/Pretty Woman"
  • "Little Guitars"
  • "Loss Of Control"
  • "Mean Street"
  • "Panama"
  • "Romeo Delight"
  • "Running With The Devil"
  • "So This Is Love"
  • "Somebody Get Me A Doctor"
  • "Spanish Fly"
  • "Unchained"
  • "You Really Got Me"

In case you are wondering, the tracks featured in the game only go up to 1984, basically the David Lee Roth era. There are no tracks from the time when Sammy Hagar was part of the band. Career mode is obviously not accurate...

The remaining 21 tracks feature Weezer, Blink-182, Foo Fighters, Foreigner, Jimmy Eat World, Queen, The Clash and Tenacious D. But honestly? It doesn't seem like these non-Van Halen songs even fit into the band's style. I mean, Billy Idol? As much as I like the dude and his songs, that just felt... innapropriate. Bands such as Def Leppard, Scorpions, Poison and White Snake would have been a better match, plus they've had hits featured on other GH titles.

I'm not saying that I didn't enjoy playing and singing along to GH Van Halen, but I was disappointed. I enjoyed the band's track list, but felt like the guest acts were completely out of place. I miss the fantastic venues based on album covers and the great fan extras (such as videos and interviews) from GH Metallica. And I honestly can't figure out why the well-implemented and very welcome GH5 added features were completely skipped here...

Guitar Hero is a franchise that releases around three titles a year. Usually, they are well-executed and are worth waiting for, but this one is seriously lacking. Unless you got it as a GH5 bonus, I don't think it would be worth paying the full retail price. If the purpose was to share and release some Van Halen content to fans of the band, DLC song packs would have been a better option. But hey, since I have it, I might as well jump!

Special thanks to Andrew Meyer and Activision for providing a copy of this title.