Guitar Hero: Van Halen

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Guitar Hero: Van Halen
Guitar Hero Van Halen.jpg
Developer(s) Neversoft
Underground Development (X360)
Publisher(s) Activision
Series Guitar Hero
Platform(s) PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Wii, Xbox 360
Release date(s) NA December 22, 2009[1]

AU February 17, 2010[2]
EU February 19, 2010[3]

Genre(s) Music, Rhythm
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer
Distribution DVD, Blu-ray Disc, Wii Optical Disc

Guitar Hero: Van Halen is the third and final band-specific music rhythm game in the Guitar Hero series. As with the previous games Guitar Hero: Aerosmith and Guitar Hero: Metallica, the game features 25 songs from Van Halen along with 19 additional songs from selected artists that have been inspired by the group. The game was released in retail for the PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Wii systems on December 22, 2009, in North America, and in February 2010 for PAL regions. However, as part of a promotion with Guitar Hero 5, the game was shipped to Guitar Hero 5 purchasers in North America prior to its retail release. The game was developed by Neversoft with Underground Development assisting Neversoft on developing the Xbox 360 port and published by Activision.

The game has received mostly negative reviews from critics, most of which consider the game's quality to be greatly inferior to its predecessor, Guitar Hero: Metallica and other games of the series. The reviewers criticized the lack of former Van Halen members, Sammy Hagar, Michael Anthony and Gary Cherone, the limited tracks selected from Van Halen's discography, the selection of other tracks included in the game, and the general lack of features introduced in the previous band-centric games and Guitar Hero 5.

Gameplay[edit]

Guitar Hero: Van Halen is similar to the preceding band-centric game, Guitar Hero: Metallica, featuring support for four players in a single band on lead and bass guitar, drums, and vocals. The game does not feature the additions that are present in Guitar Hero 5, such as drop-in/drop-out play.[4]

Only the current members of the band—Eddie Van Halen, David Lee Roth, Alex Van Halen and Wolfgang Van Halen—are playable avatars in the game for the Van Halen songs; former band members Sammy Hagar, Gary Cherone and Michael Anthony are not included.[4][5][6] The band appear as they did in 2009 but, by completing challenges in the game, players can unlock their older appearances from the "spandex era […] with the big hair and tight pants".[4][7] Despite not being alive during this period of the band's history, Wolfgang Van Halen's avatar has a retro outfit copied from the dice-shirt-and-patchwork-jeans getup worn by his father in the video for "Panama".

A demo of the game was released to Xbox Live on December 9, 2009, featuring two Van Halen songs, "Eruption" and "Panama", along with Weezer's "Dope Nose" and Killswitch Engage's "The End of Heartache".[8]

Development[edit]

Members of Van Halen, including David Lee Roth (left) and Eddie Van Halen (right) performed motion capture in order to create their digital likeness for the game.

While the game was formally announced by Activision on May 7, 2009,[9] several sources reported a month earlier that Van Halen was in development. USK, the German software ratings board, posted a content rating for a Van Halen-based game in the series.[10] GameStop temporarily listed the game for pre-order during the month of April.[11] A list of Xbox 360 Achievements was posted to the Internet in early May.[12]

Throughout September 2009, people who purchased or preordered Guitar Hero 5 in the US were given a code which they could redeem to receive a free copy of Guitar Hero: Van Halen prior to its retail release.[13] These copies began arriving to customers in early October for PlayStation 2, Xbox 360, and Wii players,[14] while the PlayStation 3 version was delayed due to a printing error.[15] The game came in a cardboard sleeve with cover art indicating that it was for promotional use.[16]

Soundtrack[edit]

Like the other band-centric Guitar Hero games, Guitar Hero: Van Halen includes 25 songs from the band Van Halen, including 3 guitar solos by Eddie Van Halen, in addition to 19 guest acts.[9] The Van Halen songs in the game are taken during the time when David Lee Roth was in the band, and do not include any works during the period that Sammy Hagar and Gary Cherone were band members;[7] Activision's head of music licensing, Tim Riley, notes that the lack of such material was not due to any demands or requests made by David Lee Roth.[17] Riley also stated that most of the guest acts were selected by Wolfgang Van Halen, at the suggestion of Roth.[17] The following songs are included in the game:[1][4][5]

Year Song title Artist Venue
1978 "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love" Van Halen 7. Dallas
1980 "And the Cradle Will Rock..."+ Van Halen 3. West Hollywood
1978 "Atomic Punk" Van Halen 5. New York City
1979 "Beautiful Girls" Van Halen 7. Dallas
2005 "Best of You" Foo Fighters 2. Los Angeles
1982 "Cathedral"a Van Halen
2007 "Come to Life"+ Alter Bridge 4. Rome
1979 "Dance the Night Away" Van Halen 10. The Early Years
2002 "Dope Nose" Weezer 8. London
1978 "Double Vision"+ Foreigner 8. London
2004 "The End of Heartache"+ Killswitch Engage 2. Los Angeles
1978 "Eruption"a Van Halen
1980 "Everybody Wants Some!!" Van Halen 3. West Hollywood
1978 "Feel Your Love Tonight" Van Halen 9. The Netherlands
2001 "First Date" Blink-182 6. Berlin
1982 "Hang ‘Em High"+ Van Halen 3. West Hollywood
1981 "Hear About It Later"+ Van Halen 10. The Early Years
1984 "Hot for Teacher"+ Van Halen 10. The Early Years
1978 "Ice Cream Man" Van Halen 7. Dallas
1978 "I'm the One"+ Van Halen 7. Dallas
1989 "I Want It All" Queen 8. London
1982 "Intruder/(Oh) Pretty Woman" Van Halen 3. West Hollywood
1978 "Jamie's Cryin'" Van Halen 5. New York City
1984 "Jump" Van Halen 5. New York City
1982 "Little Guitars" Van Halen 9. New Netherlands
1980 "Loss of Control"+ Van Halen 5. New York City
2006 "Master Exploder" Tenacious D 2. Los Angeles
1981 "Mean Street" Van Halen 10. The Early Years
2004 "Pain" Jimmy Eat World 6. Berlin
1990 "Painkiller"+ Judas Priest 4. Rome
1984 "Panama" Van Halen 1. Van Halen Intro
1998 "Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)" The Offspring 2. Los Angeles
1995 "Rock and Roll Is Dead" Lenny Kravitz 4. Rome
1980 "Romeo Delight" Van Halen 5. New York City
1978 "Runnin' with the Devil" Van Halen 1. Van Halen Intro
1978 "Safe European Home" The Clash 6. Rome
1997 "Semi-Charmed Life" Third Eye Blind 8. London
2007 "Sick, Sick, Sick" Queens of the Stone Age 6. Berlin
1981 "So This Is Love?" Van Halen 9. New Netherlands
1979 "Somebody Get Me a Doctor" Van Halen 3. West Hollywood
1972 "Space Truckin'" Deep Purple 4. Rome
1979 "Spanish Fly"a Van Halen
2003 "Stacy's Mom" Fountains of Wayne 6. Rome
2007 "The Takedown" Yellowcard 4. Rome
1981 "Unchained" Van Halen 7. Dallas
1982 "White Wedding (Part 1)" Billy Idol 2. Los Angeles
1978 "You Really Got Me" Van Halen 9. New Netherlands

^+ Song contains both a single and double bass drums chart.
^a Song is a guitar solo by Eddie Van Halen.

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 65.6%[19]
Metacritic 55/100[18]
Review scores
Publication Score
Computer and Video Games 4.0/10[20]
G4 3/5[21]
GamePro 2.5/5[22]
IGN 4.9/10[23]

Early reviews of the promotional version of the game received by redeeming a code that came with Guitar Hero 5 were critical of the game. IGN's Erik Brudvig rated the game 4.9/10, citing problems with the lack of relevance of Van Halen relative to the culture of the 2000s, including having their avatars based on their current appearances rather than that of their 80s heyday, the lack of songs from Sammy Hagar's period in the band, and the lack of features since introduced with Guitar Hero 5. Brudvig ultimately stated that those who got the game free through the Guitar Hero 5 promotion "got what they paid for".[23] Robert Workman of Game Daily was less critical of the title, but still noted that the game lacked features, including some mention of Hagar and Gary Cherone and songs from their period with the band, and felt that the title was below the quality of Guitar Hero: Metallica.[24] Both Brudvig and Workman commented positively on the sound recordings and the note tracking of the Van Halen songs.[23][24]

Guitar Hero: Van Halen reviews following its release were similarly negative. Ben Kuchera of Ars Technica considered the game's limited coverage of the band's history to be "a sadly revisionist and dishonest take", and felt that the non-Van Halen songs clashed with the band's own material. Kuchera further pointed to Activision's distribution strategy for the game, stating that he felt that giving the game away free with Guitar Hero 5 showed that Activision did not have confidence in the game.[25] Philip Horton of The Telegraph was critical of the game's song selection, the band's modern appearance, and the lack of any additional extras compared with either the previous band-centric games or Guitar Hero 5, and described it as "the weakest offering in the series to date".[26] Kate Carter of The Guardian commented that the game is "neither one thing or the other", as it neither succeeds at bringing anything new to the Guitar Hero series nor fully pays tribute to Van Halen.[27] Computer and Video Games' review complained about the "shoddy character models" and described it as "the laziest Guitar Hero yet",[20] and Nathan Meunier of GamePro said that while the Van Halen songs were good and challenging, the remaining tracks did not fit the theme of the game, and that "the lackluster presentation makes the game feel more like a glorified track pack than a true homage".[22]

Guitar Hero: Van Halen sold fewer than 75,000 units across all platforms in North America from December 22 to 31, 2009, according to NPD Group.[28] As of April 2010, the game has sold fewer than 250,000 copies worldwide, with only 95,000 units sold in North America.[29][30] These numbers do not include distributed copies of the game in conjunction with Guitar Hero 5.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Frushtick, Russ (2009-08-05). "Exclusive: 'Guitar Hero: Van Halen' Song List And Release Date Revealed". MTV. Retrieved 2009-08-05. 
  2. ^ "Guitar Hero: Van Halen". Stack Magazine. Retrieved 2010-01-30. 
  3. ^ "Guitar Hero(R) Van Halen(R) Erupts Onto Retail Shelves Nationwide". PR Newswire. 2009-12-22. Retrieved 2009-12-23. 
  4. ^ a b c d Hatfield, Dameon (2009-06-04). "E3 2009: Guitar Hero Van Halen Preview". IGN. Retrieved 2009-06-04. 
  5. ^ a b Kreps, Daniel (2009-06-04). ""Guitar Hero: Van Halen" Trailer Rolls Out at E3 Expo". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2009-06-04. 
  6. ^ Kreps, Daniel (2009-06-08). ""Guitar Hero: Van Halen" Nixes Michael Anthony, Sammy Hagar". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 2009-06-15. Retrieved 2009-06-08. 
  7. ^ a b Kreps, Daniel (2009-08-06). ""Guitar Hero: Van Halen" Due December 22nd: Full Track List". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2009-08-06. 
  8. ^ Faylor, Chris (2009-12-09). "Guitar Hero Van Halen Demo Hits Xbox 360". Shacknews. Retrieved 2009-12-09. 
  9. ^ a b O'Conner, Alice (2009-05-07). "DJ Hero, Guitar Hero 5, Guitar Hero Van Halen and Band Hero Announced". Shacknews. Retrieved 2009-05-07. 
  10. ^ McWhartor, Michael (2009-04-17). "Guitar Hero: Van Halen Confirmed By Ratings Board?". Kotaku. Retrieved 2009-04-17. 
  11. ^ Plunkett, Luke (2009-04-24). "Guitar Hero: Van Halen Now Available For Pre-Order At GameStop". Kotaku. Retrieved 2009-04-24. 
  12. ^ Robinson, Andy (2009-05-01). "Guitar Hero: Van Halen exposed". Computer and Video Games. Retrieved 2009-05-01. 
  13. ^ Breckon, Nick (2009-08-11). "Buy Guitar Hero 5, Get Free Advance Copy of Guitar Hero: Van Halen". Shacknews. Retrieved 2009-08-11. 
  14. ^ Razak, Matthew (2009-10-04). "GH: Van Halen lands, yours should be there Monday". Destructoid. Retrieved 2009-10-04. 
  15. ^ Fletcher, JC (2009-10-15). "Runnin' Late with the Devil: Guitar Hero Van Halen delayed on PS3". Joystiq. Retrieved 2009-10-15. 
  16. ^ Vore, Bryan (2009-10-06). "Guitar Hero: Van Halen Has Arrived". Game Informer. Retrieved 2010-04-10. 
  17. ^ a b Brudvig, Erik (2009-08-10). "Why is Weezer in Guitar Hero Van Halen?". IGN. Retrieved 2009-08-11. 
  18. ^ "Guitar Hero: Van Halen (360: 2009)". MetaCritic. Retrieved 2009-12-21. 
  19. ^ "Guitar Hero: Van Halen". Game Rankings. Retrieved 2009-12-21. 
  20. ^ a b "Guitar Hero: Van Halen Review". Computer and Video Games. 2010-02-19. Retrieved 2010-04-11. 
  21. ^ Pfister, Andrew (2009-12-21). "Guitar Hero: Van Halen Review". G4TV. Retrieved 2009-12-21. 
  22. ^ a b Meunier, Nathan (2009-12-22). "Guitar Hero: Van Halen Review". GamePro. Archived from the original on 2010-03-02. Retrieved 2010-04-11. 
  23. ^ a b c Brudvig, Eric (2009-10-22). "Guitar Hero: Van Halen Review". IGN. Retrieved 2009-10-23. 
  24. ^ a b Workman, Robert (2009-10-14). "Guitar Hero: Van Halen Review". Game Daily. Archived from the original on 2009-10-16. Retrieved 2009-10-23. 
  25. ^ Kuchera, Ben (2009-12-23). "Guitar Hero: Van Halen a big lump of coal in our stockings". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2009-12-23. 
  26. ^ Horton, Philip (2010-02-22). "Guitar Hero: Van Halen video game review". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2010-02-22. 
  27. ^ Carter, Kate (2010-02-16). "Guitar Hero Van Halen". The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-02-16. 
  28. ^ Kohler, Chris (2010-01-15). "NPD Analysis: How to Sell a Wii Game". Wired. Retrieved 2010-01-16. 
  29. ^ Patten, Dominic (2010-03-30). "A Hard Day's Night for Music Video Games". The Wrap. Retrieved 2010-03-30. 
  30. ^ Hatfield, Daemon (2010-05-12). "Are Single-band Music Games a Success?". IGN. Retrieved 2010-05-13. 

External links[edit]