By Shaan Khan (16/09/21)
Courtesy of BASHH Guidelines
I can’t help looking back at the 2000s with a dreamy haze. Nostalgia of a skeleton culture that once defined my childhood; where a traditional sleepover meant stopping at Blockbusters to grab a DVD, then coming back home and sitting around a plasma TV with your friends, while one of you grabs a plastic guitar to play a Guitar Hero game. With the franchise long and gone, I want to retroactively analyse how the underrated game of the franchise, Guitar Hero Encore: Rock the 80s (PS2), has aged and is it worth dusting off your plastic guitar and giving this relatively un-played game a try?
The Word-for-Word Experience
At the time, Guitar Hero Encore: Rock the 80s was deemed as an ‘unnecessary sequel’ to the more popular Guitar Hero 2, given that it could easily have been DLC at a more reasonable price since it uses all the same features & game design, just with an 80s theme thrown on top and replacing the Guitar Hero 2 music with only 80s songs. Like, why not just add that 80s music into the more popular game for extra content?!
Despite the publisher Activision’s synonymous money-grabbing ways, if you liked the look & feel of Guitar Hero 2, then Guitar Hero Encore will easily be relatable to you and now at a much reasonable price.
You’re first asked what difficulty you want to play on with a choice of four options: easy, medium, hard or expert. Now, although this can be a game to get the whole family involved, it’s also been in the hands of many sweaty nerds that want to challenge the responsiveness of their brains with reacting to rhythms at the highest tempos.
Then it’s time to hit the big stage for your first concert, but just before, you have a selection of 5 characters to choose from. None of them possess unique traits that offer different styles of gameplay. Instead, you pick based on characters’ fashion choices and lifestyles that appeal to you and would like to see represented on stage.
Courtesy of Gamespot
Next, you need to grab a guitar, with most being Gibson guitars. Despite having no unique stats that can add to the gameplay, they do have bios that list the lore of each guitar, such as famous events they were played at. It’s a nice nod to the 80s Rock lovers. Further homage is made by displaying posters and sponsorship deals that are honest to business, art & culture of the time but now in this game, you’re in the limelight! To feel like an 80s Rockstar! Getting the deals and being featured in concert posters!
Finally, the scroll of 30 iconic 80s Rock songs are listed on a notepad paper background. This is likely the main reason you would want this game, as it’s the only guitar video game where you access all these songs that Guitar Hero was able to get the licenses to! Whether it’s a classic from Gunz N Roses or Iron Maiden, this game will have it and you can choose which song you want to play for your virtual concert!
Once the show is on and the music kicks in, it’s time to get in the groove and make sure you hit every input that the game commands. While concentrating on timing every input perfectly, you can jam out to the song and enjoy the flashy lights and fire effects on stage that were inspired by 80s comics and keeps you locked in this 80s filled craze in that moment.
Courtesy of Gamefabrique
When the show is done, you’re handed the money you made and the score you obtained—feeling either satisfied or annoyed at the end for those with competitive spirits. Still, this contention is what gives this game so much replayability—always trying to beat your score or your friends highest scores!
Conclusion – Its Place in The Modern World
While rhythmic games aren’t the party pleasers they used to be, they attract the modern market of competitive gamers who typically play osu! Another game of its kind. However, osu! Allows users to submit creative content for players to interact with and this is a limitation for Guitar Hero Encore: Rock the 80s since you only have 30 songs to choose from.
Another audience the game can appeal to is the diehard 80s rock music lovers since it’s a one-of-a-kind game to have all these licenses in one place. While we live in the age where rhythmic games have mostly died out and not looking to make a comeback anytime soon, then Guitar Hero Encore: Rock the 80s will only age like fine wine over time.
- Access to a music rhythmic game with exclusive 80s Rock songs
- Great game to play with friends, colleagues or family
- Ability to challenge yourself or others
- Limited amount of songs
- No updates to the game
- The list of songs offers less challenging gameplay compared to other Guitar Hero games
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