In what would be the first of many (many, many) spin-offs to the Guitar Hero franchise, Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s was released to a middling response. Designed to fill out Harmonix’s contract before leaving the Guitar Hero series, Rocks the 80s was an 80s themed re-skin of Guitar Hero II. While the gameplay was just as solid as it was in Guitar Hero II, a lot of people on both the review and consumer sides of the spectrum weren’t jumping at the idea of paying full price for what was nothing more than an expansion pack. In addition, while Guitar Hero II was released multi-platform, Rocks the 80s would see a temporary return to the series being PS2 exclusive.
As the name would imply, Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s featured an almost exclusively 80s soundtrack (the exception being Because It’s Midnite by parody band Limozeen). As would be standard with the Harmonix developed Guitar Hero games, the majority of the songs were cover versions. At 30 songs, it matches the first game in the series in terms of setlist size, although with no bonus songs to beef it up, it winds up being one of the smallest setlists in franchise history.
Of the 30 song setlist, 12 are playable in Rocksmith (counting Play with Me and Electric Eye coming as DLC on Tuesday), and it’s also worth mentioning that the original Sweet version of Ballroom Blitz is playable in Rocksmith, and the Killswitch Engage cover of Holy Diver is also available in addition to the Dio original. That said, I’m not counting those in the total percentage, so there is a total of 40% of the setlist playable in Rocksmith, a slight increase from Guitar Hero II’s 37% and from the original Guitar Hero’s 35%.
|Artist||Song||Date in Rocksmith|
|Accept||Balls to the Wall *||06/16/2015|
|Anthrax||Caught in a Mosh *||03/24/2015|
|Asia||Heat of the Moment *||01/05/2016|
|Billy Squier||Lonely is the Night *||N/A|
|Dead Kennedys||Police Truck *||N/A|
|Dio||Holy Diver *||10/21/2014|
|Eddie Money||Shakin’ *||N/A|
|Extreme||Play with Me *||04/19/2016|
|Faster Pussycat||Bathroom Wall *||N/A|
|A Flock of Seagulls||I Ran||09/13/2016|
|The Go-Go’s||We Got the Beat *||N/A|
|Iron Maiden||Wrathchild *||N/A|
|Judas Priest||Electric Eye||04/19/2016 **|
|Krokus||Ballroom Blitz *||N/A|
|Limozeen||Because, It’s Midnite||N/A|
|Oingo Boingo||Only a Lad *||N/A|
|Poison||Ain’t Nothin’ But a Good Time *||10/21/2014|
|The Police||Synchronicity II *||05/01/2012|
|Quiet Riot||Bang Your Head (Metal Health) *||N/A|
|RATT||Round and Round *||10/22/2013|
|The Romantics||What I Like About You *||N/A|
|Scorpions||No One Like You *||N/A|
|Skid Row||18 and Life *||N/A|
|Twisted Sister||I Wanna Rock ***||02/07/2017|
|The Vapors||Turning Japanese *||N/A|
|White Lion||Radar Love *||N/A|
|X||Los Angeles *||N/A|
|.38 Special||Hold on Loosely *||01/26/2016|
* Denotes a cover version of the track.
** Denotes that the track does not contain the intro.
*** Denotes a re-recorded version of the track.
And now, here’s a bunch of songs I’d personally like to see show up in Rocksmith!
Dead Kennedys – Police Truck
You’ve been following this feature long enough to know that if there’s a hardcore punk song to feature here, I’m going to feature it here! Police Truck would be a great place to start for getting Dead Kennedys in to the game!
A Flock of Seagulls – I Ran (So Far Away)
New Wave is yet another tragically under-represented genre in Rocksmith. While a lot of it doesn’t have great guitar parts, I Ran is an iconic song that would surely provide some interesting effects based gameplay.
Oingo Boingo – Only a Lad
We had our first taste of Oingo Boingo last Halloween, but more would always be welcome! This song was notable for being deceptively difficult, and I see no reason why that wouldn’t be the same here. A lot of interesting techniques are at play here that would be a blast to learn.
The Romantics – What I Like About You
Previously, I would have thought this to be impossible what with the lawsuit filed against Harmonix and all, but it was recently announced that The Romantics are coming as Rock Band DLC this month, hope has returned that one of the greatest pop-rock songs of all time could finally come to Rocksmith!
Skid Row – 18 and Life
One of THE best hair metal ballads ever, the only reason we haven’t seen these guys show up in rhythm games again (barring Guitar Hero: On Tour, also as a cover) was because of master issues. With masters not being an issue at Rocksmith, there’s no reason we can’t see this song come to Rocksmith soon!
Twisted Sister – I Wanna Rock
Don’t you think it’s time we get another song from Twisted Sister? While the riff is simplistic, it’s incredibly satisfying and features two great solos by Ojeda/French. If that’s not enough In 2009, it was named the 17th VH1 Greatest Hard Rock Songs by VH1!
The Vapors – Turning Japanese
A guitar part almost as fast and tricky as the vocal line, this song would be an absolute blast to try and keep up with. Despite not sounding overtly complex, a lot happens in it and it’s sure to keep even veteran guitarists on their toes!
X – Los Angeles
While it might not be an overly complex song, I always have fun with songs that are just short and fast. Los Angeles certainly delivers that, and the fact that it’s a bloody great track doesn’t hurt much either! Would it be censored a bit? Sure. But it wouldn’t be the first time, and frankly, you could probably fill them in yourself if you really wanted to!
There’s our picks, what songs would you like to see from Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80’s end up in Rocksmith 2014? Let us know!