I got the freebie copy of GH:VH from the GH5 promo. GH:VH uses the GH: Metallica engine - it has expert-plus drums and better star power indicators, but it doesn't have the easy group play drop-in/drop-out stuff of GH5 or the instrument challenges that make that game a little more interesting.
Positives: If you like classic David Lee Roth Van Halen (no Van Hagar here) you'll love it. You'll also dig it if you like playing hard guitar parts. It's difficult without being annoying - a lot of hard guitar songs are mostly endless strings of HOPOs and alt-strums. These are more interesting, and with a bunch of fun slide parts.
1) For most of the game you're "Van Halen in 2008." You too can be middle-aged guys reliving their youth! Not exactly my rock-n-roll fantasy. And yes, the game has Eddie's son Wolfgang on bass. I don't want to pick on him, but even his videogame avatar looks a little embarrassed to be there. Eventually you unlock classic VH...with Wolfgang sort of foolishly wearing Michael Anthony's sleeveless dice tee from 1984. O the humanity. Still, that was Eddies's call and not Activision's fault.
2) The cut scenes, venues and characterization are pretty thin. Except for one classic Van Halen club, the venues are all generic.
3) The non-Van Halen set list. I know it's personal taste. Maybe you love it, that's cool. But apart from a handful of period-appropriate songs (Foreigner, Deep Purple, The Clash), the non-VH songs are a grab bag of generic modern rock (Blink-182, Yellowcard, the ubiquitous Foo Fighters) and stuff that's already been released on Rock Band (Painkiller; Sick, Sick, Sick; Master Exploder; the egregious Pretty Fly for a White Guy). It feels like a bunch of songs that Activision had lying around because they didn't make the cut for GH5.
One thing I liked about GH: Metallica was that the non-Metallica tracks were songs the band liked, and songs that influenced or were influenced by Metallica. There was some intelligence behind the setlist and the whole game hung together. It wouldn't have been too hard to do this with GH:VH - mix more cheezeball 70's guitar rock (Nugent, Foghat, Alice Cooper, Styx), some Guitar God tracks (Jimi, Clapton, Santana), and some GH Rocks the 80's songs (Ratt, Journey, Autograph). Stuff that VH listened to, stuff that was inspired by VH, stuff that was on the radio when VH was big. Not too hard. But instead we get a set list assembled by the marketing staff. Meh.
GH: VH feels like GH: Metallica done on the cheap. Like halfway through development Activision realized this should have been a track pack and not a standalone game, but by then it was too late so they just half-assed it to get it out the door. Though my complaints melt away when I fake-play the opening chords of "Unchained." Three stars if you like Van Halen and don't care about money ($50 for 45 songs is painful). One star otherwise - if Van Halen isn't your thing, just stay away.