- Title: Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock
- Platform:Xbox 360
- Publisher: Activision
- Developer: Neversoft
- ESRB Rating: “T” for Teen
- Genre: Music/Rhythm
- Pros: Great list of songs; master tracks make a big difference; online play; the Les Paul is the best Guitar Hero peripheral yet
- Cons: Boss battles are lame; crazy difficulty increase over the last game; unrealistic hammer ons kind of spoil the fun
Guitar Hero III adds a couple of new twists to the set of modes in the previous games. In addition to a career mode that has you working your way up to the top of the music world by yourself, you can also now play a co-op career that features six songs you can only unlock in that mode. There is also online play that offers up co-op and competitive score modes as well as a new battle mode that replaces the “Star Power” with attacks that are meant to mess up your opponent. These battle modes also pop up during career when you are challenged by “boss” characters to guitar battles. These can be sort of interesting, but once you understand the basic premise, they are fairly easy. Training and quick play modes are also available.
How It Works
For those not already familiar with Guitar Hero, it works like this. You play the game with a guitar peripheral that has five fret buttons and a strum bar, and you have to strum and press the correct fret button as the notes of a song scroll down your TV screen. There are four difficulty levels, with Easy on using three fret buttons, Medium using four, and Hard and Expert using all five.
Another issue comes from the over reliance on the hammer on technique. Hammer ons are a real life technique where you can play a note on the string next to the last one you played without strumming, but you can only do it for a couple of notes because the strings can’t vibrate forever. In Guitar Hero III, however, there are long, long, long sections of nothing but hammer ons. I know this is a videogame with a plastic guitar that can’t be super realistic, but the hammer ons are just ridiculous here. And if you aren’t used to using hammer ons, or at least have very fast moving fingers playing normally, these sections are basically impossible to beat.
Graphically, Guitar Hero III is a definite upgrade over previous games. The characters have been improved, and the venues you play in look quite nice as well. We also like the little animated story cutscenes between the tiers of the career mode.
The sound is decent overall, but it seems like the guitar sounds are kind of muted over past games, which is a big no-no since the whole point here is to play guitar. This is a game that absolutely begs to have the volume turned way up, and it is absolutely easier to play when you can clearly hear the bass guitar and drums. If you live in an area where rock and rolling all night and partying every day is frowned upon, I highly recommend you play with headphones such as the Turtle Beach Ear Force X2s or X3s.
There is little question that the song selection is better than any previous Guitar Hero. There are songs from Metallica, Rage Against the Machine, The Who, The Rolling Stones, Tenacious D, Heart, Black Sabbath, Kiss, Aerosmith, ZZ Top, Dead Kennedys, Sex Pistols, Living Color, and many many more. This time around, many of the songs are the master tracks from the real artists rather than covers, and the real songs and overall higher quality of it all makes a huge difference here. Not every song is a winner, but there are more great songs than duds.
The Les Paul wireless guitar is also noteworthy. It is a great shape that looks nice, is fun to play, and is far and away better than the X-Plorer that shipped with GHII.