Review by DrAndonuts
"Having their sophmore slump on the third outing."
Let get this out of the way: I am a Harmonix fanboy. I love Frequency, Amplitude, Karaoke Revolution, and, of course, Guitar Hero. The first was groundbreaking, and the second bettered everything in the first game. I was disappointed to hear that the team was kicked off this game, but Neversoft has a pretty good (albeit repetitive) track record. I had moderate hopes for the game, and met most, but still had a few faults. Note that this review is based on Expert mode.
Graphics (technical): 7/10
All of the game in series have been about the music, not visuals. This game does up the technical level of the graphics, with some nice detail to the characters, audiences, and sets. The movements are a little robot-ish, but they're accurate. It has some nice lighting effects, as well, and really helps the overall presentation. One flaw I did spot was that there was slowdown whenever starpower was activated. It messed me up only once, so I suppose it's not a huge problem, but it should be noted. It's the best in the series, but not benchmark on the 360.
Graphics (art direction) 4/10
A huge step down. Many of the characters have been given horrible makeover (of sorts), and some of the new stages are riddled with product placement. Red Bull cans, Pontiac Stages, and Axe guitars are all over in the game, and it feels out of place. Harmonix had this nailed, and Neversoft took a huge misstep.
Granted, their are some very good songs here. The first four or five tiers have some excellent songs, while tier 7 is very lacking. My only beef with the good songs is that they don't necessarily have good guitar sections. Many are classics, yes, but some are just boring to play. For every Paint It Black, you've got an AFI song. One of these doesn't fit, and it's not fun to play.
Also, I have a fault with the design choice of master tracks. It's hear the original song, but you are a cover band; I liked having covers of the song, since it made the game feel more like a tribute to rock and roll, instead of imitating it. That's just a minor qualm, though. The setlist is decent, but it went for what people knew, not what was fun to play.
Gameplay: 6.5/10 (Single player: 7/10, multiplayer 6/10, online 7/10)
The gameplay is largely the same as the past game. The only real new addition (to single player) is boss battles, something I think is ridiculous and completely unnecessary for the series. This relates back to my beef with master tracks. The fact that you have to fight them in the Battle Mode is another fault; Battle Mode just isn't that fun. If you land one item in Expert during a solo, you will win. There's skill involved, yes, but it's hard to come back from a single hit. It gets old.
Which is really the problem facing this entire series; it's getting old. We've had three major games in the series, and we've had nothing new. Boss Battles are dull, and the battle mode is equally boring. The gameplay is fun, but there's nothing fresh about it anymore. It's familiar, but it needs something new.
In terms of multiplayer, the exclusion of offline quick play co-op was a huge mistake. Campaign is fun, but I like the option of jumping into a song, with different difficulties. This was a major oversight, and it brings down the score somewhat.
Online has been hard to get on to, but the game I have played have had little lag, and were quite fun. They also included standard co-op, which was a plus, but makes it even more confusing why it's not offline, as well.
I was disappointed by Guitar Hero III. I love the series, don't mind Neversoft, but this game did not meet expectations. Boring song selection, coupled with horrible art design and unfun new modes cause this game to falter. It's not bad, but it's not as great as the other games. I'm hoping Rock Band is the next step the music genre needs. GHIII isn't a revolution, or even a revolution. It's just more of the same, and some people are OK with that. I expected more, but didn't get it. My official score says 6/10, but I gave it a 6.5. I didn't bump it up to a 7 because I don't think it's good. It's OK, and I hope Neversoft steps it up next time.
Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 10/29/07
Game Release: Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock (w/Guitar) (US, 10/28/07)
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