Review by Colet64

"A great debut from Neversoft but falls short from the Harmonix made games."

Guitar Hero 3 is the fourth installment in the Guitar Hero franchise, making a second debut on the 360, fourth on PS2, and first on the PS3 and Wii. This game is not new, it's been around since late 2005 and many changes have been made to add to the game's atmosphere, and ultimately it succeeds, but falls somewhat short to the nostalgic feel that PS2 original Guitar Hero games carry. This is a wonderful game, although somewhat a backward step.

Let us start off with the basics. For those of you who are completely new to the subject matter (hard to believe some are), you are given a guitar with five colored frets; green, red, yellow, blue, and orange. In addition, a strum bar and a whammy to distort long, held notes to create your “own dynamic sound”, which it just kind of fails to do so. The game carries four difficulties. Easy mode uses the first three colored frets, medium slaps on blue, hard grabs the orange fret, and expert mode finally charts the song accordingly to the song, if you can comprehend what I mean.

There is also a multiplier, which goes up every 10 notes hit consecutively. Example, 10 notes hit in a row, 2x, 20, 3x, 30, 4x; which is the maximum. However, certain phrases of notes are “star power phrases” which increase the amount of star power you have. When you have enough, you tilt the guitar or press the select button to activate it, which doubles your multiplier…so if you have a 4x, it will double to 8x, which can really boost your score.

This game is somewhat difficult compared to the others, however also much easier. Basically, it's much harder by the fact that there are a TON of three-note chords (on expert of course.) This may throw even Guitar Hero 2 veterans off, but mostly not likely. Songs like “Before I Forget”, by Slipknot and “3's and 7's” by Queens of the Stone Age utilize these three-note chords to the maximum. Believe me, some of these songs are very quirky to get used to.

However, the game is also easy compared to the Harmonix made games (Guitar Hero 1, 2, and Rocks the 80's). There is a subject called “timing window”. This is basically an amount of time you have to hit a note. Guitar Hero 1, 2, and 80's all have miniscule timing windows, and thus make the engine quite hard to play and full combo songs (100% without overstrum). Guitar Hero 3 carries along a very open timing window, so you can relax and hit the notes when you feel desire to. Seriously, there is a very large difference in hitting the notes here.

Throughout the game, you pick your character (may change character, guitar, etc. at any time), and you play through tiers of songs that each contains a venue. You will realize from the first tier to the last, the detail and superiority of each venue increases. Almost like you are gaining fame as you progress through the career mode. Each venue contains unspeakable detail, flawlessly executed, and sometimes may even deter you from the actual game. I am speaking from a 360 standpoint, so I cannot judge on other systems. In all, the graphics are amazing here, you have some really detailed and polished stuff that makes the game seem really professional and well done. Neversoft really kicked some butt in that department and I applaud them.

There is a mode called quickplay, which I have no clue whatsoever it is doing in here if it keeps your score just like career mode. It really is pointless in my perspective. You have career mode that entails career, bonus, and downloaded songs. Quickplay does the same, records the high score and then gives you co-op “encore” songs, unlocked through beating the co-op career. Which also leads me to another flaw. Co-op career can only be played locally and not online. Just when you thought the online capabilities could solve the loneliness of playing alone, co-op career is forced to be played through local play. You may still play co-op online, however high scores aren't recorded and it still does not have the same effect as local co-op may bring.

The big thing with Guitar Hero 3 is obviously the online feature. This was a big thing to add and yet, I was skeptical. Online is fun, short and simple. Most people either suck or just are plain unbelievable. While no lag is a said thing, that is somewhat deceiving. There is a big glitch with co-op online with star power, where the other is in star power, but you are not. May mess up scores and can frustrate.

There are the same modes in this game as there were before, however a new addition has been made. Battle mode is a new game where two people face off like pro-faceoff (entire song), and except for star power phrases, battle powerups are given to shoot at your opponent. Lefty flip, amp overload (shakes the screen), difficulty up, double notes, etc. It gets nuts kids. However, while most people find the online ability appealing, I've found myself playing solo much more. I think I find the solo play more entertaining than online, but that is my opinion. Take it for what it is worth.

The big thing with Guitar Hero 3 was not only Neversoft's first attempt but it was the mainstream songs and downloadable content. Songs included are “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” by Pat Benatar, “School's Out” by Alice Cooper, and “One” by Metallica to name a few. 70 songs to rip and shred on. Believe it or not, I have played this game nonstop from October 30, 2007 all the way to today, March 24, 2008…and I must say, I have grown tiresome from these songs. I played Guitar Hero 2 with much agony (first Guitar Hero game) and loved the obscure songs…which I believe made it a gem. The popular songs on Guitar Hero 3 become old and not even merely fun to play.

However, downloadable content will fix that little problem we have here, won't it? Sure, if there was downloadable content. Guitar Hero 3 receives about one pack a month, sometimes 2. For the most part, maybe one or two packs have been decent (my personal favorite was the FREE Dropkick Murphy's pack). Even with DLC, I've grown to see repetition in Guitar Hero 3. Harmonix now has a new DLC every Tuesday deal going on with Rock Band, which has been making me play that more than Guitar Hero 3. Neversoft just needs to pull more DLC out.

In all, Guitar Hero 3 is a great game. Great songs, good exclusive guitar (Les Paul), and wonderful new additions. However, the pointlessness of Quickplay, Co-op exclusives, lag online, and lack of DLC make me grow weary of this game. I remember so vividly, staying up till midnight October 28, 2007, anticipating this game. Receiving it, playing it, beating it, playing it again, and still having fun. It grows old, but is still a great debut from Neversoft, who I can firmly believe will pull something new out of their sleeves soon.

Pros

+ Great songs
+ Great guitar
+ Online mode!
+ DLC
+ Great graphics

Cons

- Lack of DLC
- Random lag online
- Songs grow old
- Pointless Quickplay option nowadays
- No co-op career online?!
- Co-op exclusives?! WTF?

Overall Rating: 8


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 03/24/08

Game Release: Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock (w/Guitar) (US, 10/28/07)


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