Review by Silverplated

Reviewed: 12/02/05

Ever heard a song and thought, "I wish I could play that"? Hear's your chance.

Put simply, Guitar Hero is the best game of its genre.

The rhythm genre has always been a major hit in arcades. While home versions are available for some games, they've always been a bit of a hassle to set up, and nearly impossible to emulate the arcade experience without spending large amounts of money or making your own custom controllers.

Guitar Hero takes all of the fun of these games with a simple, easy to use, authentic controller. Approximately 3/4 the size of a normal guitar and complete with strap (and stickers of course), it feels and plays very naturally.

The main gameplay is simple: dots come scrolling towards you on one of five bars. Each bar represents one of the five color coded frets on the neck of the guitar. When the note gets to the bottom, you strum the strum bar while holding down the appropriate fret. Simple enough, right? Starting on easy mode, the game only makes you play the first three frets. But as you move up difficulty to medium, it'll throw the first four. When you're ready to play hard and expert, it'll finally include all five, forcing you to move your hand up and down much like a real guitar player. This may seem intimidating at first, but you quickly learn the patterns of the song.

While the gameplay is important, it's the music itself that makes a game of this type what it is. Guitar Hero nails this on the head with 30 licensed tracks from some of the best guitarists in the world. With songs from artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Boston, Black Sabbath and Ozzy, there's likely to be plenty songs that you've imagined yourself playing before. As the title of this review suggests, fans of rock will love and recognize most of the tracks. But if you're relatively new to the genre, you can have just as much fun, catching on to the songs very quickly.

The main game mode is the Career, where you'll take the role of one of several unique characters on the path to becoming a guitar legend. You'll have six different stages to play on, starting with a small basement party leading up to the sold out show in a huge stadium. Each venue is brilliantly designed, each unique and entertaining. The character design is also as well. You get your pick from six colorful starting rockers, from the burly heavy metal guy to the British classic rocker, even being able to unlock and play as the Grim Reaper himself. Each character has their own flavor and personality, making the game just as fun to watch as it is to play.

The only flaws to the music is that the original artists themselves aren't the ones singing it. Most of the time the singers imitate the originals wonderfully (such as More Than a Feeling, Godzilla, Frankenstein and Symphony of Destruction), some leave something to be desired (Take Me Out and Cochise come to mind...), but never to the point of distraction. Not that imitating Chris Cornell's voice is any easy task...

In addition to the 30 famous tracks, there are 17 unlockables. With the exception of a few, however, these are mostly disappointing. Most of these songs are from the bands of the Harmonix staff members who made the game. However these do add some replay value, and a few do stand out as being exceptional.

The only other flaw of this outstanding game is the price- $70 US. Put in perspective though, this is very cheap for a game of its type. Rather than force you to buy your own expensive special controller to get the full experience, it comes with an almost arcade quality one right with it.

In conclusion, Guitar Hero is a must buy for lovers of music, the rhythm genre, or just videogame fans in general.


Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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