Review by Commander_R
Guitar Hero: Metallica
When you mix metal, and music game programmers, you will end up with "Guitar Hero: Metallica". Alright, you could get "Guitar Hero: Iron Maiden", and that would truly be awesome, but since that game don't exist, the other mix is Metallica, which is probably one of the better second-choices for a metal-based music game.
To sum this game up in a single sentence, it features the heaviest and most complex overall collection of songs in one of the most well-refined games in the franchise up to the point of this review`s creation. It is an excellent game brought to you by Activision/ Red Octane, but should you buy it? By the end of the review, you should have your answer.
Graphics: 9/10 Featuring the new look and feel that is apparent in the "Guitar Hero: World Tour" it shares many consistencies with that game, such as the fret board`s style, as well as basic background stages/character animations. Yet it is simply amazing to look at the backgrounds and animations of the characters, which includes the members of Metallica. The lighting and the angles are some of the best yet, although, like with "Guitar Hero: World Tour", the crowds could have had some sort of change. In an AC/DC video once, I have seen people surfing in the crowd screaming their support of the rockers, so maybe that concept could have been implemented, or maybe the occasional focusing in on crowd members, wearing Metallica shirts. There were a lot of ideas that could have fit there. In terms of set design, I noticed that the lighting in particular was amazing, and utilizing album covers as themes for shows was a brilliant idea. My personal favourite is the "Master of Puppets" set. My main complaint lies in the text for this version of the game being ridiculously hard to read at times.
Audio/Set-list: 9/10 Guitar Hero Metallica has, obviously, a fair variety of Metallica songs, ranging from their "Kill `Em all" album right to their "Death Magnetic" album. Also, you have numerous bands and artists such as "slayer", "Mercyful Fate", "Kind Diamond" and numerous others. All the audio is extremely sharp and very well done. I was especially pleased to find that the live version of "Turn the Page" the developers have selected has astounding audio quality. The only point I have to make is that some of the songs don't fit well for a "Guitar Hero: Metallica", seeming strangely out of place when you reach them. Some songs just don't really fit with the game, some of the artists selected could have had heavier songs put in perhaps? Also, the 8th tier song is simply too easy when it comes after songs like "one" and harder.
Game-play: 9/10 Game-play mechanics are without a doubt the most important aspect of a game. It don't matter if the graphics are realistic or if it has online gaming enabled, if the game-play is bad, then it all means nothing. For a music/rhythm based game such as "Guitar Hero: Metallica", game-play and audio are the top priorities. The audio got a passing grade, so now its down to how well the game plays. Well, the game stays true to the mechanics of previous instalments in the series, which is good. Response times are good, it is fairly straight-forward what you have to do and how to do it. If you enjoy it depends really on how much you likes playing the songs put before you. Fortunately, this is one of the most flexible career modes I have played in any of the games. You can completely by-pass songs you don't want to play which is what I did the first time around. Of course, early on there isn't as much choice in the matter, but once you can access the third tier (The first three tiers are much shorter then the next few) you have almost total freedom.
You can play the guitar/bass, drums or vocals, assuming you have the instruments, for this game. The guitar/bass works exactly how it did in all other games, except for the bass having the open notes (I forget when this was introduced). The drums with the 5 colors, and bass pedals is brilliant, extremely fun for people who wants to play like a drummer but lacks the room/time to learn drums. The vocals I am not a real fan of, being a terrible vocalist and not liking the guitar hero style for vocals anyways, but they works well.
Band mode is pretty much the same as the Guitar Hero: World tour, it is extremely well done. You can have odd combinations playing through each song in either quick-play or career mode.
Difficulty: 10/10 Perfection for video game difficulty settings can be extremely fiddly as it depends heavily on balancing and how it is implemented into the game. How well is it done in "Guitar Hero: Metallica" though? Well, firstly it is one of the hardest guitar hero games in the entire franchise. The only one I found harder was "Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock", and that was the final tier. While Through the Fire and the Flames remains the undisputed most challenging legitimate song, this game still boasts some truly tough songs, and even the easier songs can make lower-grade guitar hero players balk at their own incompetence to beat it. The drums are also extremely difficult, for on expert+ without a double bass pedal, it is nearly impossible to beat. While I was falling asleep during the drumming in "Guitar Hero: World Tour", I was almost always on the edge in this game for some songs. For vocals, it really depends on your singing ability, and how well you know the words to the song. As an atrociously terrible singer, I can't comment how hard the vocals can truly get.
Of course the designers didn't forget the average, casual player either. This game also features the "Beginner" difficulty where the system lets you hit any color, providing its hit at the right time. Despite the high difficulty standards of this game, most players should be able to find a stage where they are comfortable playing at.
Customization: 8/10 Exact same as the "Guitar Hero: World Tour" in many ways. The main differences are the rockers you can unlock, such as the members of Metallica. I am seriously annoyed you cant have the other bassists of Metallica as characters, but with persistence, it is technically possible to make them to a degree. My major complaint is exactly the same as my complaint with the "World Tour" customization. The details taken are nice, but so much is customizable that it is almost ridiculously unnecessary.
Replay Value: 9/10 Depending on how much you like the songs, music games can either have the world`s greatest replay value, or be one time plays then toss in the back of your closet to be forgotten about quality gaming. This game, between the four instruments, and the relatively high difficulty, should leave you with lots to do. Even if all you own is the guitar controller, it takes a lot to be truly bored. This is especially true when you consider the 30 "rock ranks" that has been implemented into the game as an added challenge.
Conclusion: An amazing game in many ways, but should you buy it? If you like metal, and your looking for a challenge in your guitar hero games, then yes, get it. If you aren't a fan of guitar hero games in general, but loves metal, might be worth a rental. If you don't like Metallica much, don't bother.
Now to quote Metallica, if you want this game then "Come crawling faster, obey your master, your life burns faster, obey your master: Master." for this game when desired will hook you like a true master of puppets into its sheer awesomeness.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Product Release: Guitar Hero: Metallica (US, 04/14/09)
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