Review by OrpheusUK

"Guitar Hero 3 - PS3 Review"

Guitar Hero 3: Legends of Rock, despite its misleading title is the fourth game in the Guitar Hero series. The previous three games were all released on the PS2 and were developed by Harmonix Music Systems. Guitar Hero 3, however, has been developed by Neversoft instead and has been released across an impressive array of platforms; PS3, PS2, Wii, Xbox, PC and Mac. Having played the previous Guitar Hero games on PS2 I can assure you that there has been little changed about the game despite the change in developers. There is, however, plenty of debate as to which platform version of Guitar Hero 3 is the best. I only have the PS3 version, sorry, so for me the debate ends here.

I assume most people will have played a Guitar Hero game of some sort by now, but for the uninitiated this is how it works. The game comes boxed with a wireless plastic guitar which you connect to you PS3 by means of a USB dongle. The guitar has five coloured buttons on its neck and a sixth button on its body. To play a note you simply hold one or more of the coloured neck buttons and strum the body button. Match this with the sequence of coloured note blobs scrolling down the screen and, hey, you have yourself a tune.

Hit enough notes and your Rock Meter will move up into green meaning that you are safe and playing well. Miss too many and it will drop to red, the crowd will begin to sound unimpressed and eventually you will fail the song. To help you on way to success the game builds up a score multiplier if you manage to string a long enough sequence of notes together. On top of this if you clear a sequence of star shaped notes then you get a boost to your Star Power Meter. When this starts to flash simply tilt your guitar á la Status Quo and your score multiplier will temporarily double.

Sounds easy enough but believe me it is not. The game has four difficulty modes which range from Easy to Expert. Easy is easy but the subsequent leap between each difficulty level after that can initially seem harsh. Aside from this, single player mode is pretty straight forward. You start off with a choice of four tunes to play; beat three and you unlock an encore. Beat this and the next four tunes are opened up for you to play. There are eight sets of tunes altogether and these are listed at the end of this review. Five of these sets are completed by way of an encore alone but three require you to win a boss battle before the encore is unlocked. The boss battles are against the computer and play exactly the same as two player battle mode which I will get to in a moment.

In addition to single player mode you can also play two player co-op as per the previous Guitar Hero titles. One player plays the lead guitar and the other the rhythm or bass depending upon the song. If you have a second guitar then lucky you, if not and if you are mad then you can use a Sixaxis instead. If you are not satisfied with playing nicely together, however, then you can be a little more competitive with Face-Off or Battle Modes. In Face-Off you both play the same notes at the same time much like in single player but in battle mode Star Power is replaced by nasty power ups which you can throw at your opponent to break their strings or increase their difficulty level temporarily. If you are really having trouble finding that second guitar then each of these modes can also be played on line, which is nice.

I think that pretty much explains how it is all put together so now to find out if it actually works. First off the graphics are pretty unimpressive but that said this is a rhythm game and if you have time to look at the back drop then you need to up the difficulty a notch. The sound is great and the choice of tunes included is, in my opinion the best of any of the Guitar Heroes so far, a number of the tracks are also master recordings instead of covers. The game-play has not changed from previous versions so if you liked those you are not going to be disappointed and, despite the complaints about poor connectivity, I have so far found that the PS3 guitar performs very nicely.

The addition of Battle mode is of little interest to me as why would I want to hear a great tune played badly? The online option, however, is a pretty handy extra. I have to admit I haven't explored it much but from what I have seen it seems pretty straight forward to find a match or to set up your own. There are not a whole bunch of people playing co-op though which I hope improves with time. Overall, my hands hurt which says it all really!

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 04/08/08

Game Release: Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock (w/Guitar) (EU, 11/23/07)

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