Review by MageofBlood391

"You're Gonna be Rocked Like a Hurricane"

Face it, you want to be a rock star. Everybody does. If you haven't spent at least a few minutes of your life jammin' on the air guitar with Free Bird blaring in the background, then this is not the game for you. But if you have, then you can finally see your dreams come to life – all on the small screen.

Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock is the third installment in the critically acclaimed and fan-loved Guitar Hero series. Once you're all done naming your band, picking your character, and choosing your axe, you take on the roll of the guitarist (or bassist, in Co-op mode) in your band. You start out small, with little funds and no contract. You'll soon work your way up to the big time. You'll be a legend of rock. And with over seventy songs at your choosing - everything from Foghat's “Slow Ride” to Metallica's “One” to Scorpion's “Rock You Like a Hurricane” – you will be spending a good deal of time shredding.

Oh, speaking of music, there is a little trouble with the sound on the Wii version. It seems that management screwed up a bit when making the Wii game, and accidentally took out the Stereo sound, so we're stuck with Mono. In all honesty, it's not an absolutely huge deal, but it's annoying nonetheless. Though, unless you have some ridiculous, five thousand dollar sound system (in which case you'd probably be considering buying this on your fancy, new Play Station 3), you probably won't even notice the difference. Just know that it's there. Of course, you'll more than likely be so engaged in playing the song; you won't even remember that you're confined to Mono.

Then again, it's really rather boring at the start. You'll be playing simple songs, “Slow Ride,” “Rock and Roll All Nite,” “Talk Dirty to Me,” among others. Not exactly the most challenging melodies to ever be called Rock, but still fun nonetheless… Except for in Easy mode. It's absolutely tedious, to put it politely. You'll be playing one note every second and a half if you're lucky, and it only utilizes three of the five fret buttons. Definitely start out on Medium mode if you're a beginner, it's a thousand times more entertaining (it'll help strengthen your pinky fingers too, which makes harder difficulties all the more easier). I don't know what exactly happened in production this time around, maybe it's the fact that Legends of Rock was mainly produced by a different company, but Easy mode just seems like flat-out torture this time around.

On the brighter side, Guitar Hero III is (generally speaking, there are always exceptions) more difficult on the higher difficulties than ever in the previous two games. You'll find need for using those useful hammer-ons, wanting to break your whammy bar if it might give you some more star power, and you might even learn a new technique or two along the way. I still find myself cussing at my TV screen every time I see those bright red, capital letters that spell out the bane of guitar heroes everywhere – “SONG FAILED.” Though it's not very often that a player will see that once they've gotten better, some songs are damn-near impossible to play regardless of your skill level - if you've already read about or found out about this game, you're probably able to tell what song I'm talking about. If you haven't done your research, it's called “Through the Fire and Flames”, and it's by a band called “Dragonforce”.

The Wii Les Paul Controller (commonly called the “Wiitar” by fans) is really quite sharp looking. You're probably able to figure out that it's based on Gibson's most-famous guitar, the Les Paul. It comes standard with a white face plate (unique to the Wii version, the other games get black face plates) and a detachable neck for easy storage and traveling. The strum bar is a little loose compared to the 360, PS3, and PS2 versions, but that's not exactly a bad thing. It's also made up for in the fact that the Wiitar is powered by the Wiimote (which just plugs into the guitar the same way that a Nunchuck plugs into the Wiimote), so the guitar itself never needs replacement batteries. That saves on money in the long scheme of things, but you do have to buy the Wiimote in the first place. Also on the topic of saving money, the Wii version of Guitar Hero III costs ten dollars less than its competition, because of the Wiimote already having wireless capabilities, so they don't have to be programmed into the guitar. Yay for cheaper!

It almost goes without saying that a current generation Guitar Hero game would be online, but I suppose it's worth pointing out anyway. You're finally free to crank up the volume and rock out with your friends via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. Now, for all of you who find yourselves groaning when seeing that and thinking about Friend Codes, there is light in the darkness. The player is fully free to choose between Friend Codes and random matches, though, admittedly, there is no ranking system. Still, can't complain when you're shredding the crap out of your friend online.

Of course, competitive matches to see who can get the highest score aren't exactly all that there is to do with a friend, Legends of Rock opened up a whole new world of fun to the guitarist. Battle Mode. Yeah, you heard me right. Battle Mode. In a guitar game. Never would have seen that coming, would you? For the first time ever, two players can compete not to see who rocks the hardest, but to see who can last the longest without failing. If you're first reaction to that was wondering what happens when two gods at this game play, and neither would fail, then you don't need to worry. That's all been worked out. Replacing Star Power, which is normally used to win the crowd back over when you're failing, is Battle Power, which gives you certain bonuses that you can use to make your opponent screw up. Successfully hitting a series of notes with Battle Power in them will net you one of those bonus – everything from breaking one of their strings temporarily to increasing the difficulty that they're playing on. It's an interesting game mode, to say the least. And, of course, this mode is online. The one problem with online Battle Mode is that way too many people play on Medium so that their opponents bonuses don't do much to hurt them.

Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock is one of the small number of great Wii titles that are currently out. If you own a Wii, it's definitely worth picking this up, despite the hefty ninety-dollar price. Even if you don't have a Wii, and you're just checking out the reviews, I'd recommend picking this up on another console – it's available on all of the current generation ones, plus the PS2.Along with Super Mario Galaxy, Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, and a select couple of others, Guitar Hero III is a must-have Wii game. Don't even bother renting it, there's too much fun to be gotten out of it for a long time to come. And to those about to rock, I salute you. Rock on, young legend-in-training. Rock on.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 11/27/07

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

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