Review by bobbing_headz
"New Songlist - But is it anything more than that?"
I first got hooked on the Guitar Hero series with the release of Guitar Hero 2 when it was released a few years ago and I've been hooked ever since. I finally grabbed myself a copy and popped it in ready to test out this very hyped new game.
If you've played GHII then you've play GHIII, the gameplay is nearly identical. All the game modes have returned with Career, both Single and Co-op, and Multiplayer both offline and new to this year online. Career is fundamentally the same as GHII: you progress through the various levels of increasingly difficult songs. New to this year are several "boss" battles where you go head-to-head with famous players like Slash or Tim Morello in the new multiplayer battle mode (more on that later). The single player game here doesn't offer much in the way of new but it is solid enough compared to the previous games.
The real bread and butter in my opinion is the multiplayer. There is co-op of course where you play a song together and then of course the head-to-head modes with the returning face-off and pro face-off modes and the new battle mode. In face-off you simply play the song against on another (pro-face off being the whole song is play by both people) but battle mode adds a new twist. Scattered through the song are "attacks" rather than star power which are thrown at the opponent in an attempt to hinder their playing. Attacks include things like switching to left-handed, upping the difficulty level and forcing the opponent to press the whammy bar or tap a fret repeatedly. This is where the game really shines as it seems GH was meant to be played with friends. The multiplayer modes are quite good and if you can't seem to get that 2nd guitar or find any friends then the online play is there. While I have had some troubles specifically with the online play on the Wii it was still a smart addition to the game and really emphasizes the multiplayer aspect of the game.
One of my bigger issues with the game is the apparent increase in the difficulty level. I wouldn't call myself an expert at this game but I'd say that I'm decent and could 5 star basically every hard song in GHII and comfortably play most of the expert songs. This year however, it seems like somebody decided to jack up the difficulty. Playing through on hard some of the songs in levels 6-8 are downright ridiculous, particularly the last level. The problem is that if you're semi-decent at the game then medium is far too easy but crank it up to hard and some of the songs get downright brutal. Personally, I don't even see that much of a difference between hard and expert, which there should be. The problem is that for the casual gamer who's not willing to continually practice then the game is just gonna get too hard at some point. Of course if you're a hardcore fan and player then this shouldn't be much of a problem.
The graphics really haven't changed much since the last release except for a few minor tweaks. The game's menus as well as overall graphics are slightly more polished. There are some minor tweaks on the in-game stuff including the notes (which takes a bit to get used to). One of my major gripes with the game is the star power meter which has been moved over to the side and is really a pain to figure out. I find that I sometimes still mistake I have star power when I don't. Still, not a big problem. Really though, in a game like this, Graphics aren't really a primary concern for me and they are good enough here not to detract anything from the game.
One of the biggest parts of the game is probably soundtrack. I realize this game has been getting lots of hype about the soundtrack. The result though isn't exactly superb, it has its goods and bads. One pro about the game is that a lot more master tracks have been included in the game. I know I was slightly disappointed in GHII when I found out that almost all the songs were covers. The other aspect which could be either a pro or a con is that the soundtrack seems more varied in terms of music genres. You got your classic rock (Aerosmith, the Stones, Cream), metal, both old and new (Maiden, Metallica, Dragonforce) some Grunge (Pearl Jam), Punk (AFI, Sex Pistols) and even some blues rock (Stevie Ray Vaughan and ZZ Top). I'm not gonna list every band (just look it up) but my point is that the songs are pretty varied and there should be something for almost everybody.
But of course there has to be some cons. The biggest problem I have with this game is that the songs just don't seem that "fun" to play. I remember back in GHII there were definitely some very fun songs to play and "rock out" to. Here, not so much. Maybe it's just bad note charts or even bad song selection. Maybe the game is trying to appeal to too many people with track list and ended up just thinning out the song quality. Of course there's probably people who disagree with me here as this really boils down to my personal taste.
This is where my biggest complaint comes in. The problem with this game is that it's too short, period. I literally beat the game in one sitting. Now here's the thing, I played GHII and had been playing it for a while. When I picked up this game I was already good and could breeze through it. Of course I could spend hours perfecting my skill and trying to five-star every song on expert but for me, that would just be nearly impossible, a waste of time and boring. Gone is the great fun I had starting out as a beginner in GHII and slowly working my way up the difficulty levels. If you've already got one of the other GHs then chances are you're decent enough that this game is really only a new track list. I guess multiplayer and the online play give this game potentially unlimited lasting appeal but it just doesn't have the same "magic" that it had when I was first introduced to the series. If you're already familiar and pretty good at the game than unless you're really a diehard fan, you're probably not gonna find enough here to keep up your interests.
With a series as successful as GH, I guess it was decided to just keep putting out a similar product cause people like it so much. The problem is exactly that, there's nothing new here. The game itself is solid overall with the multiplayer additions being a good things. Still, if you already own GHII then it's probably not worth dishing out 50 or 60 bucks to pick up some new songs. Of course if you've never played the game before than you can ignore everything I said about replayability and I recommend you go buy the game right now. Otherwise I'd think twice about buying it unless you're a true diehard.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Originally Posted: 01/03/08
Game Release: Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock (w/Guitar) (US, 10/28/07)
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