Review by Exodist

"Still great fun but getting a little weaker..."

If you have read my other Guitar Hero reviews you may know I am a massive fan of GH. Started playing in Summer 06, got addicted and got GHII and 80s on launch. You may also know I live in the UK, so I had to wait a while, but (at time of writing) GHIII has came out just a little over a week ago. Now I have had just over a week to spend with the game I have my thoughts and opinions, read on to find out.

Firstly, I am just going to say this review is going to be aimed more at people who know how you play Guitar Hero, what its about etc, so no proper gameplay details will be included, instead I shall add what exactly is new to the series.

Single Player is basically the same as before. You make a band and start a career, go through the tiers to the end, beat all the songs and thats it, move up to the next difficulty. This time it is slightly different however. Through career mode you will get boss battles with Tom Morello, Slash and Lou the Devil. These boss battles are basically the new multiplayer mode, Battle, in single player, forcing you to defeat these guitar players to carry on throughout your career. Let me just say now they're not very fun at all. The boss will pretty much hit every note perfectly forcing you to use the powerups to win, gathering three powerups and using them at a particularly hard part will probably take them down almost straight away. They do use the powerups back, but not to much success. The boss battles are fairly easy, although on Expert difficulty they seriously are a pain. Apart from this, career is same old, you gain star ratings for the songs, get money to buy stuff from the shop (new characters, guitars, bonus songs, finishes etc), and have fun really.

Next up I shall talk about the multiplayer features of the game. The game has kept the old multiplayer modes including Face Off (take it in turns against each other), Pro Face Off (play all the song), Co Op Mode (new features though), and a brand new mode, Battle Mode. Firstly I shall explain about the new Co Op. Basically you play Co Op just like a career, it has the tiers (with songs in different orders), no boss battles, you gain star ratings, money, and that's pretty much it. Again, Bass/Rhythm parts aren't all terribly exciting, although a few songs to have good co op parts to them. Next up is the Battle Mode. You play Battle Mode face off style, you mostly take turns to play the song against each other. However instead of star power, you gain powerups for hitting the certain sequences, which can be used on your opponent. These include difficulty up, lefty flip, broken strings, steals etc, some easy to get past but some others very nasty (looks at lefty flip). The first player whose rock meter reaches the end of red loses (you can still lose by missing notes, the idea is that the powerups make you miss more). Battle mode can be quite fun against someone with a similar skill level although I still prefer pro face off mode best. Also added to the 360, PS3 and Wii versions is the ability to play online. You can play all the modes including Quick Play Co Op online. I actually found online to be quite fun (especially Pro Face Off), without much cases of lag (one match the opponents stats showed 0 points, 0 multiplier etc due to lag though), although I did find a lot of problems trying to connect to other players games. Leaderboards are of course also included online, as is DLC which roughly costs 500MP for a pack of three songs.

The song list is probably the best of the GH series. There really is a wide range of songs in the game, a lot of old classics, and quite a few newer songs too. Whilst there are some rubbish Bonus Songs and the like, the game still has its fair share of great songs (Cliffs of Dover is a personal favourite), the set list should appeal to most players. The graphics in the game are pretty much GHII in true HD, which isn't a bad thing. Characters look superb as do the lighting effects and guitars, everything looks great (apart from the audience, they're horrible jagged people, the camera allows you to see this a few times). However this does come with a price, activating star power with loads of notes can make the game lag a little bad, this game definitely has some slight frame rate issues. However this hasn't really made me miss any notes or anything like that, so its not too much to worry about.

OK, so what don't I like about GHIII? Firstly, the new guitar controller, the Les Paul, is great. The batteries are still the original two that came with it (after over a weeks worth of excessive play), the wireless works well, the whammy bar is great as is the strummer. However, I felt the fret buttons were too stiff and hard to press down, I can't press the orange button very well at all (with my little finger), and sometimes the buttons just seem to be unresponsive sometimes. So what about the actual game? Firstly, there just aren't any new proper additions. GHII added co op, practice mode, better multiplayer and a great difficulty curve (at least I thought so). However GHIII is pretty much the same with online (a good addition but not much), new songs (a no brainer really) and some new graphics, nothing too much. To be honest the Battle Mode can be fun at times, but it really isn't that fun against the boss battles, I personally think that battle mode should of been left for multiplayer. Another thing is the difficulty. GHIII is solid. I can do Expert on GH, II and 80s. But I can't do III. The developers have seemed to go for note charts in expert that are chord and three button chord mad, and a lot more challenging. GHII was challenging but fun, GHIII isn't. My fret hand is about to fall off before I can even beat a song, way too hard in my opinion. After all that, that's pretty much all the bad points I can think of currently.

Overall GHIII is still good, but its still lacking in some areas. If you enjoyed GHII its still definitely worth checking out, and if its to be your first GH games its a must, although I would recommend II instead (due to a more higher difficulty curve). Neversoft have done a good job, although it could of been much better. Overall I give it an 8.5, only just (minimum) rounding up to a 9 score overall.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 12/03/07

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

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