Review by Groves22

Reviewed: 09/01/09

Party Like a Rock Star!

Don’t know how to play the guitar? Have no musical talent at all? Try picking up Activision’s Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock. Here you will have a chance to rock out on some good old classic rock songs, as well as some more modern hits.

Guitar Hero III uses the same premise as the other Guitar Hero games. It’s a rhythm based game that requires you to hit notes as they come to the bottom of your screen. Each single note you hit gives you 50 points, while some notes can be held for additional points. In order to hit the notes, you use the guitar shaped controller supplied in the bundle. The neck of the controller has 5 colors buttons (frets); green, yellow, red, blue, and orange. The base of the guitar has a strummer and whammy bar. In order to get credit for hitting the note, you must hold down the fret or frets that come to the bottom of your screen, while hitting the strum bar at the precise time. If the note can be held, you can use the whammy bar to distort the sound of the note.

There are rewards and consequences with the notes as well. You have a rock meter that determines how well you are playing. If you miss a note, you rock meter will drop. If it drops too low, you will fail the song and you will have to try again. You can raise your rock meter by hitting the notes at the right time. Also, the more notes you hit with out missing a note or throwing in an extra strum, you will acquire a multiplier. You start out with a basic 1x multiplier, but for every 10 notes you hit in a row, you will increase that by one, up to 4x multiplier for each note. There are special notes, represented by stars that help you build up your star power. When you hit 2 strings of star notes, you will unlock the star power. To release this new earned power, all you have to do is raise your guitar vertically. Star power will double whatever your multiplier is at.

You have four difficulties; easy, medium, hard, and expert. Easy is very slow moving and only requires you to use the top 3 frets on the controller. Medium goes a little faster and introduces the 4th fret to be used. Hard and Expert both use all 5 frets, and go at a rapid rate. The harder the difficulty, the more notes there are, as well as, the more fret combinations there are. Easy consists mostly of single notes, medium will be mostly single notes but will have double notes, hard and expert will through in a mixture of single, double and even triple notes.

Types of Play
The first I will talk about is the career mode. Here you are the lead guitarist in a struggling band trying to make it big. Single player has 8 tiers with 5 songs in each tier. In order to unlock the next tier, you must successfully finish 3 (for easy/medium) or 4 (for hard/expert) songs and then get the choice to play a fifth encore song. Once you beat the minimum amount of songs in the tier, you unlock a bigger venue to play. In 3 of the tiers you get challenged by a boss. The boss’ include Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine), Slash (Guns N’ Roses), and Lou (the Devil). In these battles, star power turns into attacks against your opponent. Amp overload, lefty flip, and busted fret are some of the powers you can earn. The point of the battle is to make you opponent fail the song, by attacking them with the earned battle power.

Next is the Co-op career. It is pretty much the same idea as the single career mode, except now you play with a friend on the same Xbox 360. One player will be the lead guitarist, while the other will play the bass or rhythm, depending on the song. In co-op your score is combined as one, as is your note streak. That said, if you person misses a lot of notes, it can cause you to fail the song, no matter how well the other was playing. Also notable, there are fewer tiers in the co-op career. It is comprised of 6 tiers, instead of the 8 found in the single career. Also, there are no boss battles in the co-op career. The co-op career has to be played locally on the same Xbox, there is no option to play with someone else on LIVE.

Why play a career mode? Well, the money! Each song you finish you get a certain amount of cash (minus deductions taken for destroying the venue…). The more star’s your earn, the more cash you receive. Also, the harder difficulty, the higher the cash! There is also an added bonus for completing each tier, as you get sponsored from different companies. With this money you can buy guitars, outfits, characters, and guitar finishes. As you play through you career you unlock several guitars. I believe you unlock a guitar for beating each difficulty in each career mode. You also unlock the character bosses as you beat them in the career mode.

Multiplier can be fun and interesting. There are several different game types you can play against anyone from across the world. One is the Battle Mode, which is just like the boss battles in the career modes. The point is to earn battle power and make your opponent fail the song before you do. If no one is knocked out by the end of the song, a sudden death comes into play, where all of the battle powers are death drain’s which lowers your rock meter, ultimately making you fail the song. There are also the classic face-offs the gives the win to the player that gets the highest amount of points.

The Soundtrack
The soundtrack has a little mixture of everything, old and new. There are a total of 73 songs in the game. There are 42 single player songs, 6 songs exclusive to the co-op career and 25 bonus songs. There is also, right now, about 23 songs you can download form the marketplace. Some are solo tracks, while others come in a pack of 3. Here is a sample of some songs that appear on the set lists; Rock and Roll All Nite – Kiss, When You Were Young – The Killers, Paint It, Black – The Rolling Stones, My Name is Jonas – Weezer, Same Old Song and Dance – Aerosmith, One – Metallica, and so many more!! There are enough songs, game modes, and difficulties to keep you busy for a very long time.

Final Thoughts
I think Guitar Hero III is worth every penny. It is a very fun and addicting game that will keep you challenged. Whether it be trying to 5 start all songs on expert or winning 20 games in a row against other LIVE opponents. This game lives up to the other Guitar Hero games already released. I would recommend picking this up, if you enjoy, or dreamed of being a rock star!!


Rating:   4.0 - Great

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

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