Guitar Hero III Review

Guitar Hero truly lives up to its name in Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, the newest installment to an ever-growing franchise. Guitar Hero III comes bundled with a massive array of new rock songs, many of which are master tracks, along with a few interesting new features and design tweaks.

Many of you know that Harmonix wasn’t involved with the newest installment of Guitar Hero, switching gears and trying to develop a popular band-based rhythm game of their own, cleverly entitled Rock Band. Even with the loss, RedOctane and Neversoft have made sure that the core gameplay stayed exactly the way fans love it. There are only a few slight changes in this installment that from Guitar Hero II; the Rock Meter and Note Multiplier meter both received a makeover. The notes also look much more attractive than before, and the background also received a graphics boost worth noting. The cartoon-ish looking band players look even wilder than before, which should be a change that is a little hard to get used to for hardcore Guitar Hero II players like myself. Even so, I liked the path that they took with the career mode this time around in terms of the new little cutscenes they added.

So, you say, “But what new songs do they have?” Well, my good friend, there are plenty of superb new tracks to be mentioned, including ZZ Top’s “La Grange”, Santana’s “Black Magic Woman”, the Rolling Stones’ “Paint It Black”, Red Hot Chili Peppers “Suck my Kiss”, the Sex Pistols’ “Anarchy in the UK”, Metallica’s “One”, and much much more. A wide variety of different eras of rock are represented in Guitar Hero III, and, in my opinion, it has by far the best soundtrack of the three games. It includes the widest variety of different rock music as well, from classic rock and metal to alternative and punk rock. The song list is really where Guitar Hero III shines.

On the topic of the song list, it’s worth mentioning that Red Octane licensed more master tracks for GH3 than they did for both GH1 and GH2. Over half of the songs are master tracks, which makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside, and I hope it makes you feel that way as well. Since all of the songs aren’t master tracks, you know that they’ll come up with a way to ruin a few classic rock songs. Some of the covers are just plain terrible, particularly the singing. For example, the cover version of Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” has one of the lamest Ozzy Osbourne impersonators of all time. Overall though, it’s nothing that is going to ruin your experience with Guitar Hero III, especially since that guitar riffs sound generally the same.

Guitar Hero III is much more difficult than the previous titles. I noticed a lot more three-noted chords in the first three of four tiers of songs, obviously making the game more difficult for beginner and/or novice players. It’s not that the chords are extremely hard to hit, it just makes it harder for beginning players to recognize patterns because of the large smashed sections of notes. I personally enjoyed the increased difficulty because I felt that the Guitar Hero II’s career was much too easy to beat on expert. Some of the songs do get a little ridiculous though, and will have you shredding even faster than you had to in GH2. DragonForce’s “Through the Fire and Flames” is the new Jordan, for all of you GH2 nuts. The increased difficulty is definitely geared towards fans of the series, but I feel that it may turn off people who are just starting to get in to the Guitar Hero craze.

There are two other major new additions to Guitar Hero III, and those are online mode and the new battle mode. Let’s start with battle mode.

Battle mode is basically like pro face-off except you have the ability to throw different “weapons” at your opponents by tilting your guitar upward, as if you were to use star power. You receive different weapons after you hit a string of notes, much like you hit a string of notes to boost your Star Power meter. By using your weapon, your opponent may have to tap their whammy bar rapidly because you broke it, they may have to play double the amount of notes, or they may see notes disappear when you hit them with the “Amp Overload” weapon. Although this mode sounds exciting, it’s truly nothing more than a big waste of time when actually played out. The first person to get a weapon usually wins, and it really takes no skill other than being able to hit a few phrases that get you a given weapon. I was highly disappointed with this mode.

Battle mode has also made its way into Career mode, sadly. During three different points during your career, you will have to battle three different guitarists, including Tom Morello, Slash, and some big demon that looks like he’s from Tenacious D. Because there are eight different tiers in career mode, it seemed odd that they only had three bosses. I thought it would be nice to have one boss per tier, but hey, what do I know? Anyway, in order to beat the three bosses, you must use your weapons that go along with the new Battle Mode. This new boss feature feels incomplete at best, and I hope that RedOctane and Neversoft either revamp it completely or remove it when Guitar Hero IV comes out.

The greatest new edition to Guitar Hero III is the online mode. Never before have you been able to prove your skills against an opponent online. Now you won’t have to have a friend over if you ever feel like PWNing somebody. The matches I played online were an absolute blast, and practically lag-free. Ranked matches can be played in three different modes: pro-face off, face-off, and battle mode. You and a friend can even battle two other opponents in a co-op face-off. Nice.

Overall, Guitar Hero III is pure excellence. A killer song list and the addition of a brand new online mode can’t be beat. I’d recommend this game to any person who has ever played a video game or even heard a rock song one time in their life. You’ll be the envy of all your friends and family, so pick it up; it’s only $90-100 with a free axe depending upon which system you buy the game for. Guitar Hero III is one of the few video games that is actually exciting to watch, and it’s great to have at a party or when you have a couple of people over. I would have liked to see more depth to the boss section of career mode and also a better battle mode, but the pros definitely outweigh the cons.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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