Review by Pandemonium1234

Reviewed: 10/29/07

Three Times a Charm?

The Guitar Hero series is well-known for not only its insane fun, but for its rhapsody of rock and metal. I know I played Guitar Hero for rock classics like Smoke on the Water, Crossroads, Carry On Wayward Son and Free Bird and metal anthems like Symphony of Destruction, Bark at the Moon, War Pigs and Hangar 18. While Guitar Hero 80's fell short of its predecessors, it still quenched my thirst of rock and metal with hits like Metal Health, No One Like You, Holy Diver and Electric Eye.

Today, as I walked into Gamestop to pick up my reserved copy of this game, I saw at least half a dozen other people in line to also buy what is one of the most hyped games of the year. As I opened the case and popped the game in my PS2, I started to wonder if this game would live up to the hype,. Let's take a look and see.

Graphics - 7/10
Granted, graphics are not a crucial component of a rhythm game. If you can see the note chart, it should be all set. The note chart itself remains unchanged. The star power meter and multiplier box both look much fancier. The venues also look cooler than those in GH2. The one part that lacks, and I mean REALLY lacks, is the characters. The singer looks absolutely horrible, the drummer drums like a robot, and the bassist still looks like a hobo. While it is just one part, it can be very distracting when trying to play.

Gameplay - 10/10
The gameplay remains unchanged as it should be. The Guitar Hero gameplay was and still is absolutely perfect. For those who are new to the Guitar Hero craze, you use your guitar controller to hit notes on a note chart. It sounds basic, but it can get tough, especially on Hard and Expert.

You have four difficulties, Easy, Medium, Hard and Expert. Easy is the difficulty a child can play on. It only uses only three buttons, seldom uses chords and has a simple note chart. Medium is just like Easy, but kicks it up a small notch. It uses four buttons, so you have to make your pinky stronger, uses more chords and has a slightly faster note chart. Hard is where things really start to pick up. You use all five buttons so you need to learn how to shift your hand, three-button chords are introduced, the note charts are much faster and the solos are harder. Expert is just like Hard, but on steroids. Three-button chords are as common as drunks at Ozzfest and the solos are twice as fast and have twice as many notes.

The only new thing Guitar Hero III introduces is boss battles and Battle Mode, where instead of star power you get power-ups that are made to mess up your opponent. Power-ups range from a lefty flip to a one-level increase in difficulty to getting a broken string. It adds more variety to the multi-player and makes the final encore in the game nearly impossible.

In overall, the gameplay in Guitar Hero III is, like in all of the other Guitar Hero games, perfect.

Control - 10/10
Guitar Hero III's control is the exact same as in all of the other Guitar Hero games. You could play using a normal Dual Shock controller, but the real fun is when you use a guitar controller. The guitar controller has five fret buttons: green, red, yellow, blue and orange, a strum bar and a whammy bar. To play a note, you strum on the strum bar while pressing the right fret button at the same time. You can strum the strum bar up or down, and you can strum up and down to get through a fast set of notes without getting carpal tunnel. The whammy bar lets you get extra star power. The only downside to the guitar controller is the cost. It is $60 by itself, and $90 when bundled with the game.

Soundtrack - 6/10
This is the biggest letdown I had with Guitar Hero III. You could tell that Harmonix picked songs based on how good the guitar pieces were when picking songs for Guitar Hero and Guitar Hero II. But for Guitar Hero III, it seems like Neversoft, the new developer for the Guitar Hero franchise, picked songs based on popularity. I am pleased to see so many great metal songs like Raining Blood, One and Number of the Beast, but I am disappointed to see so few classic rock songs, and none as epic as Free Bird. The guitar is always associated with classic rock, so it really disappoints me to see so little of it. But if you like mainstream bands like Slipknot, Disturbed, Weazer, Pearl Jam and more, you will be in heaven. But if you are like me, you will be left wanting more.

Replay Value - 10/10
I bought Guitar Hero II almost a year ago and I still play it to this day. The Guitar Hero franchise is known for the replay value. Even after you first beat the game on Easy or Medium, it is an entirely different game on Expert. You will see yourself trying forever to try and five-star all of the Expert songs, especially songs like One, The Devil Went Down to Georgia and Through the Fire and Flames. And even if you someone five-starred every song, you will still want to come back to it to play your favorite songs. Since I still go back to all of the Guitar Hero games, I am positive you will too. Rock will never die!

Overall - 8.6/10, rounded to 9/10
In overall, this game is definitely a game to buy. While I do not like the overload of mainstream music and the lack of rock anthems, this game definitely stands up to the Guitar Hero name. Like every other Guitar Hero game, the gameplay and control are perfect. Guitar Hero III definitely lives up to the hype, and is simply just a fun, addicting game.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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

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