Guitar Hero 3: Legends of Rock


The Guitar Hero series has become a global phenomenon, and it’s not difficult to see why – It’s an incomparable gaming experience. Just in case you are unaware of what the GH series entails, players are equipped with a plastic guitar controller, complete with 5 coloured buttons designated to frets, a whammy bar and a strum bar for…well…strumming. The gamer has to “play along” to both modern and classic rock tunes using the guitar, synchronising strumming with pressing the correct coloured buttons as they are scrolled towards you on screen.

Anyone who has never even picked up a guitar can feel like a rock star in a matter of seconds; it’s such a simple concept and gets you right into the thick of rocking out. You feel like you are really playing the songs that are blaring out of your TV, despite the fact that you are just chugging it onto a piece of plastic. It’s not just for newbies either; anyone with any guitaring experience can rock along too, albeit to modes of higher difficulty, some of which border on the insane.

And so, we are brought to Guitar Hero 3: Legends of Rock, the first GH game produced by Neversoft studios. Can they keep the rock n’ roll phenomenon as interesting and all-out fun as Harmonix studios managed to? Neversoft played it safe with this one and changed very little about the successful GH formula. The colours still scroll down the screen at you as in previous games, and you still have to “play along” using your strum bar and all of the coloured frets. Star power is still activated by tilting your guitar up, so nothing new here at all. The main bulk of the game is exactly the same too. You play in a band playing cover versions in your friend’s garage, and the more songs you play, the more successful you get and the more songs you open up, until the point where you are playing in hell against Satan for some reason.

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This would be absolutely fine, if the majority of the songs that you have to play to get through weren’t thoroughly lame. This isn’t a matter of musical opinion, this is a matter of the songs being picked for the game not being nearly as interesting as GH’s 1 and 2. Songs I’d never even heard of in 1 and 2 had me rocking all over the shop because they were well picked and well translated to the little plastic axe of wonder. The majority of songs in GH3 however, do not seem to be nearly as fun; I found many of the songs to be far too repetitive. For example, songs like The Killer’s “When you were Young” is incredibly boring to play on GH3. This is not because the song is bad, it’s because it simply is not interesting enough to play. It’s an endless stream of chords that never changes and is more of a chore than anything.

It’s not the only one, either; even songs by the mighty Weezer feel watered down in this form. The songs are poorly translated as well – I found in some cases that I was playing down a scale when the notes in the song were going up. Now, GH isn’t supposed to be 100% realistic, but this just feels…well…wrong. The one player mode is broken up with “boss battles” against Tom Morello of Rage against the Machine fame, and everyone’s favourite Guitar Hero, Slash. While these boss battles change the pace of the one player mode a fair bit, they seem to have been really rushed and out of place.

You will play one-on-one with your aforementioned legend, but instead of just having a rock-off and trying to get a higher score or something to that effect, you have to make your opponent mess up by using power ups you get from hitting 100% of notes in a certain section. It’s really silly and does not sit right in the GH universe. Thankfully, there are only three of these sections and none of them are very long.

The multiplayer is as good as ever, and of course, you are not restricted to the songs from the one player mode. You can play any of the songs you have unlocked or bought from the GH shop using money you have earned (another feature of the single player mode). The bonus songs you can buy, I found to be much more enjoyable and was confused as to why they were not in the main game. Either way, Multiplayer is a blast and is definitely worth getting into.

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One notable thing about the game is the inclusion of the song “Through the Fire and Flames” by Dragonforce. It’s an intense nine-minute epic of speed metal that will really test your GH skill. It’s incredibly fun to play, and really sorts the men from the boys in terms of skill. It’s become so popular with the Guitar Hero-ing public that Guinness World Records have actually issued a certificate to the individual with the highest score for the song. The number of people who have tried to break this record is astounding. It’s tough to crack, even on the easy settings and was a very clever inclusion to the game; it’s a shame that there aren’t more like it.

And that’s all there is to it really. The game is much the same as it is in previous years, albeit with a rather poor track selection and some strange gameplay choices in the one player mode. While it might not be the best in the series, it’s still good fun and even better if you’ve got a mate to rock out against. If you’ve never played Guitar Hero before, then it’s something you really need to get into. GH3 is available on all formats and can now be bought quite cheap. If you’re buying on the Wii though, you will be limited to the tracks that you can download to the internal system memory. 360 and PS3 owners seem to get the cream of the crop when it comes to DLC.

Hi-Score – Rocking out is as fun as ever, multiplayer is good, inclusion of Dragonforce is excellent.

Lo-Score – Very few “fun” songs, poor translation on some, boss battles pretty lame, little DLC for Wii
owners.

Final Score – 7 out of 10

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