Review: Guitar Hero 3
I must dash. I’m off to practise my nifty lead breaks.
Everyone knows about the fake plastic guitar mashing Guitar Hero series by now. So there’s no point with me going into the intricacies of the game play. The first 2 games of the series were made by Harmonix, the 3rd instalment is made by Neversoft, of Tony Hawk’s fame. So with a new company programming the game is the game any different?
With everything being the same there’s only the songs to talk about right? Wrong! Just like with the more recent Tony Hawk’s games Neversoft have added their little touches to the game. First off is the pointless little story. Its a very simple story told with speechless cartoons about a band who sign a record contract, go on tour, shoot music videos and find out they signed a contract with the devil and must face him to reclaim their souls.
This brings me to the second new thing about the game, boss battles. You have to face off against famous guitarists and the devil in a sort of like Ralph Macchio vs Steve Vai in the film Crossroads, except with fake plastic guitars. The premise is instead of getting star power for multipliers, you get things that act as hindrances against your opponent. So first off you go against Tom Morello from Rage Against The Machine / Audioslave. Then later Slash from Guns ‘N’ Roses / Velvet Revolver.
These battles are unfortunately a load of old cock, all you need to do is do well enough to gain 3 power ups then unleash them consecutively during the final part of the song that your opponent is playing. Though you can download the songs for nothing and practice them if you are having difficulty. The only bonus of this is you get play The Devil Went Down To Georgia. Which is why I downloaded the pack in the first place, since the 2 songs for Morello and Slash are just bits of fret wanking.
For anyone who has played any of the previous incarnations of this game will find easy mode an absolute doddle. You know its easy when you can get 5 stars on a song first time and in the case of Paint It Black not miss a note. The only song I’ve had any real difficulty with is Slayer’s Reign In Blood. Yet the jump to medium is a lot bigger, not only do you have to get used to the blue button, the speed goes up with it. My hand hasn’t hurt so much, since my early teens when I learned that there was softcore porn on the German channels on Sky.
If you have a musical bone in your body, you will love GH3 but godamn! It does not make it easy. There is no online co-op only shitty guitar battles through XBL and a too hard to activate star power mode. Playing through the career mode is as much of an emotional roller coaster as dropping acid and listening to ‘Number of the Beast’ on repeat. You unlock ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ and jam with Slash and you are thinking ‘this is amazing!’
Then you have to endure a re-recorded version of the Dead Kennedy’s ‘Holiday in Cambodia’ and you want to punch Neversoft in the balls for being so stupid as to rewrite a classic and take out words like ‘bitch’ just so you can keep that BBFC 12 rating and the legions of pre-teen fans of the series. Another sign of corporate greed that the DK would not stand for… if they had not dropped Jello Biafra and started doing reunion tours for a quick buck.
The track listing has some gems and some rerecorded stinkers and far too much Emo masquerading as Rock for my liking but once you unlock the complete list you can ignore the chaff and concentrate on nailing your favourite song be it ‘Knights of Cydonia’ or ‘Reign in Blood’.
Secondary Score: 7/10
Aesthetically, the game looks very good, even though when you’re playing you only really look at the bit of the screen that tells you what to press and when. There’s the usual selection of characters with alternate costumes and even different colour schemes for the costumes. The same goes for guitars as well, there’s a large range of guitars and different finishes for them. There’s the usual wide selection of genres of music within the game, though this game has a lot more songs by the actual artists, which is great compared to some of the slightly dodgy covers on the previous games.
Another little feature of the game is you don’t actually need a guitar to play it, you can play using a pad, which is pretty cool, since this means you can do the co-op career without needing a 2nd guitar. Yet that also kind of kills the point of the game, it goes from being fun pretending to actually play a song on the guitar to pressing buttons in time with the music. Which just turns the game into a glorified version of DDR without a mat.
This game also features on-line play which is great, except there’s no on-line career mode. You know the boss battles I said were utter wank? Yeah that’s the on-line mode against another person. Unfortunately that’s not my only gripe with this game. I don’t know whether its just me, but the vocals in the game sometimes get drowned out by everything else. This is annoying when you know what part of the song is coming up by listening to the lyrics.
I can’t comment on the new guitar controller though, since I bought the game on its own since I already own GH2. Though I have heard complaints about it not always registering button presses, this is due to the fact the neck is detachable for easier transport and the connecting terminals don’t quite fit. It also has a detachable faceplate which is cool since it makes it easier to customise your guitar.
Overall the game is fun to play apart from the annoying boss battles, luckily there’s only three of them in the game. The lack of decent on-line play is annoying since being able to complete the career mode or just play a song against someone else would have been a lot better.