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"[Xbox 360] Guitar Hero III"

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This thread has been linked to the game 'Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock'.
Tue 15/01/08 at 16:19
Regular
"previously phuzzy."
Posts: 3,487
Can't do that one.

*strum*

Can't do that one.

*strum*

......can't do that one.

*strum*

A day in the life of me. I only recently that I discovered the magic of Achievements. Shortly after receiving a lovely shiny Xbox360 for Christmas, then fudging my way through the opening of Blue Dragon, a little grey rectangle popped up on my screen. 'Achievement Unlocked: 5G', it said. Achievement? Unlocked? What is this madness?

So with haste I load up Guitar Hero III, oblivious the incredibly well-signposted 'Achievements' option in the blades GUI. Now, I'm not particularly great at Guitar Hero, still 3-starring most of the Expert songs, but I figured I'm good enough to pick up a few of these point-bearing cred-enhancing gems.

Well, it would appear not.

And there, spelt out for you, is my major gripe with GHIII. It's so bloody hard.

“Well you're just crap at it”, you might say. OK then – I might not have 'Through the Fire and Flames' mastered on Expert quite yet, but that doesn't excuse the game for jumping up the difficulty five-fold come the last 2 venues on the set list. I'm a massive rhythm-action game fan, and I appreciate that as the levels go up that they get frickin' difficult – they have to. 'Insane' on Amplitude was never going to be a barrel of laughs, after all. But to make the jump between one group of songs and the next, or indeed between one difficulty level and the next, so vast makes me feel like regardless of how hard I'm trying I'm still going to get shafted.

All this said, I still absolutely love the game. I've got it hooked up using an HDMI cable to a nice telly and it looks incredible – crisp lines, warm colours and beautiful effects. The 'Shankers' Prison' in particular is a fantastic place to virtually rock-out in, with smoke bombs, flashing lights and a crowd of criminals (sounding, as I write, like an average night out in my lovely uni-town of Glasgow). Shame I've seen it so many times sans fretboard because of failed songs.

Pulling the reigns in on this, I'm perhaps I'm getting away ahead of myself here – I'm making the assumption you'll all have had at least a shot of GH before. In case you've never picked up the magical guitar controller (wireless, no less), let me give you an almighty brief intro. The basic idea is to hold down coloured fret buttons and strum in time to notes coming down the screen. Hit multiple notes to get (you guessed it) a multiplier! For the more discerning GHIII-er, you can pull off and hammer on notes. But that's tricky, check out the Tutorials for what they entail. Play the tunes well and you'll get a 5-star rating, bigger and better contracts, and cash to spend in the 'Guitar Centre' store on new outfits, songs and guitars. Play badly and the mad computer-crowd will boo, hiss, throw things and eventually force you off the stage using cattle prods and horse sedatives.

Should probably talk about those songs now, eh? Compared to previous incarnations, the count is massive. In total you've got over 70 songs to rock out to, plus an assortment of free and paid downloadable content to go for - DLC systems were made for this game. There are more recognisable artists than before and, even if the song picked from the artist's repertoire seems weaker than what would have been your ideal track, the tunes are as fun as ever to play. The bonus tracks also seem to have been improved, and whilst I'm sorely disappointed that I'll have to wait until Rock Band to get my Freezepop kicks, the inclusion of a mad geek-rock track (Dragonforce's 'blah Flames' effort) and some crowd-pleasers (e.g. Kaiser Chiefs' 'Ruby') makes them seem just as important as the main setlist. Current downloadable stuff includes the Halo Theme (awesome), a take on We Three Kings, and some Foo Fighter gash. Whilst the difficulty has been ratcheted up some (see above), there is still nothing more satisfying than beasting some insane track's solo – even if you subsequently fail to hit the following basic chords.

There are some new touches in GHIII as well. There are boss battles, which are a bit rubbish to be honest, that involve you and some guitarist celebrity (Slash, Tom Morello etc) 'battling' against each other using 'weapons' (broken buttons, double notes, +1 difficulty level). They look cool, but they can be manipulated so that even if the boss is amazing you can whip them down relatively easily. Of course this mode has been extended to Co-op as well. But let me ask you this – why waste time doing crappy battles against a friend or online, where the winner is decided by whoever gets the best power-ups, when you can just play songs with them? Activate star power together? Get massive Co-op note streaks? Who knows, but Co-op (and Co-op Career with extra artists, including Bloc Party and The Strokes) are miles more entertaining. Shame you can't yet buy the guitar on its own.

You might be aware that the original GH developer didn't make this one. A strange decision, you might say. However I think that giving the reigns over to Neversoft was probably a good idea - Harmonix, although awesome, will have had the egg of Rock Band for ages and no doubt that's where the GH series would of headed had it not been taken from them. Put GHII and III side by side and you'll see that the 3rd is much more polished, better presented and stylish. Admittedly, this has 0 effect on gameplay, but it does show that a fresh perspective on things can work out well. And whilst I'm still desperately eager for Rock Band (drums.... DRUMS!) GHIII does not deserve to be called a stopgap – it's infinitely better than that. Whether I'll play it nearly as much when RB does finally make it, however, is something different. If you've got the cash lying about for the £60 bundle, go for it. If you've already got it, get GHII – it's coming out on it's own this month. If you're one of these people who tell Guitar Hero players to learn real guitar, go and drown. I won't have ANY of that here.
Fri 25/01/08 at 16:39
Moderator
"possibly impossible"
Posts: 24,985
Good review though (I forgot to say that in the original reply).

Much as I love the game, I still don't know whether I could have justified paying full price for it. Mind you, the same could be said for some £40 games I've played recently too!
Fri 25/01/08 at 14:58
Regular
"previously phuzzy."
Posts: 3,487
What a life, I can only dream of it :D
Wed 23/01/08 at 14:04
Moderator
"possibly impossible"
Posts: 24,985
And having it on the PS3, I can ignore all the Achievements and just have fun. :D
Tue 15/01/08 at 16:19
Regular
"previously phuzzy."
Posts: 3,487
Can't do that one.

*strum*

Can't do that one.

*strum*

......can't do that one.

*strum*

A day in the life of me. I only recently that I discovered the magic of Achievements. Shortly after receiving a lovely shiny Xbox360 for Christmas, then fudging my way through the opening of Blue Dragon, a little grey rectangle popped up on my screen. 'Achievement Unlocked: 5G', it said. Achievement? Unlocked? What is this madness?

So with haste I load up Guitar Hero III, oblivious the incredibly well-signposted 'Achievements' option in the blades GUI. Now, I'm not particularly great at Guitar Hero, still 3-starring most of the Expert songs, but I figured I'm good enough to pick up a few of these point-bearing cred-enhancing gems.

Well, it would appear not.

And there, spelt out for you, is my major gripe with GHIII. It's so bloody hard.

“Well you're just crap at it”, you might say. OK then – I might not have 'Through the Fire and Flames' mastered on Expert quite yet, but that doesn't excuse the game for jumping up the difficulty five-fold come the last 2 venues on the set list. I'm a massive rhythm-action game fan, and I appreciate that as the levels go up that they get frickin' difficult – they have to. 'Insane' on Amplitude was never going to be a barrel of laughs, after all. But to make the jump between one group of songs and the next, or indeed between one difficulty level and the next, so vast makes me feel like regardless of how hard I'm trying I'm still going to get shafted.

All this said, I still absolutely love the game. I've got it hooked up using an HDMI cable to a nice telly and it looks incredible – crisp lines, warm colours and beautiful effects. The 'Shankers' Prison' in particular is a fantastic place to virtually rock-out in, with smoke bombs, flashing lights and a crowd of criminals (sounding, as I write, like an average night out in my lovely uni-town of Glasgow). Shame I've seen it so many times sans fretboard because of failed songs.

Pulling the reigns in on this, I'm perhaps I'm getting away ahead of myself here – I'm making the assumption you'll all have had at least a shot of GH before. In case you've never picked up the magical guitar controller (wireless, no less), let me give you an almighty brief intro. The basic idea is to hold down coloured fret buttons and strum in time to notes coming down the screen. Hit multiple notes to get (you guessed it) a multiplier! For the more discerning GHIII-er, you can pull off and hammer on notes. But that's tricky, check out the Tutorials for what they entail. Play the tunes well and you'll get a 5-star rating, bigger and better contracts, and cash to spend in the 'Guitar Centre' store on new outfits, songs and guitars. Play badly and the mad computer-crowd will boo, hiss, throw things and eventually force you off the stage using cattle prods and horse sedatives.

Should probably talk about those songs now, eh? Compared to previous incarnations, the count is massive. In total you've got over 70 songs to rock out to, plus an assortment of free and paid downloadable content to go for - DLC systems were made for this game. There are more recognisable artists than before and, even if the song picked from the artist's repertoire seems weaker than what would have been your ideal track, the tunes are as fun as ever to play. The bonus tracks also seem to have been improved, and whilst I'm sorely disappointed that I'll have to wait until Rock Band to get my Freezepop kicks, the inclusion of a mad geek-rock track (Dragonforce's 'blah Flames' effort) and some crowd-pleasers (e.g. Kaiser Chiefs' 'Ruby') makes them seem just as important as the main setlist. Current downloadable stuff includes the Halo Theme (awesome), a take on We Three Kings, and some Foo Fighter gash. Whilst the difficulty has been ratcheted up some (see above), there is still nothing more satisfying than beasting some insane track's solo – even if you subsequently fail to hit the following basic chords.

There are some new touches in GHIII as well. There are boss battles, which are a bit rubbish to be honest, that involve you and some guitarist celebrity (Slash, Tom Morello etc) 'battling' against each other using 'weapons' (broken buttons, double notes, +1 difficulty level). They look cool, but they can be manipulated so that even if the boss is amazing you can whip them down relatively easily. Of course this mode has been extended to Co-op as well. But let me ask you this – why waste time doing crappy battles against a friend or online, where the winner is decided by whoever gets the best power-ups, when you can just play songs with them? Activate star power together? Get massive Co-op note streaks? Who knows, but Co-op (and Co-op Career with extra artists, including Bloc Party and The Strokes) are miles more entertaining. Shame you can't yet buy the guitar on its own.

You might be aware that the original GH developer didn't make this one. A strange decision, you might say. However I think that giving the reigns over to Neversoft was probably a good idea - Harmonix, although awesome, will have had the egg of Rock Band for ages and no doubt that's where the GH series would of headed had it not been taken from them. Put GHII and III side by side and you'll see that the 3rd is much more polished, better presented and stylish. Admittedly, this has 0 effect on gameplay, but it does show that a fresh perspective on things can work out well. And whilst I'm still desperately eager for Rock Band (drums.... DRUMS!) GHIII does not deserve to be called a stopgap – it's infinitely better than that. Whether I'll play it nearly as much when RB does finally make it, however, is something different. If you've got the cash lying about for the £60 bundle, go for it. If you've already got it, get GHII – it's coming out on it's own this month. If you're one of these people who tell Guitar Hero players to learn real guitar, go and drown. I won't have ANY of that here.

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