Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock Review

The Guitar Hero series has finally come to the PS3, and I am going to start things off by answering the first question on your mind. The answer is no, you canít run out and buy Guitar Hero II for the PS2 and play it on the PS3 with your new guitar controller. Activision comes right out and states this on their technical support forums, but to be sure I tried it out myself. Sure enough, the PS3 guitar will sit in your hands with its lights blinking in futility as the Guitar Hero II title sequence plays endlessly on your TV. Sorry. Bummer. Oh well, at least we have Guitar Hero III, right?

If youíve played a Guitar Hero game before, then youíll be familiar with the gameplay in Legends of Rock. Notes in a song are represented by colored icons that scroll towards you down the center of the screen. You must press the correspondingly colored fret button on the guitar and hit the strum bar right as the note reaches the bottom of the screen. Time it correctly and you play the note, miss it and you get a plink sound instead. Miss too many notes and the crowd will have enough with you, booing you off of the stage.

The gameís main mode is its career mode in which you play through songs grouped into tiers. Successfully clear a tier and a new one opens up, giving you access to more songs. Unfortunately the only way to unlock all of the gameís tracks is to play through the career mode, but at least Guitar Hero III adds a co-op career in which two players can work through the song list, one taking lead guitar and the other bass. Unlocked songs are available to play at any time outside of the career mode and you can try to improve your score on each track or just enjoying jamming to the songs. Multiplayer is supported for both competitive play and co-op, and there is a new mode for the series known as battle mode. In this mode players can earn power-ups to use to attack the other player. You can change the difficulty on your opponent, disable one of his or her fret buttons, or double up all of the notes, to name a few. Itís too bad that this mode has also been used to add a new feature to the gameís career modes thatís not nearly as welcome: the boss battles.

At various points in your career you will be challenged by a ďguitar greatĒ boss (whether or Tom Morello or Slash can be considered guitar heroes is another matter of debate for players). You then must beat the boss in battle mode to continue your career. Unfortunately the tracks penned by the real-life guitarists for these battles seem designed more to exercise your fingers than to make you feel like youíre belting out a monster guitar solo. This minor grip aside, the real problem with these battles is that they are essentially random and the odds are stacked against you. Beating a boss involves getting the right power-ups and deploying them back to back at the very beginning of the song. If you donít the boss will have plenty of momentum stockpiled that your attacks later in the song wonít have the power to knock him out. So either you win very quickly or you get worn down in a long song that leads to inevitable defeat. Thereís nothing like a lame boss battle to harsh the good buzz you got by clearing a song tier.


Also reviewed on:
  •  · PlayStation 2 
  •  · Xbox 360