Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock Review

The newly in-charge Neversoft made a two main additions to the core gameplay – one works and one doesn’t. The positive change is that Hammer-On and Pull-Off notes are far easier to get a handle on. In case you don’t know, Hammer-On’s and Pull-Off notes are ones that can be played without actually strumming. In previous games, these notes were almost useless – they were tough to pick out from other notes at higher speeds (they lacked a small black ring… that’s it) and their too-precise nature made it easier to just strum, even when it wasn’t necessary. They feel more fluid and natural in Neversoft’s hands, and they actually add to the overall fun. The previously mentioned “My Name is Jonas” makes the best use of this improvement, with the unforgettable acoustic opening being played with only tree or four strums, but accounting for nearly 20 notes total.

Neversoft did make one huge blunder with this game – the boss battles. I still haven’t forgiven the company for the addition of free-roam in Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3 (I disavow knowledge of every THPS game except 1 and 2) and the addition of bosses to the Guitar Hero formula is at least 1,000 times more irritating, pointless and painful than seeing Tony Hawk 2 morph into the played-out disaster of THPS 3.

Boss battles happen at a few different points in the game. Two fret boards appear on screen and you and your challenger must “out-play” one another. Even that sounds stupid and I haven’t made it to the worst part yet. By hitting certain notes, you’ll gain items that have the sole purpose of screwing up your competitor, sort of like Mario Kart on guitar. These battles are extremely frustrating (especially the last one) and you’ll not only need to play all the notes, but manage your “weapons” as well. The whole system is based on luck, feels extremely cheesy and severely hurts the overall game. You’ll probably have to play these battles a couple of times to win, and you’ll have to – career mode screeches to a halt until you take down the particular boss standing in your way. As if to add insult to injury, Neversoft chose two of America’s most overrated and talentless guitarists to battle with. I won’t ruin it for you, but play “Welcome to the Jungle” or “Bulls on Parade.” Then play “Through the Fire and Flames.” Which of the songs seem to require more musical talent? Not the one’s attributed to these so-called “Legends of Rock,” that’s for sure.

Aside from the “who the hell thought this was a good idea” boss battles, Guitar Hero III is a must-buy for vets and newbies alike. You’ll be hard pressed to find another game that is this much fun. Sure, the bigger games like Halo 3 and Mario Galaxy are great too, but nothing comes close to the actual fun contained in Guitar Hero III. Believe me, you need this game. A word of warning though – it seems as though some of the major “big box” stores are selling Guitar Hero III packaged with the older X-Plorer wired controller. Either avoid Wal-Mart and Target (the stores at fault) altogether or be double sure to check the box before leaving the building. I can’t describe how furious I was when I got home and opened the box to find the wired controller that I already had. Someone call the Better Business Bureau! Either way, Guitar Hero III is about as good as it gets, although I’m keeping fingers crossed that the downloadable songs (coming soon) don’t come from American pseudo-metal bands or bands that were big before I was born (1981). I guess I’ll just be happy that Wolfmother is gone, Dragonforce has crashed the party and Coldplay is still nowhere to be found.

In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 97%.


Also reviewed on:
  •  · PlayStation 2 
  •  · PlayStation 3 

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