Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock - PS3 Review
It was certainly one of our most wanted games this year, and with over 3 million copies of the previous title sold in America at last count we know there are a lot of you waiting for this third game as well. Indeed there were shouts of joy when a great big parcel arrived on my doorstep a couple of weeks ago containing the latest in Activision's very popular Guitar Hero series. Not only would I be reviewing the latest in one of the biggest gaming franchises of the last couple of years, but also on the PS3 no less! Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock is that game and despite the fact that there has been a shift to a new developer the game - for the most part - has remained the same. That's not a bad thing as the previous titles had some of the best gameplay we've ever encountered.
|Graphics on the PS3 version, well, rock!|
So before we review the actual game let's have a look at the swish new controller for the Playstation 3 which is based upon Gibson Guitar's Les Paul model.. As expected the game includes a wireless controller (although you do need to put a USB dongle into your PS3). The unit is quite a bit heavier then the PS2 controllers, but it makes it feel a little more solid.
In case you are unfamiliar with the game it's pretty simple really. Using the aforementioned Guitar controller (you can use a standard controller but we don't recommend it) the idea is to simply play the music. As the songs play guitar riffs fall down the screen. It's your job to hold down the corresponding fret button, and then hit the strut bar as the notes pass the bottom of the screen. It's all about timing - miss the note and you'll start sounding terrible, and your Rock Meter will drop. Should it drop too far the song will end to the boos of the crowd and you'll need to restart. Certain notes allow you to increase your Star Power (the blue bar in the screenshots). When this reaches over half way you can physically move your guitar into a vertical position (or press the select button) to double the points you earn for each note for a period of time. Overall this is tremendous gameplay which can be played by anyone from novices to experts.
|Despite a new developer the game plays the same.|
The game modes include a Career which contains 40 songs as well as three boss battles, Co-Op Career which includes 30 songs (6 of which are only found in this mode), and online multi-player (more on that soon). As well as the songs in the two career options there's another 29 songs to unlock by purchasing with cash earned in the career mode. Yet again several characters are available initially, with many more able to be purchased, along with other costumes, guitars and finishes for them on screen.
So I guess we can't talk about a Guitar Hero game and not give you the track listing can we? Well no we can't so here's a list of the songs in the Single Player Career. Remember there's more in the co-op and purchasable in the store from the likes of Red Hot Chilli Peppers, The Stone Roses, Beastie Boys and Kaiser Chiefs to name a few. It's also important to note that about half the songs are the original versions, and not covers.
"Slow Ride" – Foghat
"Talk Dirty to Me" – Poison
"Hit Me with Your Best Shot" – Pat Benatar
"Story of My Life" – Social Distortion
"Rock and Roll All Nite" – Kiss
"Mississippi Queen" – Mountain
"School's Out" – Alice Cooper
"Sunshine of Your Love" – Cream
"Barracuda" – Heart
Guitar Battle vs. Tom Morello (Original Composition)
"Bulls on Parade" – Rage Against the Machine
"When You Were Young" – The Killers
"Miss Murder" – AFI
"The Seeker" – The Who
"Lay Down" – Priestess
"Paint It, Black" – The Rolling Stones
"Paranoid" – Black Sabbath
"Anarchy in the U.K." – Sex Pistols
"Kool Thing" – Sonic Youth
"My Name Is Jonas" – Weezer
"Even Flow" – Pearl Jam
"Holiday in Cambodia" – Dead Kennedys|
"Rock You Like a Hurricane" – Scorpions
"Same Old Song and Dance" – Aerosmith
"La Grange" – ZZ Top
Guitar Battle vs. Slash (Original Composition)
"Welcome to the Jungle" – Guns N' Roses
"Black Magic Woman" – Santana
"Cherub Rock" – The Smashing Pumpkins
"Black Sunshine" – White Zombie
"The Metal" – Tenacious D
"Pride and Joy" – Stevie Ray Vaughan
"Before I Forget" – Slipknot
"Stricken" – Disturbed
"3's & 7's" – Queens of the Stone Age
"Knights of Cydonia" – Muse
"Cult of Personality" – Living Colour
"Raining Blood" - Slayer
"Cliffs of Dover" – Eric Johnson
"The Number of the Beast" – Iron Maiden
"One" – Metallica
Guitar Battle vs. Lou (The Devil Went Down to Georgia - Steve Ouimette)
"Through the Fire and Flames" – DragonForce
One of the aspects of this game we were most excited about was the online multi-player and, believe it or not, it has turned out pretty damn well indeed. After selecting the style of game you want to play (battle, co-op etc) you then enter a lobby which shows the amount of lag to each player - in a game such as this it can be critical to solid gameplay. When you get in the game there is no difference to sitting in the room with someone - it's that good.
|Character design is whacky as ever.|
One of the great things about connectivity to the Internet is that gamers won't be limited to the songs on the disc, but will also be able to download new songs and packs on a regular basis. This will start in late November or early December and with each song likely to only cost a dollar or two it could seriously improve the longevity of the game well into next year and beyond.
To be honest problems are few and far between with this game. One potential problem, and we're not honestly sure if it's our fault or that of the new wireless controller is that some of the notes, on occasion, don't seem to register with the game. Now I would put it down to my own lack of skills, however I have had two other friends mention the same thing to me. Still, it's rare. Perhaps a litte more concerning is that the music is ever so slightly out of sync with the visuals. Fortunately the developers have put a calibration tool into the game to help reduce this effect. Another of the disappointments is that there are only three boss battles in the game. They were a feature given much fanfare prior to release, and while thoroughly entertaining, we desperately wanted to see more of the included on the disc. At least there are a couple more songs to play with the bosses coming in the form of downloadable packs in future apparently.
|Going off on one of the bigger stages.|
Perhaps of more interest to gamers considering buying this game is that next year Electronic Arts will be releasing Rock Band and, while a price tag of almost $AU400 is possible, this promises to bring and even more engrossing experience to the table - and it has been developed by the previous Guitar Hero developer Harmonix. Can Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock compete against this behemoth? We think so, but time will tell.
Obviously the jump from PS2 to PS3 for our reviews has brought with it a dramatic improvement in the graphics. First of all the stages are a lot more detailed, and the crowds a bit more lively. Certainly one of the best improvements is that the lead singer in the band is now fully lip-synched to the lyrics in the songs. Not only that but the bosses in the game have been scanned in for accuracy and motion captured - Slash, for example, moves and stands exactly as he does in real life. The frame rate, as one would expect in a game such as this, is rock solid while the menus and interface are clean and easy to navigate.
Audio in Guitar Hero III is certainly quite impressive. As we have previously mentioned many of the tracks now use the original songs, rather then covers, and it certainly adds quite a bit more excitement to the game. Crowd effects are impressive, and when you activate the Star Power the noise levels increase across the board giving you a bit more of a rush. Overall this is a solid effort in terms of audio.
|Note the new blue Star Power meter.|
Obviously purchasing Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock is a bit of an expense, and the fact that you can't use your PS2 guitar controllers is very disappointing, but I defy anyone not to have as much fun with this game as any other on the market. It has a wide range of difficulty levels, plenty of songs to jam to, great online gameplay and a very polished audio visual experience.
Review By: Dave WarnerOrder your copy now from Games Warehouse.
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|GRAPHICS||Great characters and lip synching, lively venues too.||90%|
|SOUND||More original songs then before, solid crowds effects.||88%|
|GAMEPLAY||A change in developer, but the same great game. Online rocks too.||91%|
|VALUE||Dozens of songs, downloadables coming, pretty hard. Expensive.||83%|
|OVERALL||Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock isn't a cheap game, but it's one which you, and your friends will keep coming back to for more. This is another great release in a fantastic franchise and is highly recommended.||90%|