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September 7, 2009
Guitar Hero 5 - PS3 Preview
Release Date Distributer Publisher Developer
16/9/2009ActivisionRed OctaneNeversoft
Offline Players Online players Price Anticipation
1-42-8See Below!
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Visuals in Guitar Hero 5 impress.
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GH5 visuals are in line with previous games.

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Playing 4-player Guitar Hero 5.
When it comes to music rhythm games there are two main competing franchises, EA's Rock Band which is being treated like the bastard child here in Australia, and Activision's Guitar Hero which was the original, and probably still the best. After the phenomenal success of Guitar Hero: World Tour (which introduced a drum kit and microphone for 4-player band) the question was; what next? Well Guitar Hero 5 is the answer...

The premise and gameplay of Guitar Hero 5 is the same as previous games. Yet again you can use guitars, drums and the microphones, and of course these are all compatible from the previous title. For those unaware the gameplay is pretty simple as you simply have to hit the notes in time with those sliding down the screen to the point at the bottom where you have to 'hit' the note (if you're singing you have to sing at the right pitch). The better you play, the better the song will sound and you earn star power which can then be triggered to start score multipliers - essential to obtain some mega scores. If you suck then it will be game over to the boos of the crowd and you'll be restarting the song from the beginning.

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Various artists appear in Guitar Hero 5!
The biggest change to this game from Guitar Hero: World Tour is that you are no longer limited to 2 guitars, a drum kit and a microphone. You can now use any combination - 4 drum kits, 3 guitars and microphone, 2 guitars and 2 drum kits, and so on. It will mean anyone with any interest in the franchise can now pick up a controller at any time and (again this is new) thanks to the Party Play jump into or out of a song at any time - even if several other people are powering through a song. To put the focus on bands the developers have included 'Band Moments' which show when the entire band are performing well, and should a player drop out due to a poor performance the remaining band members will have to work together to revive that player.

Another big change to this game is the inclusion of Challenges which have seen the development team at Neversoft focus on various sections of different songs which offer unique elements which may require specialised vocals, or use of the guitar's whammy bar and so on. Depending how you perform in these Challenge moments will determine if you are awarded a level - Gold, Platinum, or Diamond with the latter being the hardest to achieve. Successful completion of these challenges will unlock more content to customise your characters.

So now we come to what will be the 'selling' point for most people, the set list and the developers have loaded this disc with 85 songs by 83 separate artists. Naturally you can also purchase any of the downloadable content through the store, or even import songs downloaded for Guitar Hero: World Tour from the Playstation Store. Anyway, here's what to expect on the Guitar Hero 5 disc...

3 Doors Down - "Kryptonite"
A Perfect Circle - "Judith"
AFI - "Medicate"
Arctic Monkeys - "Brianstorm"
Attack! Attack! - "You and Me"
Band of Horses - "Cigarettes, Wedding Bands"
Beastie Boys - "Gratitude"
Beck - "Gamma Ray"
Billy Idol - "Dancing with Myself"
Billy Squier - "Lonely Is the Night"
Blink-182 - "The Rock Show"
Blur - "Song 2"
Bob Dylan - "All Along the Watchtower"
Bon Jovi - "You Give Love a Bad Name"
Brand New - "Sowing Season (Yeah)"
The Bronx - "Six Days a Week"
Bush - "Comedown"
Children of Bodom - "Done with Everything, Die for Nothing"
Coldplay - "In My Place"
Darker My Love - "Blue Day"
Darkest Hour - "Demon(s)"
David Bowie - "Fame"
Deep Purple - "Woman From Tokyo" ('99 Remix)
The Derek Trucks Band - "Younk Funk"
Dire Straits - "Sultans of Swing"
The Duke Spirit - "Send a Little Love Token"
Duran Duran - "Hungry Like the Wolf"
Eagles of Death Metal - "Wannabe in L.A."
Elliott Smith - "L.A."
Elton John - "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting"
Face to Face - "Disconnected"
Garbage - "Only Happy When It Rains"
Gorillaz - "Feel Good Inc."
Gov't Mule - "Streamline Woman"
Grand Funk Railroad - "We're an American Band"
Iggy Pop - "Lust for Life" (Live)
Iron Maiden - "2 Minutes to Midnight"
Jeff Beck - "Scatterbrain" (Live)
Jimmy Eat World - "Bleed American"
John Mellencamp - "Hurts So Good"
Johnny Cash - "Ring of Fire"
Kaiser Chiefs - "Never Miss a Beat"
The Killers - "All the Pretty Faces"
King Crimson - "21st Century Schizoid Man"
Kings of Leon - "Sex on Fire"
Kiss - "Shout It Out Loud"
Love and Rockets - "Mirror People"
Megadeth - "Sweating Bullets"
Mötley Crüe - "Looks That Kill"
Muse - "Plug in Baby"
My Morning Jacket - "One Big Holiday"
Nirvana - "Lithium" (Live)
Nirvana - "Smells Like Teen Spirit"
No Doubt - "Ex-Girlfriend"
Peter Frampton - "Do You Feel Like We Do?" (Live)
The Police - "So Lonely"
Public Enemy featuring Zakk Wylde - "Bring the Noise 20XX"
Queen and David Bowie - "Under Pressure"
Queens of the Stone Age - "Make It Wit Chu"
The Raconteurs - "Steady, As She Goes"
Rammstein - "Du Hast"
The Rolling Stones - "Sympathy for the Devil"
Rose Hill Drive - "Sneak Out"
Rush - "The Spirit of Radio" (Live)
Santana - "No One to Depend On" (Live)
Scars on Broadway - "They Say"
Screaming Trees - "Nearly Lost You"
The Smashing Pumpkins - "Bullet with Butterfly Wings"
Sonic Youth - "Incinerate"
Spacehog - "In the Meantime"
Stevie Wonder - "Superstition"
Sublime - "What I Got"
Sunny Day Real Estate - "Seven"
The Sword - "Maiden, Mother & Crone"
T.Rex - "20th Century Boy"
Thin Lizzy - "Jailbreak"
Thrice - "Deadbolt"
Tom Petty - "Runnin' Down a Dream"
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - "American Girl"
TV on the Radio - "Wolf Like Me"
Vampire Weekend - "A-Punk"
Weezer - "Why Bother?"
The White Stripes - "Blue Orchid"
Wild Cherry - "Play That Funky Music"
Wolfmother - "Back Round"

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Note each player's individual scores.
We have to be honest here and say that, to us, this isn't the most exciting of track lists. No Metallica, no Guns n' Roses, no Alice Cooper, no AC/DC. and plenty more big bands manage to disappoint. I would also love to see some more older 'classic' songs. Still I'm sure we're set ot have a blast with some songs such as Smells Like Teen Spirit, Du Hast (not that we can speak much German!), You Give Love a Bad Name and Sultans of Swing to name just a few. We're sure though that this track list will generate different thoughts from different gamers so don't take our word as gospel as to the final 'quality' (or at least not until we play it!).


There are two versions of Guitar Hero 5 available in Australia. The stand alone game sells for $AU89.95 (order here), the game and guitar bundle will sell for $AU179.95 (order here). Make your choice...

Returning yet again, and one area which musicians (or muso wannabe's) can literally spend hours or days is in the GH Tunes section of the game. Here you can download music created by thousands of Guitar Hero owners, but also create your own music and upload it to the servers for people to download and play. Again Activision have been keen to point out that cover versions of songs will not be permitted due to copyright restrictions, but that doesn't mean there isn't some quality songs up there (check out the Xmas songs among the favourites to date).

Of course this isn't just an offline game with a heavy focus also placed on the online multi-player components. As with previous games in the series the most fun is likely to be had with a 4-player band battling another 4-player band online, but it is possible to compete one-on-one with any of the instruments in the band. Of course online leader boards will be included so you can compare yourself to the rest of the world while we can expect Activision to provide a swag of downloadable songs through the Playstation Store for a few dollars each.

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Guitar Hero 5 is due out September 2009.
Visuals in this game look to be on par with previous titles in the series, but with a little more spit and polish. Even playing the game with 4-players at once sees the screen remaining pretty clean and easy to see - although you may want a big screen if you're all using drums and need to sit a way back from the TV. Characters can be customised, and the cut-scenes again use the cartoon styled visuals. The developers have (where possible) motion captured various artists for inclusion in the game including Johnny Cash, Carlos Santana, Shirley Manson, Kurt Cobain, and Matthew Bellamy. Exactly how big a role they play in the game - besides performing their own songs - remains to be seen.

Guitar Hero 5 doesn't look set to offer anything radically different to previous titles in the series, but it does look more refined and tweaked, and pumped with a few more options that are sure to keep fans happy. Expect an Australian release in the next couple of weeks following a release in America last week.