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October 4 2009
Guitar Hero 5 - PS3 Review
Release Distributor Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
15/9/2009ActivisionRed OctaneNeversoft1-42-8
Media HDD Space Resolution Sound Format Tilt Controls OFLC Rating
Disc55MB720pDD5.1NoPG

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Visuals in Guitar Hero 5 impress.
Following the successful launch of Guitar Hero: World Tour in November 2008 it was always going to be tough for developers Neversoft to push the boundaries of this franchise further, and add enough new features to keep the series fresh, and gamers back for another helping. After ploughing thought this game we can safely say that Guitar Hero 5 is a major improvement over last years title. Read on to get our full impressions...

The premise and gameplay of Guitar Hero 5 is the same as previous games. Yet again gamers can use guitars, drums and microphones to create the full band experience, and of course these instruments 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 at the song, 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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GH5 visuals are in line with previous games.
The biggest change to Guitar Hero 5 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 to play this game. 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.

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Playing 4-player Guitar Hero 5.
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 from a total of 83 artists. Naturally, you can also purchase any of the downloadable content through the Playstation Store, or even import songs downloaded for Guitar Hero: World Tour from the Playstation Store. The selection is pretty broad (but still not as solid as Rock Band's) so gamers should find a few tracks to keep you playing well after the ones on this disc. 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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Various artists appear in Guitar Hero 5!
We raised concerns in our preview that this wasn't looking like the most exciting tracklisting to us and indeed after playing throught he game that was indeed our most disappointing aspect of the finished game for two reasons. The first is that the developers have gone for a very wide range of songs, but have never really capture enough of one style to make this a must have for that market. Where, for instance, are the classics from a couple of deceades ago? The second disappointment is that there are a lack of "big" bands on offer. No Metallica, no Guns n' Roses, no AC/DC, no Alice Cooper, no Van Halen, no U2, no Michael Jackson, no Alice Cooper... need we go on.?

Having said that there were are a handful of tracks that we love, and loved playing in Guitar Hero 5. Wild Cherry's Play That Funky Music, Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit, Rammstein's blast-fest Du Hast, Duran Duran with their classic Hungry Like the Wolf, Bon Jovi's You Give Love a Bad Name and especially Dire Straits' Sultans of Swing come to mind. You, of course, will have your own favourites depending on your tastes.

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Note each player's individual scores.
As with previous games in the series Guitar Hero 5 fully caters for online gameplay. In what can only be seen as a technical accomplishment for online gaming this game has full support for 4 Vs 4 bands to battle it out. If you don't have that many people, no matter, as even 1 on 1 games are playable and any combination you desire. As expected online leaderboards are included so you can compare your career and progress to the millions of other gamers around the world.

Guitar Hero 5 isn't just about playing the songs though as the GH Tunes section of the game has returned, in somewhat reworked form to make it easier to create songs. GH Tunes allows you to 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).

BUNDLE OPTIONS

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...

In terms of disappointments the biggest is the limited ability to import songs from Guitar Hero: World Tour into Guitar Hero 5. Not only must you pay to "import" these songs, but only around 40 get imported into the new game. The good news though is that these songs do get an upgrade to include the new features like Band Moments, but really, having to pay to get some of the songs ported, a little disappointing. Other disappoints, well there are few including the fact that this game doesn't have all the trivia and interviews found in Guitar Hero: Metallica, but the biggest must remain the tracklist as we've detailed above.

Visually Guitar Hero 5 is certainly as good as the franchise has ever looked. Menus are slick, the characters are wonderful - those based on real people including Johnny Cash, Carlos Santana, Shirley Manson, Kurt Cobain, and Matthew Bellamy look superb - and the animation is slick. The notes are easy to see of course, but as we suspected if you're playing a 4-player band, as with the previous games, you'll probably want a fairly large screen. Cut-scenes once again use the animated style from previous game, so don't expect much depth to the storyline through these short scenes. If there is one area we would really like Neversoft to improve in future it's the crowds, they look too generic and largely have the same generic movements.

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Guitar Hero 5 is due out September 2009.
We've already discussed the tracklisting, but in terms of the actual audio this game is quite solid too. Crowd effects are pleasing, and the menus use the songs included on the disc which you can jump in and play at any point as we've mentioned.

On a technical level I absolutely love Guitar Hero 5. The interface, the game modes, the options are tremendous and certainly the best in the series. Where this game falls down for me is the tracklisting, it's too broad and contains too many "second rate" songs to me. If you like the tracklisting then this is an essential purchase, if you don't know the songs, you may want to have a think before splashing out on this one.

Review By: Dave Warner

GRAPHICSProbably the slickest looking Guitar Hero game to date.
93%
SOUNDDespite the tracklist this still sounds brilliant.
89%
GAMEPLAYBrilliant game modes, fantastic options, average playlist.
81%
VALUEThis really depends what you think of the tracklists, for us it's a bit average, paying to import sucks too.
77%
OVERALLGuitar Hero 5 really is a brilliant release only let down by the tracklist. If you like the list though, don't hesitate at all, for me I'm slightly more amped to check out Band Hero later this year.
84%

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