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July 2 2009
Guitar Hero: Metallica - PS3 Review
Release Distributor Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
27/5/2009ActivisionRed OctaneNeversoft1-42-4
Media HDD Space Resolution Sound Format Tilt Controls OFLC Rating

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Metallica are rocking on!
Several years ago Sony released Singstar on the PS2, and it very quickly became one of our favourite 'party' games. A couple of years later Activision release Guitar Hero which brought the same sense of fun but didn't require any use of your vocal chords. Then, in 2008, Activision brought the guitars, a microphone and a drum kit together in Guitar Hero: World Tour. We never reviewed that game, but we have it, and it's sensational. The company has moved to band-centered titles starting with Guitar Hero: Aerosmith and now Guitar Hero: Metallica.

Guitar Hero Metallica includes most of the bands most famous tracks as well as over 20 other rocking acts who inspired or have worked with the band over the years. In this game you can enter the world of Lars Ulrich, James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett and Robert Trujillo and experience the intensity and skill of one of the greatest bands of all time.

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Guitar Hero: Metallica's brilliant visual style.
In case you are unaware the gameplay is pretty simple. The game plays as follows... As the songs play the 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. If you're on the drums, hit the correct drum in time with the notes on screen, and if you're singing, well, sing at the right pitch. Of course the game can be played with the full band, but if you don't have all your friends there then you can play with one, two or three instruments in any combination as well.

The great thing about this game is that the developers have heard the masses and taken on board the many criticisms of Guitar Hero: Aerosmith and fixed them up. The biggest of these is the track listing. While the Aerosmith title had plenty of tracks it omitted several of the 'bigger' tracks which, while perhaps not so friendly for the use of guitars, should have been included. This game includes all Metallica's biggest tracks (more on them soon). Also improved is the difficulty curve which seems a lot more balanced this time, and there is a tonne more unlockable content making Guitar Hero: Metallica a more complete package.

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Characters really do look great!
Of course besides playing this game by yourself or with up to three friends you can also battle other people online and this experience is on-par with other games in the franchise. There has never been any problems here, and this game is also smooth with the usual modes including Face-Off, Pro Face-Off, eight-player "Battle of the Bands" and Battle Mode. Of course full online leaderboards are also included in the game. Another aspect of this game online is that of the GHTunes. This mode allows you to create your own music and then upload it to the Guitar Hero servers so others can download it, play it and then offer a rating. There are literally thousands of songs online, and while clones of commercial songs are removed due to copyright there are some brilliant tracks available which could keep you playing for hours. We especially loved a couple of tracks which combine several Christmas carols into rock songs. Brilliant.

In terms of disappointments there are few. We could highlight that Activision have not released this title as the full band kit so those wanting to play with the microphone and drums will need to purchase Guitar Hero: World Tour (or use EA's inferior Rock Band kit). Likewise the second bass pedal doesn't appear to be separately in Australia. This is used in the Expert+ mode where the two bass pedals are used on the drum kit. In terms of the actual game and gameplay the biggest disappointment is the inability to use tracks downloaded through the Playstation Store in this game besides Metallica's Death Magnetic album and those on GHTunes.

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It's not just Aerosmith that appear in the game.
Where this game does excel is the small touches too. After completing songs and progressing through the game several items are unlocked. These include standard items such as song lyrics and information, new cut-scenes as you progress in the career, as well as video clips of the band performing and other moment. The most impressive inclusion though is the ability to replay the song (with the in-game band rather then music video clip), but with pop-up trivia displayed during the song with all sorts of rather interesting trivia - brilliant! Of course the game includes plenty of trophies to unlock and they vary from single player experiences to full band requirements including online matches. It will take some time to achieve all these trophies that's for sure.

So onto the track listing then... Needless to say this compilation includes pretty much every single big Metallica song from their entire history with 28 tracks from Metallica, and a further 21 tracks from other bands. Unlike Guitar Hero: Aerosmith there aren't too many songs here which would make you wonder why they were excluded. In fact, we couldn't think of a single song that we wanted added to the set list.
All Nightmare Long
Creeping Death
Disposable Heroes
Dyers Eve
Enter Sandman
Fade to Black
Fight Fire with Fire
For Whom the Bell Tolls
Hit the Lights
King Nothing
Master of Puppets
The Memory Remains
Mercyful Fate (Medley)
No Leaf Clover (Live)
Nothing Else Matters
Sad but True
Seek & Destroy
The Shortest Straw
The Thing That Should Not Be
The Unforgiven
Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
Wherever I May Roam
Broken, Beat & Scarred*
My Apocalypse*

Non-Metallica Tracks
No Excuses - Alice in Chains
Turn the Page (Live) - Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band
Albatross - Corrosion of Conformity
Am I Evil? - Diamond Head
Stacked Actors - Foo Fighters
Hell Bent for Leather - Judas Priest
Demon Cleaner - Kyuss
Tuesday's Gone - Lynyrd Skynyrd
Beautiful Mourning - Machine Head
Blood and Thunder - Mastodon
Evil - Mercyful Fate
Armed and Ready - Michael Schenker Group
Ace of Spades - Motorhead
Stone Cold Crazy - Queen
Mother of Mercy - Samhain
War Ensemble - Slayer
Mommy's Little Monster (Live) - Social Distortion
War Inside My Head - Suicidal Tendencies
The Black River - Sword The Sword
Toxicity - System of a Down
The Boys Are Back in Town - Thin Lizzy

* Designates a downloadable track from the Playstation Store as a part of the Death Magnetic album.

There really are so many great tracks on this disc and while we felt that the non-Metallica songs were a little variable in quality there is no denying that some of these tracks such as Tuesday's Gone by Lynyrd Skynyrd, Stone Cold Crazy by Queen, and The Boys Are Back in Town by Thin Lizzy are still very entertaining. In terms of the Metallica tracks you can't go past Wherever I May Roam, Enter Sandman, One, Fade To Black, The Unforgiven and Battery for sheer entertainment value. Having said that, all of their songs will be familiar to fans, and even to only casual listeners of the band.

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Now that's a great concert hall.
Visually Guitar Hero: Metallica is very impressive. The game uses some wonderful cartoon styled animated characters and band members. In-game the notes run silky smooth - although there was the very occasional stutter - and the band members on stage look terrific. The motion capturing on the four Metallica members look brilliant with not only their bodies, but also their faces motion captured. The menus are similar to previous games, and also styled to fit in with other elements of the game.

In terms of audio the music is exactly as one would expect, loud and brutal. Each song is brilliantly represented in this release with great clarity. There is also some additional voice work which also impresses, although there could have been even more in the cut scenes rather then a lot of grunting.

I can't emphasise enough just how much I enjoyed playing Guitar Hero: Metallica. Visually impressive, and sonically superb this game includes the perfect balance of gameplay across all four instruments to make this the best title in the franchise. For Metallica fans this really is a no-brainer Guitar Hero Metallica is an essential purchase.

Review By: Dave Warner

GRAPHICSActivision have really nailed the visual style for Guitar Hero: Metallica.
SOUNDCrank this one up - it sounds terriffic with brilliant clarity!
GAMEPLAYUnlike GH: Aerosmith, this game contains all of Metallica's big tracks.
VALUEAll Metallica's tracks are here, but disappointing you can't use non-Metallica songs purchased in the Store.
OVERALLGuitar Hero: Metallica is a cracker of a release. If you like the band, or any heavy metal for that matter then this is an essential purchase. Brilliant.

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