|System: X360, PS3, Wii, PS2||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Neversoft||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Activision||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 29, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Matthew Walker
Love them or hate them, no one can deny the importance Metallica has played in the metal scene since their beginnings. In fact, some would say that Metallica ranks up there with The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and maybe even Elvis Presley. Without them, we wouldn't have had so many bands that started just because they heard Metallica on the radio. For numerous reasons, Metallica finally gets the honor of being inducted to the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame on April 4, 2009. So, it seemed only natural that Metallica would grace the music rhythm games, but the question was always how much Metallica was going to be available?
It took the third Guitar Hero to finally give us Metallica's "One." Fans still wanted more. When Activision announced they would be releasing future band-centric Guitar Heroes, many felt Metallica was the solid choice. Thankfully, Activision waited. If it had been Metallica at first, we would have missed out on so much that makes Metallica the band they are. For starters, until GH: World Tour, we've been limited to just the guitar and bass options, with the occasional rhythm guitar feature. Now we've got the whole band.
Some may be wondering if this works the same with the character creation from previous titles. Yes it does, albeit with a Metal flair that you can put your characters in. Of course, the other options are there, but if you picked up this game, chances are you won't be the ones wanting to Pop out the characters to play sick Metal cords. In addition to the character customization, you'll also be able to customize the guitars, drums, and microphone like normal, but with Metallica flair. Also, I want to recommend checking out our cheat codes section for an option to play as Metallica in either zombie costumes or with a look reminiscent of the 80s.
Speaking of the look of this game, it is wonderful to see the accurate representation of the band. Lars Ulrich looks the best by far with his drum animations mimicking his chaotic movement from live shows and his facial expressions are spot on. James Hetfield looks consistent with one exception: his eyes are rather small and almost beady and can be distracting at times. Kirk Hammett and Robert Trujillo look good too with the exception of their hair; it moves but doesn't have the natural flow other movements have. The stages from memorable concerts are also represented accurately. In fact, they are near-perfect. The added animations of the stages at the end of set lists will make any fan chuckle.
One thing fans of Guitar Hero: World Tour will notice is the abandonment of the gig sessions. You can make your own set lists, up to six songs at a time, in Quickplay. Aside from that option, the game returns to the traditional brackets of songs familiar to older fans of the Guitar Hero series. However, instead of beating a certain number of songs to move on to the next stage, it all relies on the number of stars you get. So, if you are really good at a few songs and can five star those and only three stars on others, you won't be hindered as much. In fact, if you select the songs you are sure of scoring high on, you will have the full track list open in no time; and what a track list it is!
A total of 45 songs are packed into this game, ranging from Metallica's beginnings to the latest album. You will be able to scratch your throat to For Whom the Bells Toll, thrash Master of Puppets, and break your drum set on All Nightmare Long. While some might say this track list from Metallica would make a greatest hits album, I disagree. By excluding songs such as Ride the Lightning, And Justice for All, Until it Sleeps, and Damage Inc. (to name a few), Guitar Hero: Metallica fails to create "the perfect track list." Nevertheless, it comes really close, even including excellent songs from other artists in order to change things up; tunes including Toxicity from System of a Down, Stacked Actors from the Foo Fighter, and Aces of Spades from Motörbreath. You are also given songs Metallica has covered from the original artists, Tuesday's Gone by Lynyrd Skynyrd, Turn the Page by Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band, Am I Evil? by Diamond Head, and Stone Cold Crazy by Queen. Some of these are great, others not so much. It would have been nice to have the option of playing Metallica's versions. If you are a fan of Metallica, then you know which I am speaking about specifically.