|System: X360, PS2, PS3, Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: NeverSoft / RedOctane||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Activision||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 28, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Matthew Walker
When the first Guitar Hero came out, I have to admit I was bit skeptical of how the game would feel. I hated the notion that a video game was taking something that took me a while to learn and making it look easy. Thankfully, I was quickly relinquished of this inaccurate belief, and I, much like the rest of the world, succumbed to the power of Guitar Hero. So much that when the second installment came out, I raced to the store at the midnight release of the game, and dominated the track lists of the second installment not once but twice, the PS2 version and the Xbox 360 version. Even though the wait has not been that long, I felt myself itching for newer, greater songs to shred. Well, the wait is finally over for the world, and rock is stronger than ever.
First things first, Guitar Hero 3 marks the first true offering of the series on a next gen console. Now, before anyone tries to claim that the inception of Guitar Hero 2 on the Xbox 360 was the first, I'd say they were sort of right. Despite the graphic update from the PS2 version of the game, there was really nothing that made it fresh or new. That has all changed now. The characters look fully realized and sleek. The bands are more animated, and most look like they really are a part of a musical number instead of just going through the motions. The fan favorite guitarists including - Judy Nails, Jonny Napalm, Axel Steel, Casey Lynch, Xavier Stone, Izzy Sparks, and a few others, now more than ever appear to play the chords in unison with the song, as opposed to the air guitar motions of the first two installments.
Continuing the cosmetic side of the game, the fret board is sharper and has several new designs for you to glamour over. The score box has been tweaked and looks like an amp, and the addition of the streak indicator is a nice plus. The rock meter also has been refashioned to meet the new sleek design. However, my favorite thing has to be the various audience members, ranging from stage divers to devilish vixens dancing to your music, occasionally stealing the limelight away from the guitarists and other band members. I know it may be a small thing, but it is the small things that really shine in this volume.
The gameplay modes are the same with a couple exceptions. The biggest exception is the co-op career mode. It plays just like the standard career mode with a few variations. Instead of the same track sets you played on your own, you will face a different order when with friends, debatably a more appealing order. Other than this, the co-op play is just as it was previously. The other new gameplay mode that is a great addition is the battle mode. Instead of the star power that you acquire to save you from failing a song, you collect weapons. Guitar inspired weapons like broken strings, double notes, and lefty flips, to name a few. You activate these wondrous things the same way you do star power, but they mess with your opponent quite nicely. This will keep you playing even after you have perfected the songs on expert because you never know what kind of "devil" you are playing.
Another addition to the game is that instead of just playing track after track, you will have an actual story arch to follow. Granted, it is not all encompassing, but the humorous animated cutscenes in between sets is a great addition that any fan of the series will enjoy.