Written by Brian Tidwell
On October 28, a Megaphone writer discovered that he could play guitar almost as well as Carlos Santana, that Bloc Party’s “Helicopter” is incredibly fun to play and that playing the epic “Knights of Cydonia” by Muse is as good of an arm workout as any trip to the Robertson Center.
As much as I would wish it were so, I did not suddenly become a better guitar player, I just started playing Guitar Hero III.
If you have played and enjoyed the Guitar Hero games in the past, then, in short, there really is not much of a point to you reading the rest of this review. Guitar Hero III has the same great Guitar Hero gameplay that you have been enjoying through two full games and one expansion pack.
If the previous Guitar Hero games were your crazy metal head cousin, Guitar Hero III is what happens when that cousin takes a shower, combs his hair and puts on some nice clothes. He looks quite slick, but he still knows how to rock hard.
If you are new to the series, then the gameplay of Guitar Hero seems fairly simple. You hold down a colored button, matching the one on the screen and strum the guitar controller’s strum bar. It sounds fairly simple, and through most of easy and normal difficulties on Guitar Hero III it is. However, once you move beyond those basic difficulty levels the game gets very hard very quickly.
The difficulty of Guitar Hero III is one of its greatest assets for serious fans of the series, and it is also one of its largest problems for those who are not quite as accustomed to feats of guitar heroism.
Songs like “Raining Blood”, “Through the Fire and the Flames” and the new metal themed “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” require players who could compete on expert in the previous two games to push the limits of their skill, and are utterly demoralizing to new players.
The game grows on you however, and when you finally manage to make your hands fly up and down the guitar controller fast enough to nail just a little bit of the solo in “Cult of Personality”, it’s a glorious feeling.
The list of songs in Guitar Hero is also a bit of a mixed bag. A number of songs are the master tracks from the bands themselves, and some bands, including the Sex Pistols, came into the studio to record songs for the game.
The quality of the cover versions that substitute in for the non-master track songs vary widely however, the Pat Benatar and Stevie Ray Vaughn impersonators being particularly painful.
The song list contains a little bit of something for everyone, even Metallica’s “One for those of the Drop D” persuasion, and no song seems genuinely terrible. However the track list under new developer Neversoft lacks the quirk of the tracks chosen by Harmonix, the series’ previous developer, and with that the bonus tracks lack the new and interesting sounds offered by previous Guitar Hero games.
There really isn’t much of a reason to dislike Guitar Hero III. It is, despite a few minor quibbles, just another Guitar Hero game. If the President of Finland can take time off of his busy schedule to celebrate Lordi’s monstrous win in the Eurovision Song Contest, than any self-respecting Southwestern student can take a little time off to play some Guitar Hero III. It’s as simple as that.