System: Wii, 360, PS3, PS2, PC, and Mac (reviewed for Wii)
# of Players: 1-2 (Local and Wifi)
Published by: Activision and RedOctane
Guitar Hero III is the fourth game in one of the most popular rhythm based video game series. But does it hold up to its competition and the previous Guitar Hero installments?
The Good: GH3 has some changes for the better. In previous versions activating star power shook the screen; if you were in the middle of a difficult solo, it could easily screw you up. This has been done away with. The hammer on/pull off feature has been updated also. Notes are shiny if you can hammer on or pull off of them, whereas in GH2 you had to guess if the notes were close enough. Another great feature in the new Guitar Hero is online play. Don't have any friends who want to play against you? Just go on the internet and search for some opponents. Later songs in the game are very fun, especially if you like a challenge.
The Bad: The game is not without its glitches. Once the song started about 5 seconds before the notes came on screen, so the audio was way off compared to the video. The songlist is not as good as previous installments either. Most of the songs in lower tiers have you playing the same riff over and over again. Battle mode sounded like a nice addition, but once you get hit with a Battle Power the song can be over in as little as 15 seconds. The same goes for boss battles, except those also show how bad you are (the AI plays the song perfectly).
Can you keep up?
The graphics for Guitar Hero III are decent, but nothing special. There are some nice looking venues and new-to-the-series animated cut scenes. The animations for characters do not look as good. Guitarists' hair doesn't move, and it looks awkward when they are playing. The animations that occur when you hit the whammy bar don't look as good as Guitar Hero II. Everything else, including menus and the fret board look good and get the job done.
Now this is what Guitar Hero is all about! The early songs may be easy to play, but that doesn't mean they don't sound good. From Foghat's “Slow Ride” to Metallica's “One,” the songs in the game are the most diverse and best sounding than any other Guitar Hero. Most of the songs are master tracks, too, and the cover of Heart's “Barracuda” sounds very good when compared to the original. The only complaint I have is about the cover of Dead Kennedys' “Holiday in Cambodia.” I know this song is racist, rude, and vulgar, but I think they could have done a much better job with the censors.
If you are new to the series, you will probably have a lot of reasons to go back and play through again. You know you want to go back and play through all the levels of difficulties, so you can show off your Guitar Hero skills to your friends and bystanders in your local Gamestop. There are also guitars that you can only unlock by beating a certain difficulty level or getting 5 stars on all the songs on that level. Also by going back though all the songs you've beaten, you'll probably get higher scores on them which will raise your rank on the online leaderboards.
Gameplay: 8.5/10 (Very fun after you've played for awhile, not as much in the beginning)
Graphics: 6.5/10 (Nothing special, but you won't be paying attention to the graphics while playing)
Sound: 10/10 (Great songs, many of them master tracks, make for a great rhythm based game)
Replay Value: 8/10 (Playing through on just “Easy” is not good enough.)
Overall: 8.5/10 (Not an average)