Thrashers, rejoice! Guitar Hero 3 is finally here! The red hot rythm game, released first in 2005, has spawned one of the greatest Cults of Personality in video games today. The game was a smash hit on the now ancient playstation two, and has spawned an empire where The Metal and the hammer ons rule. Now in the hands of Neversoft, Guitar Hero 3 has graduated from Red Octane's simplistic charms and has uprgraded the series without changing much. This is both a good and bad thing for the series; although as fun as it is to Rock and Roll all Nite, it is starting to spread itself out too thin.
First the bad, because it is slightly more nitpicky than most. The game follows the Same Old Song and Dance in it's formula. You pick your difficulty level, ranging from easy to expert, pick your guitarist, and begin thrashing it out. The game starts off as a Slow Ride, but picks up speed by the time you get to the final setlists. In between, you get to battle famous guitarists, such as Slash from Guns N Roses and Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine, in the new "battle modes."
Instead of being a Kool Thing, the guitar battles are very weak, with the exception of the finale matchup. What makes it a rough ride is the fact that the powers in the battle are heavily unbalanced. They range from lefty flipping your notes, to cutting a string on your guitar. You can even Sabotage the whammy bar. Whats worse, these battle powers take the place of the star powers in the game, so once you memorize where they are, it's just down to luck basically, who gets the good power over the other.
The game is also graphicly the same on every system. True, graphics have been updated, but the animations are still kind of blocky and repetitive, giving little movement for the principle characters. Getting any Closer to the characters faces could ruin your eyes, as they look ugly and outdated. There are some bright spots, however. The new animated style of the game is reminiscent of the quirky show Metalopcalypse, and there is a paper thin storyline in the game, as well as hundreds of refrences to various Rock and Roll in jokes. You will see what I mean when you view the upside down roads signs featuring The Number of the Beast.
Finally, since this is the Wii version of the game, I have to mention the lack of online downloads, which is a major nitpick for Wii owners. While it doesn't detract from the overall experience, longevity is now in question for the Wii version, as downloadable tracks will be a big selling point for the other versions of the game.
Despite these problems, Guitar Hero 3, Legends of Rock will still Rock you Like a Hurricane. The play control is as tight as ever, as the new guitar peripheral is the new Pride and Joy of the acessory world. Wireless, custom made for the wiimote, and great motion control with a new look makes the guitar both easy to use and fun to play. This leads back to the reason the game is so popular, it is just that fun to strum a plastic guitar and look cool doing it.
And of course, the soundtrack features some of the biggest names in the genre of rock and roll. Iron Maiden, Slayer, KISS, Dragonforce, Velvet Revolver, Gun's N Roses, even Smashing Pumkins and Weezer get some time in the mix. You also don't have to be Paranoid anymore over the cover songs either. Not only are they flawless, but there are few of them in the game, which strengthens the overall experience of the soundtrack. As for the song list, it was so heavily publicized that it's basically pointless to list some of the big names here. I think I will leave it to the imagination on what they are.
Before I Forget, I should mention one more great addition to all versions of the game; competitive online play. You now can shred it out online and create Anarchy in the U.K while sitting in your living room. While for the Wii, the requirement of friend codes is necessary, but the recourceful masses are gathering on message boards and posting their codes for battle requests already, a sign that you are Welcome to the Jungle to compete for rock god dominance.
Guitar Hero 3, Legends of Rock is the number One game in it's genre. Despite some obvious age beginning to show in the winning formula, Neversoft has sucessfully taken the series to a new level. Now, Through the Fire and the Flames, the series carries on under a new developer, and for better or worse, rock and roll is here to stay. So do yourself a favor, and pick this one up when you can. If this review hasn't hinted at it yet, it's a hell of a fun game.
Final Score- B+