Guitar Hero 3 review – from both a novice and a regular player

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Frank brought over the brand spankin’ new version of Guitar Hero 3 tonight and we just played until our arms hurt. I’ve played about four or five times now but Frank has owned every version, including the 80’s one which is full of big hair metal and even a few punk songs including “Los Angeles” by my favorite band of all time, X.  I usually play on medium mode (I’m a guitarist in real life or else I’d probably be stuck on easy mode still) and we both noticed that it gets harder faster on Guitar Hero 3. Frank is now playing some  solo songs on hard mode and says it’s harder than previous versions – they launch into using the orange key immediately and he’s now had to start “Talk Dirty to Me” over three times 😉

guitarhero3legendsofrockOne of the reasons I haven’t bought Guitar Hero yet is that I thought it was fun to play once in awhile but that the limited set of songs available (40 on Guitar Player 2 and half of them were kind of lame) would get old.  Guitar Hero 3 has over 70 songs and in my opinion it’s a much better selection (Muse, The Strokes, Smashing Pumpkins, Rage, etc) than previous versions.  Plus, the majority of the songs are not cover versions, which is something that bothered me about the previous versions.  And what a relief – I couldn’t bear to hear someone trying to cover “Welcome to the Jungle!”  Even some of the songs that have cover singers (like “Hit Me with Your Best Shot”) don’t sound as bad as previous versions.

guitarhero3_9Of course the visuals in Guitar Hero 3 are awesome (view more images here) – the character detail is incredible and there are real live venues that look great.  They really though about where your eyes focus when you are playing (generally the bottom corners) and have optimized the playing screen layout so that you can see the score and different camera angles much better.  The backgrounds are richer and characters move more realistically.  They filmed Slash, Tom Morello, and Brett Michaels with motion capture suits to capture their moves – there’s a funny documentary pieces about them in the bonus features.

guitarhero3_8_450One nice change is the “Co-op career” which allows you to develop a band’s career in a multiplayer mode instead of just an individual mode.  Frank and I made a band called “Arnez” (after Desi and Lucy Arnez!) and we’ve gotten through a few levels that include a storyline that’s pretty amusing. 

guitarhero3_1_450 Our favorite songs to do tonight were “Bulls on Parade”, “Suck my Kiss”, “Barracuda”, and “Welcome to the Jungle.”  “Black Magic Woman” nearly killed us – it’s the longest  song in the world and it gets really tricky at the end – we had to start over twice.  After that we were blessed with Weezer’s “My Name is Jonas” which was way easier.  I wish they’d chosen a different Muse song than “The Knights of Caledonia” (like “Hysteria”) but I’m not complaining – it’s MUSE.  They even have Living Colour’s “Cult of Personality” and the original “Paint it Black.”  Classy.

We were surprised that the little jokes they show while the game loads songs are not as funny as they could be and that there aren’t very many of them so you end up seeing the same dumb joke over and over.  I would have thought they would have included about 50 and that they’d all be hilarious “in jokes” for musicians (there was one good one and now we can’t remember it –  I’ll post it when we see it again).  “If the police don’t complain, you aren’t playing loud enough” just isn’t that funny.

All in all, this version is good enough that I’ll probably get it, though I should wait until I graduate next summer or else my grades will suffer!  You?  You should go and get it!

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