Let’s get right down to it, Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock is not only a great game, but one of the best games out there for gamers interested in something different. For the people who have played Guitar Hero in the past, the core mechanics of the game are virtually unchanged and this consistency and familiarity lends greatly to the game’s success.
The key thing to keep in mind with this game is that it’s all about the music. Visuals, while important, really take a backseat to the top notch soundtrack. You’ll find the track list to encompass quite a lot, songs are taken from the better part of the last forty years and there is a ton of variety (Although there’s no Queen and that makes me sad). The draw of the Guitar Hero franchise is that it makes you feel like a real rocker, this feeling has not been diminished although by now I’ve realized that pressing a bunch of multicolored fret buttons doesn’t actually make me a guitar player.
As far as difficulty goes, Guitar Hero III caters to a wide audience. If games are not your thing, easy mode will accommodate you perfectly by limiting the range of notes that must be played. For the fanatic that has to dominate the game, prepare yourself because this game is insanely difficult on expert mode. The rest of us will be perfectly content playing the game on medium mode and graduating up to hard mode. The latter provides a lasting challenge that gives the game amazing replayability.
A new addition to the series is what most gamers will call boss fights. These boss fights are a set of duels between yourself and a well-known artist. The songs for all but one of the boss fights are original compositions which goes to show you the care that has gone into creating a fun and unique experience. During these fights you must not only attempt to outplay the song’s creator, but you must make them fail the song and have them booed off of the stage. This is accomplished by a series of powerups that you can get by hitting certain strings of notes. You then unleash your newfound powers on your enemy, severely disrupting him; beware though, your adversary can also use these same powerups on you so try to use strategy when using your own powerups.
Online play is also something that has been brought to Guitar Hero III, although it is absent in the PlayStation 2 edition. The community of players is quite large so you will not have much trouble finding someone to play against. There are several modes to play, Face Off allows two players to battle each other on a difficulty of their choosing. This mode is fun but if your opponent is playing on a lower difficulty than you expect to be bested with ease. For the people who do dislike this imbalance, Pro Face Off is the answer to their prayers. In Pro Face Off both players duel each other on the same difficulty setting and compete for the highest number of notes hit as well as score. One of the nice things about these game modes is that you can not fail the song, so no matter how bad you preform, you’ll still be able to finish. Finally, for the competitor in all of us is the Guitar Hero III leaderboard, scores from the singleplayer campaign are uploaded onto a massive leaderboard at the Guitar Hero website for all the world to see.
There are some small blemishes on the game’s posh exterior. For one, the bonus tracks are really a let down, only a few of the songs are worth playing. Downloadable content is not uniform, again the PlayStation 2 edition lacks it and the Wii edition won’t have it until the new year rolls around. Extra guitars are also in the works at the moment but this should be fixed come January as well. These problems are not really that big and I’ve already moved past them, however some people seem to take these things seriously so they’ve got to be included.
I give Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock a score of nine out of ten. Gamers and music lovers alike will find Guitar Hero III to be a satisfying and challenging experience.