Quote of the Moment

"Beep Industries currently has no openings. This is a good thing. Any number of career paths are better than game development. Lots of jobs are more lucrative and far less work. We hear marketing and animal husbandry are filled with potential."

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Rockin' Review: Guitar Hero III (PS3)

Last weekend, I picked up Guitar Hero III for my PS3. It's the first GH game I've ever owned, and if a picture is worth a thousand words, I think this says it all about my response:

Face obscured to allow the victim some semblance of remaining dignity.

For those who are currently scratching their heads going "What's a Guitar Hero, and why is this grown man holding a child's toy guitar?", I'll give a bit of explanation. Basically, the Guitar Hero series is karaoke for people who'd rather play an instrument than sing, or Dance, Dance Revolution for those who would rather play an instrument than dance. The guitar has five buttons on the neck, plus a strum switch and whammy bar. Notes cascade down on the screen, and timing a button press on the neck with a flick of the strum switch does a pretty good approximation of playing a note or chord.

That's kind of a long-winded explanation, but here's a video example, courtesy of YouTube:

You'll have to imagine the person on the other end jamming on the guitar controller to get a near flawless playthrough there.

So that's the explanation, and for me, at least, it's a lot of fun. Really, one of the bigger difficulties I run into while playing is that I'll sometimes get a little too into the music, and miss some notes because I stop paying close attention to the note cascade.

In the interest
of full disclosure, I should point out that I have previously spent a little bit of time learning to play real guitars, and that I was, in fact, in a bad garage bad while in high-school.

The song list strikes me as being a good blend of old-school rock standbys from the late 60s, 70s, and early 80s, plus some grunge from the 90s, and modern rock groups like The Killers. Not having been raised on these particular brands of music, it's almost all new to me, and that's allowed me to discover some new favorites, Eric Johnson's White Cliffs of Dover in particular. On the other hand, it's caused me to wonder who enjoys some of this stuff and actually thinks it's music (I'm looking at you, Slayer and Sonic Youth).

The periodic boss battles are also somewhat frustrating, as they amp the difficulty way up, and for me, were little more than mostly un-fun progress blockers that kept me from enjoying my pretend guitar playing while I completed the very videogame task of defeating a specific boss. There also seems to be some problems with the PS3 online connections, where it takes about ten tries just to find one live match.

Still, the three boss battles, occasional dreadful song, and online weirdness aside, it's a game I'll be enjoying for quite a number of hours yet. While I doubt I'll ever be completing Through the Fire and Flames at 95% on Expert anytime this century, I'll still be having fun.

Bottom Line:
Playstation 2, Playstation 3, PC, Xbox 360, Wii
T for ages 13+. Some songs, Talk Dirty to Me for example, contain sexually suggestive lyrics that definitely aren't appropriate for children. Also, the avatars are dressed like, well, hard rock musicians. The women's outfit options are generally tight and revealing, while the men's outfits are also mostly tight and revealing, with a dash of hideously ugly to boot.
You'll Like it if: You've ever played air guitar to your favorite rock songs.