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Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock

Rating: 4.5 Pulses

Platform: Xbox 360

Players: 1 – 2

Publisher: Activision

Developer: Neversoft

ESRB Rating: T

Genre: Music

Although development has been passed from Harmonix to Neversoft, Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock is still packed with all the same fun and enjoyment introduced in the previous games. With all-new music, a revamped career mode and online play, it’s my favorite in the series thus far.

If you’re familiar with Guitar Hero (which I imagine most of you probably are), the game plays basically the same. You have your guitar with five colored fret buttons, a strum bar and a whammy bar. A surge of chords will come down from the top of the screen and you’ll have to press the fret button matching the color of the note and the strum bar at the same time. If you’re a newcomer to Guitar Hero, it’ll take some practice, but that’s what the easy setting is for. If you start hitting notes consecutively and keep your play perfect, you’ll earn score multipliers and your Rock Meter will increase, which will eventually unlock your Star Power. Just tilt the guitar to unleash the Star Power and if you keep your play perfect your score multipliers will be doubled.

Most of the game modes are the same: solo or co-op Career and Quick Play, Multiplayer, Training and online play through Xbox Live, which is freaking tight. Career mode has you playing through the life of an actual rock star working gigs in different venues and earning money for how well you performed. You can unlock new songs and new venues as you play and also use the money you make to buy new songs, characters, guitars, equipment and clothing. Co-op Career mode is actually new to Guitar Hero III, so this time you can become a rock legend with the help of a friend. One player takes the role of the lead guitarist and the other player either gets the rhythm or bass guitar. Both players share a Rock Meter and to activate Star Power you’ll both have to tilt your guitar at the same time, which is why teamwork is so crucial in Co-op mode. The Multiplayer mode allows you to play three different ways: Face-Off, Pro Face-Off and Battle. The Face-Off mode has two players competing against each other while alternating play on the same note chart. In Pro Face-Off players will play the same note chart, at the same time. The Battle mode is a little different. Two players compete against each other, but get power-ups that will disrupt your opponent and help give you an advantage. To activate the Battle mode attacks you’ll have to tilt your guitar the same way you activate your Star Power.

The biggest change in Guitar Hero III is the addition of “boss battles.” Throughout Career mode you’ll be encountered by three boss battles: Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello, Guns N’ Roses’ Slash and eventually Death. The boss battles work just like Battle mode in Multiplayer and are a nice little twist to an already fun Career mode. The one thing I don’t like about the boss battles are how uneven the difficulty settings are. For example, if you’re playing on medium difficulty level and get to the boss, he’ll seem much harder. It took me multiple tries to get past the boss battles, but use your battle attacks wisely and play well and it shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

If you’re a fan of Guitar Hero you shouldn’t miss out on this game. It’s just as much fun as the previous games but with a few new ways to play, and the new setlists in III are just wonderful. With songs from bands like Aerosmith, Weezer, Santana, The Killers and Smashing Pumpkins, everyone will find a song they like in this game.

I wasn’t a big fan of Guitar Hero at first, but I eventually came around and saw what all the buzz was about. With its new songs and great online play, Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock is the greatest game in the series and a must buy for any Guitar Hero fan.

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