Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock Review - 13/01/2008

Guitar Hero III is the latest in the Guitar Hero series, and although not much has changed, it is still the best rhythm action game. At least until Rock Band, that is.

The original Guitar Hero was one of, if not the, greatest bemani style game ever, it was the first of its kind and has developed over the years to become what is now one of the most popular games with hardcore and casual gamers alike. The third in the series will have a tougher route however, with new kid on the block Rock Band. Rock Band is developed by the creators of GH and isn't just about playing the guitar, it's about playing in a band with your mates with a bassist, a guitarist, a singer and a drummer. Whether GH3 will have the notes to knock Rock Band's socks off we'll have to wait and see, but for now, "let's get rockin'!"

This game follows the exact same formula as the previous iterations. You have 5 fret buttons, green, red, yellow, blue and orange, and when the note is in line with mark shown on screen you have to press the correct fret button and strum the guitar. Unless you have already played any of the GH's before, this may sound daunting - don't worry. It was my debut on the rock stage as well, and before I knew it I was strumming like a pro. It should only take you 5 or 6 goes maximum to at least finish a song, the easiest of which is Pat Benitar's 'Hit Me With Your Best Shot', and it'll only be about 10 before you can move on to bigger and better strings. Ha ha...

The graphics aren't great, but the backgrounds are suitably weird.

The list of songs is definitely the best yet, with easy songs like 'Slow Ride' and 'Talk Dirty To Me', and hard songs like Mettalica's 'One' and Iron Maiden's 'The Number of The Beast'. It also boats a few songs that even your mum might know like The Kaiser Chiefs' 'Ruby' and The Killers' 'When You Were Young'. As shown on the box there are 90+ songs to choose from, which go nicely with the brilliant selection of reasonably priced songs packs on the PlayStation Store and Marketplace, but you don't get them all from the start, of course not.

The career mode is where you will earn a lot of the bonus content available from the in-game store. There are a handful of axes, finishes, songs, videos and characters to choose from but the only worthwhile purchases are the songs, videos and a few of the characters such as Slash, Tom Morello and the God of Rock. To gain the money you need you will have to go to various gigs during your career as a band. Choosing 3 out of 4 songs each time to progress. At the end of some of the gigs however, you will either be begged to play an encore, or will be made to 'battle' Slash, Tom Morello or the Devil - Lou. The battles are a nice inclusion and they see you using star power (which I'll elaborate on next) to try to ruin your opponent's performance. These power-ups range from cutting one of their strings to raising their difficulty level one notch.

Lots of new characters is a very welcome addition.

One of the least important part of Guitar Hero games, but an integral part of most others is visual quality. Guitar Hero's graphics are below par. But it doesn't matter. All the time you are playing you be fixed to the centre of the screen as the guitar's fret board moves along down the screen. You don't have time (especially on hard and expert) to look at the background. But, if you're wondering, the lip synching is much, much better than its predecessors. When a word is sung the mouth moves, it doesn't just flap up and down hopelessly like a bird with a brick attached to its wings, which is nice.

The newest, and most wanted feature added is the online multiplayer capabilities. There are three modes: Pro Face-off, which is where two players have to play songs on a certain difficulty level, co-op, where you co-operate to earn big points, and the battle mode I mentioned earlier. It adds a bit of variety, but it is probably more fun offline, especially if you have some live competition in the room with you. But for that, you need to get an extra guitar. Bummer.

You'll end up playing in front of an ugly crowd of thousands towards the end of the Career mode.

That's it really. Guitar Hero III is a brilliant game. It is a game that lets you play a flame inducing rock solo, or a sweet slow song. It is a game that completely nails nearly everything it could possibly have nailed. Guitar Hero is nearly, just nearly, perfect.

- Tyler Roberts