Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock Preview
|ESRB rating: T
release date: Oct 28, 07 (released)
|» All About Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock on ActionTrip|
I am one of about 8% of the gaming population who, before today, has never played a Guitar Hero game. I have read all the reviews and heard how much fun it is but I have never had the opportunity to play it. That all changed today when Activison and Red Octane hosted a preview event for Guitar Hero III Legends of Rock and I finally got my turn in the limelight.
Before I got to jump into the game, we were briefed on the new controller; the Gibson Les Paul wireless controller. Shipping for the Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360 all at once, major improvements have been made over the old controllers including recessed start and select buttons (so players do not accidentally interrupt the action by a inadvertent button push), a removable neck for easier transport and a an enigmatic mention of "future possibilities" as well as customizable face plates to make your ax truly your own. After playing with this new wireless guitar controller for nearly four hours straight I can attest that it (for lack of a better term) rocks. Featuring an accelerometer in the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions it should be easier now to pull off Star Mode and launching attacks against opponents (more on that in a moment). The Wii version has a slot to drop your remote into and uses the motion detection already incorporated by Nintendo. It's a slick little number regardless which system you play on.
Once the hardware specs were complete we were free to grab a guitar and get started. Since I had not played before, I went through the tutorial on the Xbox 360 and quickly learned the ins and outs of Guitar Hero gameplay, as well as some new features for this third version. Playing solo is a blast but I spent the majority of my time rocking out with one of the guys from Red Octane in co-op mode. On differing tracks I played bass and he took lead guitar. What was great for me was being able to play on Easy as I learned the ropes while my partner played at the Hard level. As the evening wore on and my skill improved I jumped up to the Medium level as Easy got just a bit too, well, easy. Gameplay was fluid yet challenging and it was a blast to complete a song and see what percentage of notes we were able to correctly pull off as well as the number of notes we completed in a single streak. The better we did, the more our Star Power meters filled up until we raised our guitars at the same time evoking shrieks of pleasure from the crowd as we engaged our Star Power. The music intensified and the screen glowed blue as our avatars strutted around the stage, putting on an even bigger show.
We tore through songs from the 60's on up to today with a wide variety of titles that promise to make everyone happy. I found myself singing along (much to the distress of the other people playing) and even bobbing and weaving as I played. Yes I looked and sounded like an ass but I am more than used to playing that role by now and I was getting lost in the fun I was having. I can see why this game has become such a huge party hit. Switching rolls between lead guitar and bass on each song allowed us to redo songs we had already played while keeping things fresh for both of us. We were advancing through rounds and unlocking new venues, earning cash to buy new costumes, guitars and other avatars. People kept moving from one system to the next to try out the differences between them but I stayed rooted to the spot as I played one song after another.
After experiencing co-op I got to try Battle mode. We were still playing on the same song but instead of some notes filling out Star Power meter, we were granted "attacks" that could be launched at your opponent by raising the neck of your guitar. The attacks will hinder the other player as he tries to play his notes. Broken strings and amp overloads are just two of the ways you can throw a wrench into your opponent's performance. Make him screw up enough and his Rock meter (which shows the crowd's reaction) will dip into the red and eventually knock him out of the running. It's simple in design but offers a bit more of an adversarial bent to the whole thing. Xbox Live will allow you to play with others in Battle or Co-Op mode with people across the street or around the world.
I have been converted to the mob of people that love this game. When it ships later this month you can be sure I will be buying two of the new controllers so my wife and I can rock like the repressed rock stars we really are. Sure we won't be playing the smoke filled Whiskey in LA at 1 am on a Friday night, but you can be sure that our living room doesn't have a cover charge or 2-drink minimum.
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