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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution

Published by: RedOctane
Developed by: Neversoft Entertainment / Vicarious Visions
Genre: Music
Players: 1-2
Rated: T (Teen)
Release Date: October 28, 2007
Screenshots: Link
Amazon: Buy Now!
Written By: Matthew Prunty

Wii owners are both on the lucky and unfortunate side this holiday season. Thanks to Harmonix splitting off from Red Octane, Activision has taken the liberty of continuing their award winning franchise Guitar Hero. Activision is doing an excellent job, bringing the franchise to all 3 major next generation consoles, finally bringing in Nintendo fans. While this holds true, Harmonix is off to making bigger ideas come true, as we can see with Rock Band (360, PS2, PS3). Fortunately for Wii owners, they donít have to make much of a decision if they are music lovers; itís either Guitar Hero III or nothing, and itís a game that any rhythm game fanatic wonít want to pass up.

After 2 major installments, and an ďexpansionĒ of sorts, the Guitar Hero franchise is off to a great start. Starting off on the PS2, and slowly working its way from there to the 360, and now all major consoles, the games have never looked better. The series is well known for its rocking characters and venues, endless gameplay, party fun, and of course, the kick ass soundtrack. The best part is, this compilation of tracks looks like the best weíve seen thus far, and thatís saying a lot coming from the great stuff weíve seen in its predecessors.

Iím sure many are concerned with the playability on the Wii as compared to the other consoles, but thereís nothing to worry about. The guitar controller feels just as great as it does on the other 3 consoles. The Wii controller fits snug into the new wireless Les Paul controller, and it has to be my favorite Guitar controller released so far. Now, the fret board can be removed for easier carrying, and the buttons are nicely colored so that the faces look black, but the colors can be seen on the sides. The game is as great as ever about making you feel like youíre jamming out.

Although Activision has taken over the old idea of Guitar Hero, and completely reworked it, it still feels the same as the good old games weíve seen before it. The game consists of notes coming down from the top of the screen, in either single or chord combinations, based on the 5 colored frets seen on the guitar controller. Each note, or combination of notes, must be hit on the fret bar, and be strummed on the strum bar in a timely manner, or it will not be counted. Not much has changed with the new company on board, but a few things have been reworked such as the gap for a note to be counted as hit, and the look of the rock meter.

Guitar Hero III works the same way as its previous installments, in that it begins with the very basic Easy level, and works its way up to the most difficult Expert level seen thus far. Expert is unlike anything ever seen before in a Guitar Hero game. Just when gamers finally got done with mastering tracks from Guitar Hero II, the franchise just got harder, with insane hammer-on riffs, and awkward combinations of chords and notes blended together for guitar goodness. I know myself as a Guitar Hero enthusiast have had a difficult time with several of the songs in the game, even after finishing and refining my skills on Expert Mode in Guitar Hero II. Because many Wii players havenít experienced a Guitar Hero game yet, theyíll be glad to know that the Easy mode is very welcoming to newcomers.

The new installment has a career mode just like itís predecessors, and with that it has plenty of advertising, crazy rock venues, and of course, the band. To be completely honest, with all this stuff, the Wii visuals arenít stellar, and match those of the PS2, but a game like Guitar Hero really doesnít need much in the graphics department. Still, it would be nice to see better animations with the band rocking out, instead of seeing the drummer stiff arm everything, and the singer looking like some kind of awkward turtle. In the career mode though, there will be plenty of traveling between new venues and interacting with the crowd.

Much of the difficulty in the game has to do with the song list, and at that, itís by far the best one weíve seen thus far. It includes content from big name bands such as Metallica, Iron Maiden, Rage Against the Machine, and more. To make things even better, the majority of these tracks are actually master tracks provided by the artists and record companies themselves, meaning youíll not only be rocking out to the real version of the bonus songs, but also many of the career mode songs! These tracks come with a crisp guitar sound to them, and even the Wiimote speaker makes an appearance here and there. (When you miss a note of course) As well as this, Guitar Hero III includes a new multiplayer career with even more exclusive multiplayer songs to be played. This gives players a chance to really give the career mode an honest shot, while reaping rewards.

Multiplayer in the game is what really shines this time around, and with the introduction of online and the all-new battle mode in both career/multiplayer modes, Activision could not have really done a much better job. Online play includes everything you would expect from a Guitar Hero game, which is basically face offs, co-op, and of course the new battle mode. With the battle mode, comes a unique interface in which players will be competing to make the other player fail a song by trading off difficult riffs and gaining ďattacksĒ which they can use to take down the other player. For instance these include breaking a ďstringĒ and forcing the player to tap it rapidly to fix it. Itís a really cool mode to play around with, and a worthy addition to the multiplayer. Surprisingly online really isnít that bad, even with Nintendo having a lackluster Wi-Fi network. (Darn you friend codes!!!) Thank goodness finding a partner isnít too slow, and you arenít limited to just friends playing with you.

The game isnít without its imperfections though. The game has much more advertising than ever before, and some isnít even music related, which can get old really quick. As well as this, the new layout feels kind of weird sometimes when compared to the old look. It seems like Activision was trying to make a new hardcore type of look for the game. As well as this, we really donít see too many rock legends in the game, just two really (Tom Morello and Slash), and the songs played in the career battle modes canít be played in any other mode. Itís a shame because theyíre so much fun to play too. Finally, the game, unlike the other next-gen versions, doesnít include any sort of download feature for updates. This means thereís really no room for expansion with the game, and lowers some of the replay value.

All in all, Guitar Hero III is an excellent addition to the series, and can be considered the best one yet. The game comes loaded with over 70 songs (most being master tracks), several new modes to mess around with, familiar faces in the rock world, and to top it all off, online! While the Wii version may not be as great the 360 or PS3 versions in regards to graphical power and downloadable content, it is a great way to get the franchise started with Nintendo fans. While the Guitar Hero franchise has been seeing the same basic formula with all of its games, it doesnít hurt to keep an old concept that works. This works in Guitar Heroís favor this time around, and it surely isnít a game to pass up, even if it doesnít have as much future promise as the 360/PS3 versions.


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