Monday, January 21, 2008

(even more) Guitar Hero

When I upgraded from the PS2 to the 360, I knew Guitar Hero would be on the checklist. Actually, when I went out the other day, I was looking for Rock Band. I guess I wasn't the only one, 'cause the three game shops I went to were all sold out. Since GH was also on the list, I picked it up instead. I went with the GH3 wireless bundle, which came with a wireless controller and the game. I also picked up just the game disc (no guitar controller) of its predecessor, GH2. Which I see was the 2005 "Music Game of the Year", well, just how many music games were there exactly in 2005?

GH2 played like I remember, and really, all it is a port of the PS2 version. Playing it with the new controller was nice, but more on that in a sec. There were a few new songs in the mix, and I noticed the track list was all mixed up, order-wise, as well. I cranked through it at a good clip on medium and beat it with five stars on all songs, it was about as fun as I remember. The painful memories of trying to beat 'Carry Me Home' on hard are still buried deep within my psyche. Okay, so now I was warmed up on part dos, so then I put in the new(er) one.

GH3 is nice, really, really nice. The graphics have undergone a brand new overhaul and just look so much better. The characters have so much more detail, and the extras are rendered beautifully. Plus, the interface in the game itself is updated as well, and the controls and meters 'n such are more user friendly and look a thousand times better too, and remember, GH2 wasn't bad either! It was near the end of the second set when freakin' Tom Morello comes out on stage and challenges me to some kind of "rock off". It was cool actually, and totally caught me off guard. Basically we trade licks on the guitar back and forth to see who's better, and you get little "battle mode power-ups" while you play. You can then use these power ups to sabotage your opponent while they play. All in all, pretty cool, I also battled Slash a short while later. After your 'boss' battle, you then both team up to play the encore. I'm only about halfway through the game I think, but wow, they somehow managed to make it more fun.

Did I mention the unlockable content? Some really cool stuff; as you beat the bosses, you can then unlock them in the store to use as characters. Plus, there are some pretty crazy guitars you can buy as well, most are over-the-top, but only a few are too goofy for words. For the characters themselves, you have a lot more options on their looks. You can 'buy' different styles, which are different than buying different outfits, and you also have a few choices in color combos to boot. I haven't played the bonus indie songs yet, but I have 'bought' them all, and it seems to have a ton more than what was on GH2, which is nice. Speaking of songs, if I ever get my 360 hooked up online, I guess I can buy even more songs from there. The songs themselves are pretty catchy, and a lot more seem to be the actual song by the artist, not a cover, which is hit and miss depending. A few that stood out as being fun were; Even Flow by Pearl Jam, Mississippi Queen by Mountain, and Holiday in Cambodia, by DK.

The controller is great, and the big thing is that it's wireless! The neck of the guitar also detached for storage. I was really getting into the game on one song, just rockin' out, and in a fit of inspiration I thought it'd be cool if I swung the guitar around my body on the strap, you know, Van Halen style. Yeah, umm, the strap came unhooked and the guitar flew about five feet behind me, crashing to the ground. It seems fine though, and I won't be trying that again, haha! For my 'career' mode I've decided to go with the rocker Axel Steel. He's about as pureblood "rock and roll (with a mix of metal)" as you can get. The name of my 'band' is Chthonian, not the most original, but it kicks butt! He's outfitted with good ole shorts, Chuck Taylor's, and Morello's "Arm the Homeless" guitar. It's all terribly geeky, but mega-fun while you're at it. There's apparently a co-op career mode as well, but I haven't checked that out just yet. So, all in all, a big thumbs up for the new Guitar Hero and a new system to play it on...

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