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REVIEW: ‘Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock’

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The “Guitar Hero” phenomenon took the gaming world by storm in 2005. Now, two years later, despite a new developer at the helm and the stiff competition of “Rock Band,” the franchise shows no signs of slowing down. “Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock” is the first entry in the series developed by Neversoft, better known for its work on the “Tony Hawk” titles. Neversoft adhered to the old adage of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” with “Legends of Rock.” Thus, the game should feel immediately familiar to anyone who’s played the previous “Guitar Hero” titles.

The biggest change, although subtle, is with the game’s difficulty. You now have more time to hit the notes as they fall, which is great for beginners or those who may not be very good (like me). The developers seemed to balance the decision to make the game a little easier by including songs that will challenge the most accomplished “Guitar Hero” players. Tracks range from classic rock anthems like Foghat’s “Slow Ride” and the Rolling Stones’ “Paint it Black” to more recent cuts from artists like the Beastie Boys and Queens of the Stone Age. The selection of songs should please most gamers, and many are original recordings. If you’ve played “Guitar Hero” before, you know that makes all the difference in the world.

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Activision and developer Infinity Ward redefined the World War II shooter genre with the release of “Call of Duty” in 2003. With “Modern Warfare,” they’ve attempted to bring the series’ trademark of intense combat, intelligent AI and unforgettable cinematic moments to the battlefield of today. The end result is not only one of the most exhilirating shooters ever made, but the new standard against which all other first-person shooters should be judged. (Yes, it’s better than “Halo 3.”)

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NEWS: Original Xbox titles coming to Live

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Microsoft has begun releasing details about its annual fall update to Xbox Live, and it sounds like this year’s update could be the best yet. Scheduled for Dec. 4, the fall update will allow gamers to download original Xbox titles to their Xbox 360 hard drives. That’s right. For 1,200 Microsoft Points (approx. $15), you’ll be able to download complete versions of “Halo,” “Fable,” “Psychonauts,” “Crimson Skies: Road to Revenge” or other unannounced titles.

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GAME NEWS: ‘MGS4′ delayed until 2008

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PlayStation 3 fans won’t be getting their hands on Solid Snake’s latest adventure this holiday season. Konami has announced that “Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots” has been delayed in both Japan and the United States. The game was originally set to be released later this year. It is now on schedule to ship during the first quarter of 2008 in Japan and the second quarter of 2008 in the U.S. That means gamers should expect to see ‘MSG4’ sometime around late April-early June ’08.

Call it a hunch, but don’t be surprised to see an announcement soon about ‘MGS4’ on the Xbox 360. The title is currently a PS3 exclusive, but there have been rumblings about that changing. During Konami’s press release to announce the PS3 delay, the developer said the delay was to “make further improvements to the quality of the game and provide even greater enjoyment for more customers worldwide.” More customers worldwide? Xbox 360 customers, perhaps? Stay tuned.