Plugged In

REVIEW: ‘Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock’

gh3art2.jpg
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.

On the gameplay side of things, “Legends of Rock” includes a co-op career mode, which can be played either online or off. The new battle mode lets gamers compete head-to-head on the same song, with each player using special power-ups to try and cause their opponent to make a mistake. During the career mode, you’ll be battling it out with avatars of former Guns n’ Roses guitarist Slash and Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave. The guitar controller included is based on a classic Les Paul design and, finally, it’s wireless. As fas as I’m concerned, it’s the best guitar controller available. It’s heavier and just feels right.

“Legends of Rock” certainly lives up to the “Guitar Hero” name and well worth a purchase. Is it better than “Rock Band”? That depends on what kind of experience you’re looking for. But if all you want to do is rock out and unleash your inner Angus Young, “Legends of Rock” should be right up your alley.

Rating: 8.2/10
Publisher: Red Octane
Developer: Neversoft
Sugg. retail price: $99.99 (with controller)
Rating: T for teen