E3 2007 allowed WarCry to see some games that we normally do not cover. One of the highlights was a chance to play Activision's Guitar Hero III. The rock-riff sequel comes out this fall and offers more of the same, which is definitely not a bad thing in this case.
Based on hands-on play
Article by Dana Massey
On Friday of E3, WarCry spent most of the day in the infamous Barker Hanger and had a chance to get some hands on time with a lot of the big name, non-MMOs headed to market this year. One of the most impressive of these games was Guitar Hero III.
The best news their Activision rep was able to give us was this: Guitar Hero III on the Xbox 360 will work with Guitar Hero II guitars and there will be an option to buy only the CD, without an extra Guitar, should you already own them.
Relieved that I would not have to buy new furniture to house my plastic guitars this fall, I was able to concentrate fully on the game at hand. The gameplay, as one might expect is pretty much identical. In some ways, Guitar Hero III is more like a massive song pack. This time Activision promises 70 songs, the bulk of which will be master tracks (which is code for "not covers"). The actual strumming and playing is virtually identical.
Joe Blancato from The Escapist and I battled it out on three songs: Pearl Jam's "Even Flow", The Beastie Boys' "Sabotage" and "Cherub Rock" by the Smashing Pumpkins. Earlier, I also played "Paint It Black" by the Rolling Stones. Joe took our death match two games to one. He won a Pro-Faceoff battle of "Even Flow", while we split two games in the new Battle Mode. I beat him at "Cherub Rock" and he got revenge during "Sabotage".
Battle Mode is just like Pro-Faceoff, but instead of star power, you activate problems for your enemy. In our game, we ran across one where it doubled all the notes (i.e. one blue because a blue and an orange), another that grayed out all the notes and forced me to pump my whammy bar frantically to turn them back on, another cranks your opponent temporarily up a difficulty level and another one - the reason I won a single game - caused notes to blink, appear blurry and disappear. Battle Mode was a lot of fun, but seemed to be more of a spectator sport. I had no idea what I was doing to Joe, nor he to me. Some were also more effective than others. Shooting the game up a difficulty level was annoying, but not insurmountable, while the "double notes" one was no issue at all. The blurry screen I did to Joe though was absolutely crippling and allowed me - the lesser guitar hero - to eek out a victory.
For those who found Guitar Hero II to be a bit too hard, good news: Guitar Hero III seems a bit easier than its predecessor. At home, I play regularly and can do some songs on Expert and most every song on Hard. Ironically, the best score I had on a full song came during "Even Flow" on Expert. I scored much higher than I could at the same level on songs in Guitar Hero II, despite my loss.
The real question with this game is whether or not it's worthwhile when the original developer is about to put Rock Band out the door. To me, there is no question that I'll need both games this fall. Guitar Hero III felt a touch more natural and has a bunch of songs that you know will never be on Rock Band for legal reasons. Plus, I cannot actually see myself doing much singing. To me, it is a $60 song pack and frankly, that's more than good enough when it comes to a game like Guitar Hero.
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