Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock Impressions - A First Look at Guitar Hero on the PC

Playing Guitar Hero with...a keyboard? It's real, and we take an up-close look.

The Guitar Hero series has conquered living rooms the world over with its combination of hard-rocking music and its unusual, highly addictive control scheme. The series has traditionally used a guitar-shaped controller that maps buttons to large, oversized frets, which makes playing the games look and feel as if you're rocking out with a real guitar. This has led to countless video game players turning into wannabe rock guitarists in their living rooms as they played the games on their consoles. Now, Aspyr Media is bringing the experience to your desktop computer with its upcoming port of Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock.

Ready to rock? Go get your computer!

Let's get this out of the way first: The game will be shipping with a USB-compatible X-Plorer guitar controller, but you can absolutely play the game using a keyboard. However, if you already have a USB-compatible guitar controller, you can use that instead. If you're familiar with the series, you'll know that the gameplay boils down to hitting the colored fret buttons in time with the colored cues that slide across the screen continuously, then building up enough "star power" to let loose by tilting your controller vertically, which lets you gain huge bonus points while playing.

We watched a pre-alpha version of the game in motion with the highly difficult song Take This Life by In Flames, and with the guitar controller the game seemed to play more or less identically to the console versions. The game looked as bright and as colorful as ever on a high-end laptop, and seemed to run at a brisk frame rate. Though it won't offer any kind of special features that take advantage of DirectX 10, it will be compatible with Vista.

In terms of the keyboard controls, the development team at Aspyr is still tweaking the layout. The current control scheme uses the center row of keyboard keys on the left side (A, S, D, F, and Caps Lock, though that's subject to change) as the fret buttons, as well as the mouse buttons to strum up (left mouse button) and strum down (right mouse button), and to use the guitar tilt (mousewheel). According to the testing team, this combination seems to work just fine, and with your controls limited to the keyboard, you should even be able to get away with playing the game on a laptop computer on the go. (Just try not to rock out too hard if the people sitting next to you on the plane are trying to sleep.)

The PC version of Guitar Hero III will support keyboard-and-mouse controls.

The game will feature online play for both PCs and Macs, and even Mac-versus-PC play using built-in code from the middleware that Aspyr licensed to port the game. It's not clear exactly how far or in which directions the game's online components will expand, either; right now, Aspyr tells us that the company's focus is on bringing a faithful re-creation of the Guitar Hero III console experience onto computers. From the looks of things, that's exactly what's happening--all the rock-and-roll gameplay and online options of Guitar Hero III on the consoles seem to fit just fine on a laptop computer. Aspyr is hoping to release the PC version of Guitar Hero III on the same day as the console versions, with the Mac version to follow afterwards.

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140 comments
stfolife
stfolife

you would be able to mod it wouldn't you?

twiztiid
twiztiid

@lennygundam14, frets on fire is bootleg? How could an open source free program be bootleg? Bootleg means illegal and since it is open source that is not really possible. I would love to get GH3 for PC but will wait and see if it is as good as console version first. If not I will just get for the wii instead.

lennygundam14
lennygundam14

@alcari, frets on fire is bootleg. thats why i pay for guitar hero 3

Gaarakeren
Gaarakeren

Cool!!! Finally my Fave game released on PC!!! wonder if there's any Mods to add another songs...

alcari
alcari

Wait wait wait.... Why the hell would you pay for guitar hero III, when FRETS ON FIRE is exactly the same, but it's FREE. Also, frets on fire has free songs, where GH3 will only have those delivered with the game. So the only you'll be paying for is only play, where FOF only has online ranking.

LoganFruz
LoganFruz

Ah yes this is an awesome move by the Guitar Hero franchise. Mods and new songs will be amazing

ognen
ognen

great idea for a game... just great :-)

ashylarry5500
ashylarry5500

no!!!!!!!!!!!!!! not the X-plorer!!!!!! I play left handed and all left handed players know that it sucks to play that controller. the spike sticks right into your wrist. I do however have a ps2 controller adapter so i can use my old controller. damn X-plorer, they suck

torrne667
torrne667

sorry to burst jackandersons bubble, but, yes it will work on p.c. Has you not heard of the free-ware program/game called frets of fire? it works really well. and if you search around, there are guitar hero 1+2 songs downloadable to use on it. basically, free guitar hero!!

stix_bunny
stix_bunny

YEAH, THATS COOL. i was waiting for some guitar hero to go on the PC cuz i cant buy aconsole or wutheva. Also i think it will be better cuz there are always weird mods for PC games and not for consoles. And obviously say the same thing about those ******* who think it is stupid bring it to PC..........PLAY SHOOTERS WITH CONSOLE CONTROLLERS IS STUPID!!!!!!

i_got_you60
i_got_you60

wha rofl :)) it sounds kool but it wont work banging my keyboard like a guitar rfl but hey if its any good i might get it seeing i like rock :)

Terri_Terri
Terri_Terri

LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL, I crapped my pants when I heared this. For PC, Harmoix gets a 0/10 :D

sircyrus
sircyrus

Why is this coming to the PC? If people want this kind of game they can buy a console. Getting sick of all these multiplatform titles and ports. Developers need to get back to developing games DESIGNED for the PC. It's not supposed to offer the same gameplay as consoles.

DebeliRok
DebeliRok

haha, I'll hold my keyboard like a guitar...

pole211
pole211

Lol, I bet pirates are gonna have a field day with this when it comes out.

Dargoth
Dargoth

Yea, if they include song builder, like make your own song from an mp3, that would be great. And why do you think playing Guitar Hero on keyboard is stupid? Well I think it's much less stupid than playing first person shooters on gamepad...

Skrip_T
Skrip_T

Great idea, great addicting game, no need to buy a console.

Port5
Port5

Uhhh.... was this like the worst idea in history?....

onthe_dl
onthe_dl

you can plug in the 360 controller to pc, it sounds stupid to play it on your comp but i mean i have my pc hooked up to an hdtv so it looks better then any next gen console and think about the mods people will make, so many songs prob, if they throw in a song editor it's actually not a bad idea at all.

Kicken
Kicken

guitar hero is all about the guitar controller, without it, its just a lame rhythm game. sorry doesnt interest me at all

soul_alchemist0
soul_alchemist0

Why wouldn't it? In my life it'll work perfect, I have a Wii, cuz im a nintendo fanboy, and was originally getting it for Wii... buuuut now theres no DLC for Wii, and that means there will be DLC on PC. I'm getting it, and the controllers will work for 360 too, wich is also good cuz my freinds all have 360s lol

jackanderson
jackanderson

This won't work. I'm sorry but it won't.

AzureWind213
AzureWind213

playing this on a keyboard seems totally ridiculous, like playing DDR with a PSX controller. PLEASE, whoever buys this, play it with the guitar so you can keep your soul? Trust me, your kids will thank you someday

gamergee8
gamergee8

I would just like to add it is a fun game but really for the PC if you just play or in that matter just have a PC but what about for all of the kid's that got a ps2 just for this game you can bet there out there and what if they had PC's personal computer > and ask for a ps2 JUST for this game ! i am not bashing PC games at all hey that's how there made but just for the parents out there and so on but also with out my PC i could not go to gamspot.com!!!! so ill just wait to see how this game play's on PC B4 i say more

intotheshadowz
intotheshadowz

Good idea. Makes it easier to get more songs without having to rape your wallet.

R_O_N_X
R_O_N_X

wht a load of bull c r a pi love gh but if there going to keep milking it to the point of udder dryness its pathetic...... why are people pumping out ****ty console ports to the pc ... the pc is a baisi on which most if not all new idea for games first blossom

metaled2912
metaled2912

how the hell? why not just make a keyboard hero? or a sitar hero? though a usb guitar would sound nice :D

momosauky
momosauky

does anybody know where to downlaod frets on fire or if you buy from where and howmuch

tai_chi_rabbit
tai_chi_rabbit

Give it a few years, and we'll be looking at graphics this good on our consoles (salivates all over new keyboard)

kave-man007
kave-man007

i wish the graphics werent this this good now im jelous

automatic_havoc
automatic_havoc

The PC version will be going on both my desktop and macbook pro... woot.

Wakey652
Wakey652

sound very interesting, hope it ends up as good as the console versions

mailbox2112
mailbox2112

sweet. still getin it for th 360 though

NX75
NX75

All the good of the console versions with the ability to create and download custom songs? It's the best version there is. Unless you just HAVE to play in your living room, of course.

mindless1987
mindless1987

that is completely awsome, now i just have to decide whether to get it for the 360, wii or pc, desicions desicions, or how about all three ;)

gamerboy100
gamerboy100

I tried Frets On Fire and I had difficulty playing it because there was lag between the audio and video. Let's just hope GHIII doesn't have that problem. BTW, am I the only one that noticed that they didn't mention whammy bar controls or possible splitscreen multiplayer like in the console games?

DonutTrooper
DonutTrooper

Frets on fire with a USB Xbox 360 Guitar controller, free songs, and the ability to make your own, anyone?

djdna514
djdna514

i think the keyboard controls will really suck. mouse and keyboard for guitar hero? yuck. at least frets did it right utilizing the keyboard as a type of guitar. I'm sure the controls will be assignable, but it kinda takes the fun out of guitar hero. FoF has been fun to play, GH3 will be awesome, because at least there is a little more excitement to the stages, audiences and etc. I still play FoF but when GH3 comes out i will def be picking it up.

Avalanche2500
Avalanche2500

I have read the whole ten pages of peoples comments on GH3 and I think that there is a dispute between people who like FoF and those who like GH and since one is open source and one is sold for profit I would expect that GH would look more fancy with better graphics and stability then something that has grown from the Open Source community. Since GH was created explicitly for the console it didn't have to worry about what type of resources it had to work with like FoF did since most 360's are like other 360's and have a set amount of RAM the only reason FoF usually lags is because of a lack of RAM which makes windows use virtual memory and since that is stored on a hard drive it would be slower than actual RAM even if All you have is SCSI drives it still isn't as fast as RAM so that makes FoF lag a little on older PC's. I have found that FoF usually works just fine on a PC with A 512 MB of System RAM and a 128 MB Video Card. MY geForce 7300 LE does great with it but my sis can still Play it with her Riva 128 M64 and and 128 Mb of system RAM so, I like that FoF can be played on a vast variety of systems. I like that GH3 won't be DX10 because then You would have to get vista and nobody I know is having a great time with Vista. I have played both games and I love both games and I even though I only own FoF I think that people who play FoF and People who play GH should live together in perfect Guitar Emulation Harmony.

greendayrocksss
greendayrocksss

I think I am going to stick with the console version for my main playing, but it would be just awesome to take a laptop and the guitar controller onto an airplane!

DJLouToronto
DJLouToronto

yeah the idea of guitar hero on my laptop, that I can bring wherever, gets me excited for this title.

thesaxmaniac
thesaxmaniac

THIS IS AWESOME!! I was going to buy a 360 for this and Halo 3, but now, almost everything is on pc! I'll just have to wait a long time for Halo. And by the way, anyone who thinks that playing this on a keyboard will be even remotely fun, it isn't. Just pony up the extra cash and get the guitar. SO much more fun that way.

hockey15LSW
hockey15LSW

I am so happy. i played on console and rocked. i am so happy guitar hero came to recognize us pc players need. OH i cant wait!~!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

redmetal86
redmetal86

@zeforgotten: i do, and im not the only one. even when i adjust the offset, it still lags a little