Get ready to rock with the third full installment of the pop culture phenomenon known as the Guitar Hero Series, this time on the Nintendo Wii. For those unfamiliar with the series, you strum a plastic guitar with five differently colored buttons in various patterns as waves of notes fly down a treadmill, in relation to the music.
The first thing you will notice upon opening the box is guitar. In relation to past official GH controllers, this looks more like a real guitar than a cheap plastic toy. Resembling the legendary Gibson Les Paul, the guitar comes with the ability to change faceplates to give a more customized feel, with the plates usually promoting bands like the Sex Pistols and Rage Against the Machine. The guitar is weighted perfectly and buttons are a smooth as butter, which is especially handy when you start on the very fast songs and harder difficulties. There is a small cubbyhole for your Wiimote, from which the "Wrong Note" noise comes from, adding to the realism and experience. However, some of my friends have told that, like previous incarnations, stickers put on the buttons and overly vicious use of the whammy bar can break them and keep them from functioning. Also, the new detachable neck can apparently cause the buttons to not work, but that hasn't happened to me yet. Lastly, it only comes bundled with one guitar, and you can't buy individual ones. You can't even buy 3rd party ones yet!
Now in a rhythm game, the soundtrack is literately what the game is based around. The soundtrack this one is very good. The include classics (The Rolling Stones, Mountain) and the new kids on the block (Killswitch Engage, Weezer). The songs also range from pop to puck to even metal, showing a well rounded genre taste. And, for the first time in a Guitar Hero series, the songs actually grow progressively harder the further down the list you go. For example, you start easy (Pat Benatar's Hit Me with Your Best Shot and Senses Fail's Can't Be Saved) to ungodly difficult shredfests (Slayer's Raining Blood and the 7 minute, speed metal epic of Dragonforce's Through the Fire and Flames). My only beef with the set list it includes no name bands who I've never even heard of, and they aren't even that good (LA Slum Lords anybody? Anybody?). Not to take away from the fact that there are a few no name gems in here (Like the Scouts of St. Sebastian's In Love or An Endless Sporadic's Impulse). Another beef I have is the Wii's inability to have downloadable content like the Xbox and PS3. But that, aside a solid set list none the less.
Then there's the graphics and visuals. The Wii version doesn't that the same flare and HD ability of its Xbox360 and PS3 counterparts, but I does have that much more mature look that this game should have. Past games were too cartoonish and bizarre. One thing I hate about it is its blatant product advertising, like unlocking stuff in a virtual Guitar Center or seeing a pack of 5 Gum while browsing the songs. Advertising for the companies that make the guitars how ever his restrained to just putting them on the names, but that's fine. In this game however, you will spend much more time looking at the notes on the treadmill than the backgrounds, so graphics in this game are not a big deal.
But I know what you're saying. "But Troggie, what about the gameplay? Doesn't gameplay make them game?!" And you would be right. The gameplay is just as addictive as ever, and it WILL hook you to thrash down songs on higher and higher difficulties. There is enough meat her to keep pros advancing and practicing to take down the final songs and for newbies to work up on. Co-op mode is still here and bass/rhythm lines are still much easier than their lead counterparts. A new mode is the Battle Mode, where while shredding the tracks against others, instead of star power and getting more points than them, you now have to get Mario Kart-style power ups to make you opponents fail. Some of these include Difficulty Up, Whammy (opponent must whammy to continue to play), Double Notes, and Left Flip (Green is now on the right and orange is on the left, and so on). Much improved over other versions. Also, online play is here. The connection are usually fluid and work with out fail, except when you lose connections, but that falls on the Wii's problem, and not the game. However the excessively large Friend codes, no chatting ability, and no menu-style game selection to choose games is a nuisance, but not a bad first go. Another problem is the fact that in Battles and Face Offs, those on lower difficulties will beat you, and online, n00bs will purposely go on a lower difficulty to win. And the fact that when you beat the game, you're done; that's pretty much it. But overall, it's a great game, alone or at a party.
So does this game meet expectations? Yes. Does it exceed them? No. Overall it's a solid game but Nintendo's inability and general stubbornness to move with times in respects to graphics and online capabilities keep this overall game from really shining. Hopefully they can fix these problems on GHIV and the upcoming Guitar Hero: On Tour for the Nintendo DS.
***As of February 2008, you can buy individual guitars, but the 3rd party ones still don't exist.
Replay Value: N/A
[Edited by Pikaboo]
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