Guitar Hero 5 review

  • Party-tastic Jukebox mode
  • Song-specific challenges
  • Competitive RockFest mode
  • Some lame guest stars
  • DLC is pricey
  • No songs from The Beatles

Guitar Hero returns to the party once again – this time with a bang so loud it’d burst the ear drums of even the hardest of rockers. Last year, it managed to cement its place as the music game of choice for expert players thanks to some crazily difficult note charts and a comprehensive Studio mode for would-be composers everywhere. This year, those gamers are still catered to, but there’s a friendlier mode designed for parties and casual strummers, drummers and warblers too.

We love nothing more than a good play-along to our favourite tracks, but often nobody’s brave enough to sing. Inevitably that means only three musicians on the go at one time with another person sitting doing nothing. But no more. We’ll admit to scoffing back when Guitar Hero 5’s big secrets turned out to be the ability to have up to four people playing the same part and a drop-in/drop-out mode, but they genuinely revolutionize party play. And don’t even get us started on the fantastic new competitive RockFest mode. Rock Band – the ultimate party game up until now – has nothing on this.

Those after a more tangible and rewarding experience from Guitar Hero will find a revamped career mode that ticks every box. Every song boasts unique challenges to complete before the game can ever be called close to finished, and with the ability to import songs from World Tour, Greatest Hits, the forthcoming Band Hero and plenty of downloadable content (DLC) as well, nobody is likely to completely finish it before Guitar Hero 6 rolls around.

The nuts and bolts of career mode work a little differently this time. Last year, each song had a maximum of five stars. Now, that maximum is a hefty nine. The sixth is handed out for ‘Perfect’ ratings, while the other three are challenges for specific parts of specific instruments. It’ll say the maximum is eight and display a silver star until the 100% note streak is hit. Every track also comes with its own fact about either the song or the band. Did you know Coldplay’s Chris Martin was a zombie in Shaun of the Dead? Nah, us neither. Complete the tasks and new kit is yours. For instance, it could be a shiny new outfit for your character to wear.

Strutting around the stage, this time with our Avatars on show, would be boring if there weren’t some killer new songs to rock to. Thankfully, the track list features some incredibly strong songs from stars such as Nirvana and T.Rex to Elton John, Dire Straits and Queen. There’s genuinely something for everybody, and it doesn’t matter if everybody includes people new to the series, as there’s now finally both No Fail Mode and Band Rescue options to fall back on for anybody who needs to learn the basics. Plug in, tune up and start rocking. This is one gig you don’t want to miss.

Sep 9, 2009

More Info

Release date: Sep 01 2009 - PS2, Wii, PS3, Xbox 360 (US)
Sep 11 2009 - PS2, Wii (UK)
Available Platforms: PS2, Wii, PS3, Xbox 360
Genre: Other Games/Compilations
Published by: RedOctane, Activision
Developed by: Vicarious Visions, Neversoft, Budcat Creations
Franchise: Guitar Hero
ESRB Rating:
Teen: Mild Lyrics, Mild Suggestive Themes
PEGI Rating:
Rating Pending


  • jwolf182 - November 1, 2009 4:08 a.m.

    @drprofessor & 7bdub7 It's neither of those reasons, it's wrong because it's against everything Kurt stood against, and of course a dumb bitch like Courtney Love would allow them to add him into the game.
  • dameyn - September 10, 2009 9:39 p.m.

    damn i was going to pass on this because i thought it would be more of activisions 're-makes' of guitar hero that would suck balls but apparently they've put lots of effort into this one to fix whats wrong also sneaky first sed ;)
  • drprofessor - September 10, 2009 6:29 a.m.

    understudybass. While it's true Kurt is in the game, it doesnt detract from the game. Sure maybe they shouldnt have put him in there but not buying it because he is is very, very childish. I dont see Johnny Cash fans in an outrage. What about Hendrix before? Yeah no one complained. It's a great game and ONE person being in it shouldnt take away form that fact. dont be a baby. Give the game a try.
  • understudybass - September 10, 2009 1:57 a.m.

    I'm boycotting this game because they raped Kurt. Otherwise i'd buy it.
  • ironman5 - September 23, 2009 12:35 a.m.

    I've looked, but I haven't found an anwer yet. Do rockband 2 instruments work with guitar hero 5 and van halen guitar hero?
  • mrandydixon - September 14, 2009 10:54 p.m.

    I just have to cross my fingers that Rock Band 3 incorporates some of these (admittedly awesome) new features, because I've got way too much $$$ invested in RB DLC to switch allegiances at this point...
  • aboli - September 12, 2009 11:42 p.m.

    i dunno how this got a 9, I mean its the same game as 4,
  • 7bdub7 - September 12, 2009 3:21 a.m.

    @drprofessor He said they raped kurt because in game he is right handed. This looks good I might pick it up.
  • NEGSAP - September 11, 2009 9:31 a.m.

    this game looks sick! i had i look at the song list i was plesently serprised with some of the songs like three doors down and so on this will appeal to a larger ordience and will sell my copies in my opinion. the old guitar hero games did have a lot of older songs which where good but with some more modern rock songs more of the younger ordience will bye this game.
  • hiyohi55 - September 10, 2009 4:03 a.m.

    what the fuck ever, guitar hero stopped being cool after the second game. the rest have just been predictable shit
  • Corsair89 - September 9, 2009 7:43 p.m.

    This is a maybe for me. I still have other games to buy before this.
  • sed598 - September 9, 2009 7:11 p.m.

    This is good to here this maybe the FIRST guitar hero game that seems good after GH3 and GH:Metallica it seems that i will go pick this up Recaptcha:Mrs.Smelter

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