Oct 29, 2007
Guitar Hero is at a crossroads in its musical career. Its breakout indy release stunned the masses; its major-label debut (GH2) was another smash hit. Then things got a little tougher, with a questionable EP (Encore: Rocks the 80s) and the departure of its famed producer (Harmonix). But at the end of the day, Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock proves that it is, in fact, all about the music.
With all the changes to the formula (more on them later) the actual gameplay remains relatively untouched. You're still strumming and color-coded button-pressing along with rock anthems - either working your way through the lengthy career mode or headlining your party.
Legends of Rock stays true to its name with actual guitar deities in Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello and Guns 'n' Roses' Slash, whom you face in boss battles. The fact that it's really their likenesses and freestyle riffing adds to the cream-dream package, but you'll be glad these encounters are limited, as they can irritate: You must defeat them before time is up.
GH veterans will notice a dip in difficulty here, for better or worse. It also feels like earlier tracks aren't "training" you for tougher songs like they have in the past. New developer Neversoft is higher on unconventional time signatures and fast shredding than rhythmic bliss or double chords. On medium difficulty, you won't run into a blue/red combo until 2/3 through. We're still waiting to see whammy use elevated to the point where it's actually worth using.