Guitar Hero Metallica

It isn’t only through wearing a sweaty bobble-encrusted suit that Metallica’s elder statesmen have helped with the project though – with Hetfield’s guidance ensuring that the game stands as a testament to the fans as much as it does the band. For example, the more chronological and Aerosmith-focused nature of GH’s former band-specific output has been ditched at his command – replaced by a Career mode that has you and your friends plucked from obscurity to open for Metallica in one of Guitar Hero’s beautifully conceived rock-heavy animated sequences.

As such, each venue you play has your gang playing the various ‘inspiration’ tracks provided in the game (Bob Seger, Judas Priest, etc.), while taking control of Metallica to blast out their own hits. It’s far more about the band experience, and as such, boss battles and the like have been firmly placed outside on the venue’s backstage doorstep. Those who’ve already downloaded Death Magnetic for World Tour, meanwhile, will be glad to hear that they’re all fully compatible with the game (one of them already being on the track list), and half of the Death Magnetic track list syncs with individually motion-captured performances in-game.

As for where you’ll be playing, well there’s a mix of those designed specifically from the band’s most cherished gigs and tours and those designed by Neversoft to reflect the themes and imagery of different album artwork (the Master of Puppets graveyard, perhaps, or the blind Justice statue on And Justice for All). What’s more, seeing as Metallica play in-the-round in arenas as a matter of course, six of their songs have been motion captured and recreated to reflect this, including stand-out hits like For Whom the Bell Tolls, The Unforgiven and Master of Puppets.

As for the most visually spectacular location – well, the Los Angeles forum is nice and all, but the recreation of the Moscow Tushino Airfield on which Metallica played on the Monsters of Rock tour in front of 500,000 people – well that’s just beautiful. Soviet soldiers hold the crowd back, red-starred trucks sit in the crowd and military helicopters hover overhead while the crowd goes wild – it’s a great recreation of what Metallica hold as one of their greatest gigs. What’s more, seeing as one of Lars Ulrich’s favourite venues is Donington, hopefully we’ll get to see some metal crunched on home turf in some of the arenas that Neversoft are choosing not to reveal as yet.

As mentioned before though, accuracy is everything – from speaker placement, to the gear the band wears to the look and feel of the light shows. Everything has been ratified by gig recordings, set design schematics, discussions with rabidly enthusiastic fan clubs and the uncannily detailed recollections of Lars Ulrich. A deal, meanwhile has been signed with lead singer and rhythm guitarist James Hetfield’s favoured manufacturer ESP – meaning that an almighty number of guitars are waiting to be unlocked alongside the official T-shirts and Metallica paraphernalia that you can dress your support artist up in. In fact, Hetfield’s most famous guitar, the ESP Truckster, has been sampled for any tracks you create yourself in the GH Music Studio, alongside the bass guitar of the second-most-famous ESP user – Tom Araya of Slayer.

Simon was once a freelance games journalist with bylines at publications including GamesRadar. He is now a content designer at DWP Digital - aka the Department for Work and Pensions.