Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock - game review

Date: 2007-12-11 15:14:00
The review was based on the X360 version. Also applies to the PS3 version

Press the appropriate button at the right moment. Oh, the whole ideology of video games condensed into one sentence. Well, maybe not entirely. Some require a bit of thinking, and the act of pushing (although still crucial!) Remains theoretically pushed to the background. It does not change the fact that by doing the same thing over and over again - by bending the fingers - the player is able to do everything. Is it to save the world, or to build a city, or simply to realize yourself in simple, rhythmic games like Dance Dance Revolution or Indigo Prophecy (hehe). And the last ones seem to be the most honest if you look at the matter from this side. Button pressing as an end in itself? It won't. But what if the purpose of pressing was to become a rock star? Hm.

This is the idea behind the Guitar Hero series. An idea so simple that it is surprising that no one has figured it out before - and if they did, why don't we know about it. The trick is to disguise the rain as a musical instrument and recreate some very elementary mechanisms of its operation. Well, we will not explain that the game is about hitting the right buttons, ah, frets on the fingerboard. You can see it with the naked eye. What is not visible, however, is that the simulation of a real guitar goes a bit beyond the shape of the housing.

The left hand rests on the fingerboard - consisting of five colored buttons - while the right hand is responsible for the "strings". There is only one pendulum for the latter. Each of his movements is understood as playing the sounds on which our fingers rest: single or combined into chords. The mechanics of this quirk is similar to playing a single string on a real instrument. If only because of the fact that only the highest held threshold counts. If we are to play a blue note, we do not have to let go of the fingers that are resting on the green, red and yellow. This knowledge is helpful at higher levels of difficulty, as is the awareness of legato (called pull-off or hammer-on by rockers, depending on the direction of movement on the fingerboard). Summarizing: no one will learn to play here, but they can get a very general idea of what the matter is. Someone who already knows it will have a lot easier.

Lest there be any doubts, the game gives us absolutely no freedom in artistic expression. Our task is to mechanically recreate the paths written on the "staff". Saved, let us note, with a great deal of cunning and thoughtfulness. Especially in the case of chords and rhythmic parts in general - you can learn a few rhythmic curiosities. The solo parts, on the other hand, are a little thoughtless, synthetic infusion, downright terrifying at higher difficulty levels. If you want realism, try playing Black Magic Woman by Santany or Cherub Rock Smashing Pumpkins. These are not difficult pieces, and they give an excellent feeling of "being" in music. And if you're masochists, pore over this damn Dragonforce. Respect altogether.

Whenever we hit the set thresholds, the guitar sounds gracefully and rightly. When we miss a lame "prrrrf" sound. Seemingly simple, yet unearthly mobilizing to correctness. Since we're at creativity, let's mention the inability to create our own parts and interpret the existing ones (no delaying sounds or deliberate omissions). There are also absolutely no differences between the pieces played on individual difficulty levels (which is obvious, but I dreamed that it would be a blast - to play audibly more complicated things, not just more colorfully written on buttons).

What is very important, the guitar was made noticeably better than the controllers for the previous parts of the series. In the box there is a set of frivolous stickers, with the help of which we can adjust its appearance to our taste. We still have 5 pastel buttons on the neck, a lever to pull the strings and keys that control the game interface itself - start, back, d-pad, as well as the obligatory system button to open the console dashboard. While the quality of materials and finishing increased, all assumptions remained the same. In terms of design, this is a clear impasse, especially when compared to the competition under the Rock Banda flag. It's good though that its size and weight are satisfactory.

Nomen omen, the most important thing in this type of production is music. We are given a powerful and diverse soundtrack. We have a fairly faithful cross-section of the history of popular music, from the 1960s to the present day. Although the game is essentially embedded in a specific "sex, drugs and rock & roll" envelope, there are plenty of attractions for opponents of Guns N 'Roses. Let's add that the original performances are mixed here with covers (sometimes better, sometimes worse). Overall, the rating of the music is not relevant to the review of the game as such, so let's skip the arguments. It's best to stick to the version that most of the songs are hits that have stood the test of time - and make that your best recommendation. The only thing that draws attention downside is a slightly forced cocktail of various styles. At times, the track list is reminiscent of a shapeless Frankenstein, to whom someone has stuck Baeastie Boys on one side, and Slipknot on the other. For everyone, something nice, like, but fierce fans of both may get lost a bit anyway. Hope is to be found in the additional songs distributed via Xbox Live.

The main element of the game is the career mode, available both for a single guitarist and for a duo (coop where the other player is swinging the bass). Unfortunately, there was no cooperation via the Internet. But. Career is the only way to unlock most of the available songs, and quite skilfully guides us through the successive packages of songs with increasing difficulty level. The fun is very effectively made animated films, firmly embedded in the atmosphere of the music videos of the Gorillaz group. Story? How can it be. Garage guys have a career. If you watched the relevant episode of South Park, you know what it is about.

A certain variety to the career mode, and also a novelty for the series, are guitar battles. During the game, we will play only 3 of them - with Tom Morello, with Slash, and with a fictional final boss. For flawless performance of the selected parts of the path, we receive "attacks", such as increasing the opponent's difficulty level or doubling the sounds given to him. Such a gadget that will not fill the fun for a long time. It is all shallow and underdeveloped. Concentrate on your path, collect 3 attacks and hit your opponent with them simultaneously. Well, this is the beginning of the guide you have.

Playing Guitar Hero on a pad is a topic that is quite difficult to analyze. It is a cliche to say that it does not make any sense. Honestly, before the guitar hit the editorial office, I beat this game with the help of the standard Xbox controller (on Normal, kind of what). And, well, I'm alive. And I do not feel particularly humiliated by this fact. The only fact is that in such a situation the accents of the difficulty level are completely different. Playing with chords - delightful on a guitar - is almost impossible here, while solos are often noticeably better. This is because when playing the pad, we do not have a separate button responsible for striking the strings. We just press the appropriate combinations of 4 triggers, the rest just happens. 4? Well, yes, the fifth button appears only on Horde. While on the guitar it requires "only" a slightly more stretched little finger (and the ability to consciously move the hand one position on the fretboard), on the pad it was completely beyond me. The fifth fret is under the green button A.

There is something primal about this game, a kind of positive force that won't let you tear yourself away from it. Maybe it's a matter of skilful ambition, maybe a well-woven dream illusion - you're a rock star, don't disappoint your fans. The difficulty level is generally high, so for the most stubborn it can be a toy for weeks. Novices may suffer a bit for this, and at some point even give up. And the question remains - at what point will the illusion begin to splash? The creators of South Park again mercilessly hit the nail on the head. Maybe instead of focusing on mastering the highest difficulty level in Guitar Hero, it is worth noting some C major, sorry.

Krzysztof "Lordareon" Gonciarz