Who says you have to grow up? Here at SI.com's Game Room, our staffers review the latest sports video game titles to hit the market and welcome your feedback.
11/15/2007 11:12:00 AM
Guitar Hero 3 (All systems)
Guitar Hero 3
Reviewed By Aaron Samus
Image Credit: RedOctane
Things We Like
For Those About To Rock: The Guitar Hero franchise has managed to transcend the traditional video gamer audience in much the same way the Wii is reaching out to a wider audience of people seeking entertainment. GH1 and GH2 were a welcome respite from a never-ending tide of shooters, platform titles and otherwise repetitive genres. So how does the third installment of the storied franchise hold up? Pretty damn well.
Pour Some Sugar On Me: The path to guitar greatness starts and ends with your axe. Thankfully GH3 delivers big time on this front with a wireless guitar designed Gibson Les Paul. The guitar is pretty solid as you hold it (shoulder-strap included) which really helps with the immersion of the game as you rip up the songs. It features a detachable faceplate but there's nothing stopping you from dropping stickers on it and making it all about your inner rock god. The neck detaches for increased portability so it's even easier to rock out with your friends.
Image Credit: RedOctane
Master and Servant: Prior versions of Guitar Hero have featured covers for many of the songs you perform in the game. Guitar Hero 3 notably increases the total amount of master tracks (by the original artists) within its' meaty 70-plus song soundtrack. Jamming to the likes of Miss Murder (AFI), Anarchy in the UK (Sex Pistols) and Cult of Personality (Living Colour) just isn't the same if the vocals aren't legit.
Road To Nowhere: Career mode is the centerpiece of the single-player experience. Basically you create a band name and hop from venue to venue playing songs to open up new stages and a few challenges along the way (like taking on rock legend Slash). This is mostly window dressing as the game drives you towards completing each song with the highest rating (five stars). Regardless of the skill level you play at -- there are four -- getting five stars for all songs is really the game. Xbox 360 fans might be disappointed with the overly stingy and numerous achievements.
So Happy Together: Co-op in Guitar Hero 3 is excellent. Whether you're rocking against someone in the room (we highly recommend career co-op) or taking your licks online (a new feature) -- it's all good. The Face Off mode where you play alternating portions of a song in an attempt to win the song is also very addictive and it allows you to trash talk your opponent.
Check out some head-to-head action performed to Tenacious D's The Metal:
Bonus Video: Here's a link to a recent South Park episode that takes on Guitar Hero phenomenon. It's classic. Enjoy.
Things We'd Change
Jukebox Hero: It would be really cool if you could import the songs from GH2 into the game -- a real value add for loyal buyers of the franchise that could potentially drive backward sales as well. (Perhaps if they could verify ownership of the GH2 disc somehow via online registration of serial numbers to unlocking track access in later games?).
I'm Looking Through You: OK, maybe I'm looking right at the you, GH3 design team. C'mon, it's time for a new look to the game. We've seen enough of the between-gig animations that look like they were pulled off a Gorillaz CD cover. And the animations and style for many of your on-stage band mates are right out of a burlesque revue featuring hookers from the point and GWAR rejects.
Heat Of The Moment: Occasionally there's a frame rate hitch when you invoke star power. It's not a really big deal but it can throw your rhythm off -- which is a good way to tank a note or two.
She Sells Sanctuary: And she or he also is open to selling product placements without fear in Guitar Hero 3. If after a midnight jam you feel overcome by the urge to dose yourself on Red Bull, hop into a Pontiac for a road trip with Axe's Bom Chicka Wah Wah girls, then you too may need to consult your physician about advertisement overload. You've been warned.
While My Guitar Gently Weeps: (Yeah, I know that's two Beatles songs!) The folks that originally developed the GH franchise are the same people working on EA's upcoming Rock Band game that will feature guitar, drums and singing. How will the Guitar Hero people respond? Stay tuned.
Come for the guitar but stay for the game. Fans of the Guitar Hero franchise won't want to pass on the new wireless guitar and all the new songs. Right now you can buy just the game if you really love being wired, but the wireless guitar is currently not available for standalone purchase.
Head-to-head matches against another player get seriously intense, and the Wii remote gets your whole body moving. Once you’re a few dozen shots into a volley, the urge to win gets downright primal.
The motion controls generally work well, even if they don’t work the way you might expect. Suffice it to say that the game is great fun once you find a preferred control scheme and get acclimated to the controls.
At 40 bucks, the cost of entry is relatively low.
Table Tennis in action:
Things We'd Change
You’d expect Table Tennis to be the ideal game for the Wii remote since it’s about the size and shape as a ping-pong paddle. The possibilities are awesome -- you can easily imagine twisting your wrist to put English on the ball -– but the reality is disappointing. You can swing the remote at any point during your opponent’s return volley and your player will hit the ball automatically. The placement of the ball is dependent on the direction you swing, but not at all the force you put behind it or the way you twist the remote. You put spin on the ball with the directional pad, which is not only awkward, but antithetical to the whole Wii concept. If ever a game should be controlled entirely through motion controls, it’s Table Tennis.
Graphically, the game is a disappointment next to the Xbox 360 version. The cool cloth physics and detailed textures and sweat from the original version are missed here. Obviously, the Wii can’t do HD graphics, but it’s hard not to compare the muddy look of the Wii version with the crisp details of the aging 360 version.
Once again, online play is sorely missed on the Wii, even more so because the older 360 version pulled it off so successfully.
Table Tennis is a tough game to review because it has to compete with both the Xbox 360 version as well as Wii Sports tennis. There’s nothing groundbreaking about either the graphics or the gameplay, and, as modern games go, it’s a pretty spartan experience. That said, it’s a fun diversion if you have a second person to play with and are looking for a more fast-paced experience than Wii Sports. It’s just too bad that the extra year didn’t bring more enhancements to the game and that the developers didn’t use the Wii controller to its fullest extent.