Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock
Will success spoil rock gaming?
Platforms: Mac, PC, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii
To sell out, or not to sell out?
Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock asks the eternal question with pierced tongue wedged firmly in cheek. Again the game tracks the rags-to-vintage-designer-rags trajectory of the lead shredder in the mother of all cover bands. With a plastic, guitar-shaped controller in hand, players strum their way through a playlist brimming with classic rockers, alternative hits and beloved metal anthems. The game’s controller still makes pulling off solos, nailing chord progressions and ﬁngering hammer-ons feel sweet. And new “boss battles” against celebrity axe-wielders like Tom Morello and Slash offer just enough innovation to conﬁrm that the keepers of the Guitar Hero ﬂame aren’t resting on their laurels.
But at times it feels like the game would rather play it safe than play it loud. Finger-scorching obscurities like DragonForce’s “Through the Fire and Flames” feel more rare, while bona ﬁde hits ala “Sabotage” by The Beastie Boys and GN’R’s “Welcome to the Jungle” prevail. And that plot line about selling your soul for rock ’n’ roll? Product placement from Red Bull and Pontiac—and some soulless, ultra-corporate rock rag called Paste—sorta undermines that particular sentiment. Most will be too busy melting faces, however, to ponder such moral quandaries. Because when it comes down to it, living the rock ’n’ roll fantasy in your living room continues to be way more fun than it ought to be.