|Developer(s)||Neversoft, Vicarious Visions (Wii)|
|Platform(s)||PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3,Wii, Xbox 360,Microsoft Windows,Mac OS X|
|Release date||November 23, 2007|
|Distribution||Blu-ray, DVD, Wii Optical Disc|
Liam: They say every generation has a ‘sound’. The electronic synthesiser dominated the late 70s, the wail of the electric guitar signified the dawning of rock and roll in the 50’s and the ‘clackity clack’ of plastic guitars will in future be heralded as the emergence of the Guitar Hero generation.
The game is simple really, as the popular music piece plays you need to strum the plastic guitar while pressing the corresponding coloured button on the neck of the guitar, in time with the music. This simple concept beguiles the often fiendish difficulty of the game. Sadly this version of game only has compatibility to play as a guitarist. Future games had the opportunity to play as the whole band. Drunken caterwauling to various classic rock tunes being one of my new favourite hobbies.
The version we are playing – Guitar Hero 3 – has a fairly decent soundtrack consisting of over 70 songs including tracks by bands like Rage against the machine, The Strokes and Pearl Jam. This is further supplemented by a massive catalogue of DLC. Many of these songs can be carried forward to subsequent versions of the game. For example my copy of Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock (the last in the franchise) has a track list of over 500 songs taken from previous games and DLC. The genre had multiple spin-offs of Guitar Hero and the rival game Rock Band, with licensed games by Green Day, the Beatles, Metallica and Aerosmith and even a keyboard instrument. Sadly Guitar Hero is on hiatus with no games planned for release in the near future. I am hoping that there will be another game release one day though.
Joel has played a hell of a lot of this game. He was one of the few people who played this game so much that they could have actually learnt the guitar to a decent level – realised this – and started to learn guitar to a decent level. I think because of this he probably hasn’t played a lot of guitar hero since then and I am hoping that his real world guitar ability will hamper his guitar hero skills. I very much doubt it though and while I at my best could muddle through on hard difficulty, Joel will be performing admirably on Expert difficulty. I think the plan is to play through a co-op career and try and get through as many songs as we can. Even if I am terrible, at least I can enjoy the music!
Joel: Where to begin here..? I picked this up the day it was released, with great anticipation. I’d played it in the arcade, or at least an earlier version of it and I’m a fan of most music that could be classified under the very large umbrella of “rock” so this was a no-brainer. I still remember (I know, it wasn’t that long ago!!) putting the guitar together for the first time, the internal (and external, as Rachael had paid for half) debate over where to stick the stickers, the excitement as the various splash-ads for the different producer flipped by… Then I saw the setlist – tracks by bands like Disturbed, Pearl Jam and Dragonforce – I was fit to bust.
So with joy in my heart I fired up the career mode, the first song started and then it hit me. I knew immediately how the guys in Peter’s band in Family Guy felt when they open their band’s first set only to realise they had neglected to actually learn any songs! (season 4 ep 4) I Was a dismal failure. The video crowd booed me off stage before I knew what was what. Bummer man. My second attempt (at Slow Ride by Foghat in case you’re interested) was little better. By now, Rachael had understandably become impatient – nobody likes seeing what a loser their other half is – so I reluctantly handed the big plastic guitar over to her and watched her get through the song without much trouble at all. The video crowd went nuts. This won’t do. The game must be faulty.
Being the man I am, I continued to blame the game, the controller, the sofa, New Labour, until I set the thing into left handed mode and then it all clicked into place. I went from strength to strength (as, I should point out, did Rachael who is one of a very small number of people I know who can occasionally beat me) and before long I was playing on Expert. Many nights were spent playing this until way too late and many subsequent days were spent in considerable pain. Blisters were involved on occasion. This was a little bit like being in a real band! (only a little bit mind)
This game was actually responsible for making me get off my backside and learn the real guitar which, for the record, I do NOT play left handed. So yeah. I owe this game a lot. It had a real, measurable impact on my life. I’ve since bought and played just about every sequel and spin-off, with the exception of DJ Hero that is.. and have now graduated to Rocksmith, which in case you don’t know, allows you to use your own real guitar (or bass) to play along with real songs in a very real way. Anyone interested in learning the guitar should pick up a copy of Rocksmith, its very good, but this isn’t about Rocksmith.
So predictions then. I’m not known for being arrogant but this is the game for me. My absolute, undisputable grand slam. This is my Brian Lara ’96. Sorry dude…