I'm not musically inclined at all. I can't read notes nor play any instruments. My music talents don't go beyond tapping my pen on my desk as I struggle with writer's block. But when I strap on a plastic electric guitar and press some colored buttons, I morph into a rock superstar.
Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock is the latest incarnation of the insanely popular series. If you've played any of the past games, you'll find that it's the same song and dance. Using your wireless, sweet-looking Gibson Les Paul controller, hit the right notes by flicking the strum bar while holding down on to the appropriate colored fret. Boost your score by activating your "Star Power" when it's available, or wa-wa-wa-ing your whammy bar like Jimi Hendrix. The better you play, the more money you earn towards fun frills such as new guitars, outfits, songs, and even videos. The Sex Pistols interview is particularly amusing.
GH III does have some cool additions. Boss Battles are in single-player Career Mode. After certain stages, a boss character will challenge you, two of which are real guitar gods Tom Morello and Slash. You're not limited to just playing better than your opponent to win anymore. Use special attacks such as cutting his strings or screwing up his whammy bar. When you defeat these bosses, they become playable characters. I only wish that there were more bosses. After all, the subtitle is "Legends of Rock," yet there are only two available. The game feels a bit incomplete with not having a Boss Battle after every stage. It would be great if more artists become involved in future Guitar Hero games as bosses. Can you imagine how fun it would be outriffing Stevie Ray Vaughn, Eddie Van Halen, or John Petrucci?
Not surprisingly, Battle Mode can also be played with human players, locally or online. Serve your buddies a plate of humiliation with a side order of sabotage, and wash it down with a glass of friendly trash talking. When you don't feel like being competitive (but where's the fun in that?), you can always have a jam session with a friend in Co-Op Career Mode, and unlock more songs while you're at it. You'll still have to flip a quarter though to decide who plays lead guitar and who plays bass (or rhythm guitar, depending on the song).
The available song choices in GH III are loads of fun and diverse. Classics like Cream's "Sunshine of Your Love," peppy 80s rock like Pat Benatar's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot," Rage Against the Machine's "Bulls on Parade," Pearl Jam's "Even Flow," The Beastie Boys' "Sabotage"…there's a little something for everybody. And unlike past Guitar Hero games, most of the music in GH III are by the original artists. "Anarchy in the UK" and "Cult of Personality" were re-recorded by the Sex Pistols and Living Colour because the master tracks were lost. When you've perfected these tunes or grow bored of them, you can unlock some more in-game, or download them from the PlayStation Store. When you're through with those, you can look forward to the upcoming sequel Aerosmith: Walk This Way.
So what are you waiting for? Set your TV volume to 11 and let the rocking commence!
Guitar Hero is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Lyrics and Mild Suggestive Themes. This game can also be found on: PlayStation 2, Xbox 360, and Wii