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| Guitar Hero 3 - The thing that should not be (UPDATED) (5 comments )|
by: Beefysworld (290) | Posted in cluster AMD Contest Group
Posted 67 months ago ( edited 67 months ago ) in category DEFAULT
The Guitar Hero series has been a run away success for Red Octane and Harmonix. The first 2 games of the series have set the standard for modern rhythm gaming in homes around the world. With two hit games under their belts, you’d assume the series was safe for a third game... You’d be wrong. When Harmonix moved away from the GH series after GH2 (including their work in the less than great 80’s Encore pack), Red Octane teamed up with Neversoft, and all their Tony Hawk series experience, to bring out the new GH game. Perhaps that wasn’t the best idea.
The first major change you’ll notice is the visuals. Harmonix took their engine and user interface with them when they left, so Neversoft had to develop a whole new game engine to work with. Not surprisingly, it ended up looking and feeling mostly like the original GH setup. Unfortunately, the buttons scrolling down the screen aren’t as defined as before, making fast note combinations more difficult. At times, you’ll also notice the amount of time you have to hit each note is considerably bigger. You can be poor at timing in the game and still manage to hit notes. This comes to a head later as your poor timing skills will see you failing song after song on higher difficulties.
There’s now also a rather annoying ‘streak counter’. The counter itself is located under the score / multiplier box, which is fine. However, every time you get a 50 / 100 / 200 / etc. streak, the words will flash up in the middle of the screen and you’ll more than likely be distracted from concentrating on the song. Not the best thing in a game which requires you to pay constant attention. Some users with more than the minimum PC requirements are also experiencing horrendous lag, which again is a major issue in a rhythm game.
In terms of other visuals, the game still looks a little like a cheesy PS2 upgrade. From huge jawed singers to ‘over enhanced’ female guitarists, the graphics seem to be more of an afterthought than anything. Each crowd has about 3 or 4 different models, all scattered around and mimicking the same actions over and over. The small animated clips between each set in the career mode don’t really lend itself to the game that well either.
The gameplay itself follows the same principles as the first – you play along to songs on your little plastic guitar and fun ensues. It’s fairly simple. The reward of the game is the satisfaction of being able to play along to the songs yourself, without spending months learning how to play a real instrument. That feeling is still prevalent in GH3, but you soon start getting frustrated.
In the previous games, the progression of songs as you play along will gradually become more challenging. Beginners will slowly work their way through the easier songs on Easy (using three of the coloured buttons) until they can manage to complete the set, only to have to learn all over again with the fourth and fifth button in higher difficulties. In GH3, the first 35 songs are all relatively the same difficulty, after which you get slapped silly by the last couple sets. Songs like ‘Raining Blood’ by Slayer will literally hurt you and make you pull out your hair.
The introduction of ‘boss battles’ was also poorly implemented. You’ll come across three famous bosses during the game – Tom Morello (RATM), Slash (Guns n Roses) and Lou (the Devil). You duel the boss characters and use special attacks to try make them fail before you do. In theory, it was a great idea. In reality, it failed. The first two bosses are pushovers in difficulty. The Devil is evil. You’ll find yourself trying again and again to beat the guy that simply never misses a note. Attacks that help you beat the others will be futile against him. It’s more by sheer luck than skill that you’ll win.
The song choice in GH3 disappoints too. While a few are interesting and fun to play, the majority seem to involve simple, repetitive sections you play over and over again. There are more original soundtracks in GH3 than the previous games, but it doesn’t make up for the poor playlist. The few saving graces (One, Cliffs of Dover, Paranoid, Through the Fire and Flames) do start to grow old after a while as well.
Multiplayer is OK if you’ve got a friend in the same room. Co-op or versus battles can be enjoyable. If you’re looking at playing online – forget it. The matchmaking system will work 1 in 20 times you try it. Lag doesn’t seem to be an issue, once you actually manage to find someone to connect to. Co-op players will be fighting over the lead guitar, as the majority of bass parts (bar the very few which have a rhythm guitar) make a great cure for insomnia.
Verdict: It’s a case of one step forward, two steps back for GH3. If you’ve enjoyed the series so far, be wary – things may disappoint. If you’re new to the series, you’ll probably love it as your first GH experience.
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