Guitar Hero: Metallica Hands-on
- Posted March 14th, 2009 at 04:03 EDT by
- 18 Comments
What could be cooler than heading out to San Francisco to party with Activision and Metallica? Probably nothing, but unfortunately the Metallica we partied with happened to be in the form of Guitar Hero. While this wasn’t a let down by any means, it would have been pretty awesome to sit down with Lars Ulrich and shred on a model guitar to Master of Puppets. On the flip side though, we were given an inside look at Activision’s upcoming Guitar Hero title, Guitar Hero: Metallica. Guitar Hero: Metallica, which releases at the end of March, is the second band-focused installment into the franchise, which follows somewhat closely on the heels of Guitar Hero: Aerosmith’s release last year.
Much like the Aerosmith iteration, Guitar Hero: Metallica is about catching the essence and soul of a band that has contributed so much to the music industry. For those of you who played GH: Aerosmith and are concerned about Neversoft being unable to truly grasp the essence of Metallica, your worries can be laid to rest. Surprisingly, after a slouchy debut in a band-centric offering, Neversoft has done an outstanding job in replicating Metallica to its fans with an unrivaled sense of authenticity and recreation of an actual live performances.
Metallica is widely known for its impressive drumming, guitar riff trade-offs between Hammett and Hetfield, and its memorable tunes which seem to last a lifetime. Neversoft was able to catch lightning in a bottle in regard to each of these aspects as the addition of the double-bass pedal, lead guitar/bass riff trades, and Metallica-based track list provide fans of the band as close to experiencing the real thing as virtually possible.
Neversoft achieved this by putting each member of Metallica through an extensive motion capturing process which is also documented and viewable from within the features menu in the game. The decision has lead to an unrivaled presentation that surpasses what we originally expected. From the band’s signature style of moves while playing to their gritty facial expressions, it was apparent that the development team was truly able to grasp every facet of Metallica in all of its glory.
The coolest addition to this version of Guitar Hero is without a doubt the new difficulty level for drummers called Expert Plus Mode. This difficulty level brings the entire experience to a higher level as a second bass pedal for the drummer is an essential tool to success. While the highway of notes are rapidly scrolling down the screen, the pedal depressions are anything but few and far between as rapid pedaling is not only a requirement, but a necessity if you want to top the leaderboards (or even pass the songs). While there was absolutely no way we could succeed in this mode of play, there were talented individuals at the event which were hitting 94-96% success rates which left a lot of onlookers impressed to say the least.
Guitar Hero: Metallica's campaign mode is a giant step forward for the franchise. The mode itself takes the direction of an obsessive cover band that wants to follow in Metallica’s footsteps and have the opportunity to open for them before shows. Stars are now treated like currency, as you only need a certain number of stars in each tier of songs in order to push forward. This ultimately results in allowing gamers to skip songs they may not want to play.
Another big bonus of the campaign is the unlockables that the creative thinking team has implemented within play. You no longer play to unlock songs; instead, you unlock new clothes, venues (The Stone nightclub in San Francisco, the Hammersmith Odeon, Tushino Airfield, and The Forum in Los Angeles, and one final venue representing the pinnacle of Metallica's success), and song extras like “Metallifacts” that allow you to learn more about the music behind the game. Metallifacts works a lot like VH1’s popular TV show, PopUp Video. This “mode” of play removes the highway and notes and in their place little text boxes pop up notifying you of why certain songs were chosen and information pertaining to the song that is playing.
Campaign mode also offers up a new character creation mode as well. While it isn’t anything to write home about, it’s a little bit more in-depth than Guitar Hero’s competitor, Rock Band. This allows for a more personal touch to be applied to the game, while also making the availability of unlocked clothing a tad more important due to the ability of making your character that much more unique and personable.
Some other small tweaks you may notice when you pick the title up is that the Star Power indicator is now larger, making it much easier to watch without missing notes. The same goes for the performance meter as well. Each band member’s performance meter is now to the left-middle of their highway, which is an easier way to take note of how you’re performing without having to look to the top left to find out. I’m sure a lot of players will find this more convenient as breaking away from the highway can often lead to missed notes at times. The star meter has also been given a more prominent placing to the right of the screen which makes it much easier to figure out how the band is doing as a whole. All of these small tweaks help make Guitar Hero: Metallica the most polished Guitar Hero thus far.
Guitar Hero: Metallica is undoubtedly a game geared towards fans of the heavy metal genre. If you don't like the music, you won't enjoy the game. If you do, however, you're in for a treat. The Metallica infused presentation and track list, the slight additions to the franchise, and the upgraded campaign mode all justify the asking price of a new Guitar Hero title, even after last year's World Tour. Gamers will be hard-pressed to find anything to complain about regarding this music-rhythm gem.
- 12:06am EDT - March 14th, 2009
i hate the way activision is milking guitar hero
- 3:40am EDT - March 14th, 2009
Why? I can understand people being annoyed if they keep making poor games but if they keep releasing great games like this appears to be what's the problem?
- 7:19am EDT - March 14th, 2009
I just don't get the Guitar Hero/Rock Band craze. I guess to each his/her own but I just get so tired of hearing anything about any of these games. But I obviously I don't know what I'm talking about since they sell of ton of this game. But Hannah Montana is popular too I guess and I don't agree with that either.
- 7:28am EDT - March 14th, 2009
Great screenshots of King Diamond :D:D:D:D hes probably the main reason Ill rent this game.
F34R | F34TEHR34PER
- 7:48am EDT - March 14th, 2009
as long as the game has the content I want, it isn't much different than picking and choosing DLC for RB/2
- 8:25am EDT - March 14th, 2009
i do like rap but hate rock but i still find guitar hero enjoying
- 9:09am EDT - March 14th, 2009
ANOTHER DRUMMING MODE?!? AS IF DRUMMMING WASN'T HARD ENOUGH?!? But does this mean that all your World Tour songs aren't compatible with it? If so, that just proves that Activision are REALLY MILKING the franchise.
There are still idi0ts our there who still buy Guitar Hero when Rock Band is just so much better.
I gave up on Guitar Hero after my GH3 guitar screwed up. Then I found Rock Band.
I've never looked back ever since.
- 9:31am EDT - March 14th, 2009
I'm only buying this for Queen's Stone Cold Crazy and for Mercyful Fate/King Diamond. The rest of this game can go right back into the garbage can.
- 10:41am EDT - March 14th, 2009
Does anyone know if you can hook up this second pedal to the rb1 drum kit? If so I would be interested in the game. However I'm not going to buy the guitar hero drums just for this game.
- 2:02pm EDT - March 14th, 2009
This is a must-buy for me, since I love Metallica.
- 4:43pm EDT - March 14th, 2009
people are just upset because games that have guita hero name sell more than rock band and many people cant understand that.
- 8:56pm EDT - March 14th, 2009
Sooo... does anybody else notice its pretty much the same game as the last one... and the one before that.
- 12:56pm EDT - March 15th, 2009
ok first of all for all you rockband lovers out there its for NEWBS its way to easy
even though some of the dlc sucks on guitar hero its way harder to play then rockband
i did the hardest song on rockband on expert and i passed it on the first go try doin that to hot for teacher
lordAlucard | sympozium_666
- 1:13pm EDT - March 15th, 2009
different Guitar Heros appealing to different music/gamers fan I don't see that has milking an franchise. Still confused about the possibility of Guitar Hero: SYMPHONIC POWER METAL come on Activision that would be awesome
- 9:07am EDT - March 16th, 2009
@13 you obviously have no idea what you're talking about...the hardest song on rock band would be Capricio de Diablo by Yngwie Malmsteen...if you passed that on your first try and didn't pass Hot For Teacher on your first try, I don't even know what to say to that. Its just as hard as the Dragonforce stuff on GH3.
I'm not arguing for either series as I have every rock rhythm game except that garbage generic one Konami released and I love them all. GH3's Dragonforce pack is still amazing fun to play, but as far as song selection, Rock Band definately has GH beat. I will give GH series a slight advantage in the difficult songs category, but RB is quickly catching up with their DLC. In my opinion, however, I prefer RB's presentation a lot better...I was never a fan of GH's goofy, big-faced, super-colorful approach to design...to me, RB has a much more professional design approach. That being said, I can't effing WAIT till Metallica comes out...all that metal is going to rock the socks off...and the overall song difficulty should be much harder than previous games...about friggin time!
- 3:43pm EDT - March 18th, 2009
I've had these games since the first one skipping Aerosmith. I'm getting tired of them
- 1:23am EDT - March 23rd, 2009
Would of made more sense to release Metallica track-pack for World-Tour.
- 7:21am EDT - March 23rd, 2009
i've neva got in2 d whole guitar hero thing but personally i think this game is being milked big time. y don't they jus use it fe DLC instead of every1 avin ta pay out again
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