Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock Hands On

Just this last Monday, PSU had the opportunity to get hands on with Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, the third installment in the Guitar Hero franchise. Having time to test our skills on several different songs, and trying out all the latest co-op features; we feel confident in naming Guitar Hero III one of the best music titles to date.

Our hands on impressions will cover controls, songs/tier playlists, and new co-op/online features.

Knowing your guitar…

This year Neversoft has redesigned the guitar for both look and playability. Not only can you detach the neck of the guitar for easy mobility, but also, gamers can now remove their faceplates and replace them with custom designs. We had to the chance to see about 3 different designs at the press event and players can expect more after the game ships.

In terms of playability, Neversoft has improved fret button layout and extended the strum bar to make it easier for "hammer-ons" and "pull-offs." After calibrating the guitar for your play style, you will notice a much better time response when hitting notes during a song. Also having a guitar that’s wireless adds to the overall value of the redesign.

Rock and Roll All Nite…

Since the list of available tracks is so long in Guitar Hero 3, we suggest that you check them out here. However, we can talk about a few of the songs we played and our thoughts on the overall playlist. We rocked out to a few songs from each teir and even tested out might against what is known to be the hardest track ever in Guitar Hero; "Through the Fire and Flames" by DragonForce.

The song we started with was the first song in the game, "Slow Ride" by Foghat. The track is slow, and easy for newcomers to pick up and play. One of the best things we found about Guitar Hero III is that it’s built for both beginner and expert players, progressing in difficulty as gamers advance in teir.

After "Slow Ride" we moved onto such songs as "Even Flow" by Pearl Jam, "Before I Forget" by Slipnot, and "Bull’s on Parade" by Rage Against the Machine. Also one of the things fans might notice is that Tom Morello, lead guitarist for Rage Against the Machine has been modelled to his exact likeness, including his guitar. Players will unlock Morello and his guitar for purchase after beating him as the first boss battle…"Bull’s on Parade" following as the encore.

Lastly, we had to chance to test out "Through the Fire and Flames" by DragonForce. This has to be the hardest song ever in a Guitar Hero title. Now, I would consider myself probably an average guitarist, but when I played this song on expert I felt belittled and unworthy. From what I heard, only the guys from Neversoft who synch the notes to the audio tracks have been able to beat this song on expert with a 5 star rating.

Battle to be the King of Rock…

One of the most crucial features missing from the series has also finally be addressed in Guitar Hero III; ONLINE! With the addition of online functionality, users are now able to take their skills to the PlayStation Network and show off talents. Everything from Co-op campaign mode to Face-off and Battle mode is available, both online and offline.

If you are unfamiliar with Battle mode, it’s basically Face-off only instead of earning points for your "Star Power Meter", you earn "power-ups" to increase the difficutly of your opponents track.

Power Ups include:

– Amp overload: The fret board will shake and notes will appear and disappear.

– Broken string: One fret buttons on the opponent’s guitar will stop working…player can fix it by rapidly tapping the button.

– Difficulty up: The opponent will play the song on an increased difficulty for a short duration of time (except for expert difficulty).

– Whammy bar: The opponent will have to use the whammy bar before he/she can play notes again.

– Steal power: This will steal your opponent’s power-up.

– Double notes: The opponent will have to play any single note as a two-button chord, and any two-button chord as a three-button chord for a short amount of time.

– Lefty flip: The fret board will be flipped.

– Death Drain: This power-up is only available in Sudden Death mode. Once activated, your opponent’s Rock Meter will rapidly drain on its own.

For fans of Guitar Hero, this is a must buy! For new comers, it is fun and different and will have you rockin out with your college room-mates for years to come. Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock will be available in stores October 28, 2007 for $99.99.

Do the right thing, and buy this game!