Guitar Hero 5

gh5-full-box

(Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2 & Nintendo Wii – Reviewed on Xbox 360) – by ‘Tiger’ Oliver

Pros:
Updated graphics & multiplayer features
Awesome playlist compared to GH:WT’s hit-&-miss
Arrival of DLC/disc song transfer
GHJams

Cons:
Bass WAY too easy
Kurt Cobain
Vocal Star-Power too hard to activate
“Du Hast”

Bust out your chaps and plastic axes, Guitar Hero‘s back to shred your face off… kind of.

Guitar Hero 5, quite possibly the biggest breath of fresh air for this franchise after one of the worst track lists I’ve ever seen in World Tour, could be comparable to Super Mario Bros. 3: Better graphics, better sound, more nifty features, same glorious concept.

In the interest of truthfulness, I have to warn you, the reader, that I did not use ANY new hardware to play this with. I used a Rock Band 2 drum kit w/ 2 cymbals, a Guitar Hero: Aerosmith Les Paul guitar, and a Guitar Hero: World Tour USB mic (which, to be honest, you can use practically any USB microphone and it should work fine).

Gameplay – 4/5
The overall feel of the game is amazing. More new multiplayer features than you can shake a drumstick at, a cool feature that allows you to play the first song that plays when you access the main menu, and a totally revamped GHTunes with GHJam, which is a sweet feature that can’t even be described. The greatest part of GHTunes this go-round is that they’ve actually allowed song creators to make tracks longer than three minutes.

I’ll let that sink in and give you time to pull your jaw up off the ground. There we go.

The bad thing about the GHTunes, however, is that there’s not enough created tracks out there that I’d consider good. At least on the Xbox 360 version, I’m not sure if the same tracks are available on the other consoles’ GHTunes.

Another complaint I have is that the only way you can record tracks is via (what I like to call) the “Freestyle” mode. You can’t tabulate out a song like you could in GH: WT & Smash Hits, and if you can, I haven’t been able to figure it out yet – which leads me to believe that you can’t at all.

As far as the characters are concerned, most of your favorites are back (except Midori… I loved that J-Pop princess from GH III. Aaaah…) like Axel, Johnny, Pandora, & Clive (who’s still my homeboy). You can also use your Xbox 360 avatar or your Mii to shred on the guitar, funk on the bass, or kick the drums. The unlockable characters are among some of the best (and oddest) yet:

Johnny Cash – It’s funnier than all-get-out watching him shred Du Hast on his acoustic
Carlos Santana – Where the heck was he in GH III‘s “Black Magic Woman”?
Shirley Manson of Garbage
Matt Bellamy of Muse
Frankenrocker
Some golden “god” dude
Shadow – Some shadowy dude
Some Guitar Hero contest winner

and…

Kurt Cobain.

Okay, many people are complaining about Cobain being in this game, and I completely agree. Such a move is a disgrace and a blatant move of disrespect of his career, in my opinion. What makes me more sick than the fact Courtney Love was in on this move was the sole fact that Dave Grohl (former Nirvana drummer, Foo Fighters front man, the demon in Tenacious D’s “Tribute” music video & the drummer in Queens of the Stone Age’s “No One Knows” music video) gave the green light on it as well. Then again, it is kind awesome to see Cobain hit the famous note in “Under Pressure” (yeah, you know the one).

Graphics – 5/5
The graphics on this are updated to look even more beautiful. The create-a-rocker characters look more like their professionally made counterparts and the unlockable rockers are dang-near lifelike. All the venues are spectacularly done (my favorite has to be the one with the strongman gorilla-pressing the amps), the instruments are nicely detailed, and the HUD is crisp. View it on HDMI, and you’ll have to change your pants, it’s THAT amazing.

Sound – 5/5
With 85 songs from 83 artists, this has to be the greatest set list in Guitar Hero history. Plus, they finally learned from Rock Band: they have finally added in the ability to transfer some of the songs from Smash Hits and every song (save Jimi Hendrix), on the disc and DLC, from World Tour for a total of 293 songs to be played on this game. Thus, this is the Guitar Hero game that could rival Rock Band I & II… if it wasn’t for RB: Beatles. Or the more immense set let available on DLC for the game.

With A Perfect Circle, Elton John, Johnny Cash, Grand Funk Railroad, Sublime, a double-shot of Nirvana, a double-shot of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers (just to name a few), this has a little bit for everyone.

My only complaint with the set list (except the lack of transferable Jimi Hendrix) is the fact they included “Du Hast”. Out of all of the songs Rammstein has done, they had to use “Du Hast”. It’s the only song most people have heard of theirs, but why not choose something cooler? “Engel”, “Amerika”, “Moskau”, “Feuer Frei!” anything but “Du Hast”.

Controls – 4/5
Along with the GH: WT features and a nifty drum feature I haven’t been able to figure out yet, this is somewhere between GH:III & GH: WT in terms of the forgivability of the notes. On the Rock Band 2 drums, the drum game feels more complete and more consistent than on its main competitor. Of course, it’s known for the guitar more than multiplayer, so of course the guitar was superb. The bass was WAY too easy, in my opinion, so that’s the only reason GH 5 didn’t get a five for controls.

The vocals were… well… they were vocals. What do you expect? It isn’t too hard to add in the vocal features, but it’s way too hard trying to figure out the Star Power trigger when singing (that’s where pressing the “A” button on the actual controller comes in – it’s what activates Star Power).

I’d recommend Guitar Hero Les Paul controllers to play it with, the game doesn’t utilize the touch pad enough in my opinion. If you got GH: WT drums already or with the GH 5 bundle, you’ll get all the drum features. However, if you want a more realistic drum feel, get the Rock Band 2 drums with two-or-three cymbals or the Ion Rocker (if you have almost $300 to blow; which, in that case, get off your lazy bum and pick up a real guitar or drum set!).

Replay Value – 5/5
With a plethora of DLC, Smash Hits & World Tour songs you can transfer over, the replay value is amazing. Besides, as long as you have a least a spark of addiction to this game, it’ll suck you in like a black hole and leave you wanting more… as well as wondering why they can’t release every track from all of the previous games onto this game for the ultimate set list. Fortunately, that’s what hacking the PC version of GH III is for.

Overall Score – 4.5/5
An amazing game, the kind of game this franchise has been waiting for, in fact. Plus, it has good timing due to Rock Band: Beatles being released so soon after. Guitar Hero 5 feels like a new beginning to the Guitar Hero franchise, almost to what Super Mario Bros. 3 was to the Super Mario franchise.

The biggest thing keeping this game from getting a perfect score: the addition of Kurt Cobain. Thanks for bastardizing his legacy. Jerk wads.

Buy? – A MUST BUY!
DO IT!!!!! It’s worth the money for the game on its own, even the bundle by itself. But, with the bundling with the unreleased GH: Van Halen, you’d be crazy not to buy it, even if you aren’t a Van Halen fan and the fact that it doesn’t have “Humans Being” on the set list. If you’re looking at either this or something like, let’s say, Batman: Arkham Asylum, sell a kidney and buy both. Get it by (almost) ANY-MEANS-NECESSARY!

Rent? – Second Pick
As far as renting it is concerned, I’d probably rent Batman: Arkham Asylum first. In fact, I’d even rent Sonic Unleashed before this game. However, if you’re tight on cash and this just happens to be available for rent, I’d go ahead and do so, especially if you have some extra money to rent a second game. Otherwise, forget the renting and just buy the dang thing.

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