And so, Guitar Hero III gets our coveted Gold Award; but it very nearly didn't. It's not that the game's visually deficient (which, compared to its PS3 and 360 cousins, it definitely is) or that the new gameplay additions are, for the most part, pretty rubbish. No, our real problem with Guitar Hero III lies with developer Neversoft now being the bouncers checking the guest list at this particular rock club - a fact that will leave many newcomers to the series finding things rather tough going.
Of course, it's also fair to say that Neversoft has done an incredible job of picking up the pieces that the original creator of the series, Harmonix, left behind. Yes, the graphics aren't amazing but then they never needed to be and, to be fair, there are some great examples of lip and rhythm synching on display that only improve the general atmosphere. The inclusion of online play is also a major boon, as is the ability to play Career mode co-operatively. Plus, the actual guitar controller is a thing of beauty.
Rock And/Or Roll
Throw in a great line-up of songs that mixes rock, blues, metal and more and it seems that the game can do no wrong. It's as great as it ever was, aside from some minor bumps that thankfully can be ignored when you've finished them for the first time (*cough* boss battles *cough*). But then, we have to raise our initial point again - just as Neversoft has turned the Tony Hawk series from a celebration of skateboarding into a combo-hungry point orgy suitable only for hardcore fans over the years, so the same has happened to Guitar Hero III.
It's not that the game's impossible, but it's certainly harder than it was. Even on medium, songs such as Raining Blood or Through The Fire And The Flames throw button presses at you with such random ferocity, that they're almost impossible to all but the initiated. For the GH faithful, that's great but for everyone else, it's almost enough to make you throw down your Gibson in despair. Has the gate of accessibility closed on the world's most enjoyable party game then? To a degree, yes. It's not the end of the world but
you need to be warned that Guitar Hero III isn't the noob-friendly rockfest it once was.