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Guitar Hero: Metallica Review

The masters of metal touch down on Wii

Let's face facts. Guitar Hero: Aerosmith was a decent attempt at producing a band-specific Guitar Hero spin-off, but it was lacking in a lot of features. With a paltry number of songs compared to regular Guitar Hero games and not much to get stuck into after the main career mode was completed, it's fair to say it was a bit lacking in terms of content. Plus it had Aerosmith in it.

So now Activision's back with another crack of the single-band whip, this time with a game based on the ultimate gods of metal - Metallica. Surely this one's better then? Of course it is... if you like Metallica.

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You see, we could spout on for ages about the other songs in the game by different bands (the Foo Fighters, System Of A Down and Queen are represented here, among others) but as you'd expect, the vast majority of the setlist is comprised of Metallica songs, so if you don't know your Nothing Else Matters from your Enter Sandman this might not really be up your alley. It would be unfair to criticise this game for not having as varied a selection of songs as you'll find in the likes of Guitar Hero III or World Tour though, because after all, it makes no bones about being a Metallica game.

Metal Militia

So let's assume you like Metallica's music and you're still reading. How does it play? Like Guitar Hero: World Tour really, which is a good thing. As in that game, you can choose to play guitar, bass, drums or vocals, and everything works as you'd expect if you're familiar with the series. Even the GHTunes area, where you can download user-created tracks, is included here.

The track list is a fair improvement over that of Guitar Hero: Aerosmith, with a total of 52 songs on offer (31 from Metallica, 21 from other bands). The Metallica tracks span the band's whole career, from early offerings like Seek And Destroy and Fade To Black, to four tracks from their recent Death Magnetic album. The other acts appearing were apparently chosen by Metallica, and they're enjoyable tracks - the presence of the likes of Machine Head, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Slayer is most welcome.

As anyone who's played the Metallica song (One) on Guitar Hero III would be able to guess, this game was always going to be designed with difficulty in mind, and it doesn't let us down. Though beginners are catered for with the same easier modes as before, Expert mode will push even the fastest-fingered Guitar Hero players to their limits, especially near the end of the game as the songs get heavier and the solos get crazier.

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As for drums, since copyright-addicted Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich is quite the demon on the sticks, the difficulty here has been ramped up considerably from Guitar Hero: World Tour. And even if you can somehow make it through Expert mode, there's also the insane Expert+ mode, which supports two foot pedals and will require feet faster than Sonic The Hedgehog in order to get through.

Axe Attack

Strangely though, the Career mode's much more lenient than it has been in previous games. Instead of having to clear a number of songs to continue, you only have to get a number of 'stars' by doing well in each song. Even if you're completely rubbish you'll end up unlocking the whole setlist without too much trouble. You're able to unlock all the tracks long before you play half of the songs on offer.

Visually the game's a bit of a mixed bag. The band looks great and all their characteristics have been captured perfectly (due to a lengthy motion capture session), and we love the subtle little touches that make it feel like a proper Metallica concert (like the roadie running onto the stage to give James Hetfield a different guitar for the next song). Metallica fans will lap this up, there's no doubt about it, and the inclusion of some hidden musicians like Lemmy from Motörhead makes it even more entertaining. However, we did notice some drops in the frame rate when playing in Expert mode, meaning the notes didn't come down as smoothly as we'd like. This might sound like a minor detail, but it does affect the experience a little and makes things slightly more difficult when playing those mental solos.

Guitar Hero: Metallica is a recommended purchase for fans of the band and hardcore Guitar Hero players alike. The Expert mode is difficult enough to provide a challenge for veterans, while the easier modes are accessible enough for Metallica fans new to the series.


14 comments so far...
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  1. admass9 Wednesday 27th May 2009 at 14:59

    I can has first comment?? yayy!! anyway i cant wait to get this, but I got no money at the moment, :cry: looks to be awesome though

  2. Shadow Samus Wednesday 27th May 2009 at 15:30

    I can has first comment?? yayy!! anyway i cant wait to get this, but I got no money at the moment, :cry: looks to be awesome though

    I agree, I've been hyped about this for a while so I can't wait to get this (after exams of course :( )

    Also, Wii gets three more songs than 360/PS3. Worth not having DLC for that!

  3. IAMnoob Wednesday 27th May 2009 at 18:39

    I have the PS2 guitar so it would be cheaper to buy this for PS2 but i kinda want to buy it for Wii.
    Has the wii version got many extra features?

  4. Elmand Wednesday 27th May 2009 at 18:53

    I can has first comment?? yayy!! anyway i cant wait to get this, but I got no money at the moment, :cry: looks to be awesome though

    I agree, I've been hyped about this for a while so I can't wait to get this (after exams of course :( )

    Also, Wii gets three more songs than 360/PS3. Worth not having DLC for that!

    Actually bear in mind those 3 more songs were released with the entire Death Magnetic album as DLC for the 360/PS3 many months ago though. Also the wii selection for the death magnetic songs was pretty poor.

    But I must reccomend this game to everyone, I've had it for almost 2 months now and I still go back to it, it is challenging, but the fun sort of challenging.

  5. Badger3112 Wednesday 27th May 2009 at 20:32

    Not really a Metallica fan at all but I'm getting this basically only for Stone Cold Crazy by Queen.

    Who knows though, maybe once I start playing along to the Metallica songs I might start to appreciate them a bit more (I did start to like more of Aerosmith's stuff after playing along)

    Is the Wii version not got DLC then? If so then that doesn't really bother me as long as they carry on releasing DLC for world tour.

  6. mr FBE Wednesday 27th May 2009 at 20:34

    hmm, since knights of cydonia isnt getting onto GH greatest hits (why on earth not God only knows), GH Muse would surely be the next logical GH band game. either that or guns 'n' roses.

    one day we might get some who or dire straits song
    i can only hope

  7. G_R7 Thursday 28th May 2009 at 08:40

    Once I get back from the Download Festival I will be getting this game! Right now I need all my money for beer and burgers while I'm up there.

  8. JohnWilliam Thursday 28th May 2009 at 10:51

    I tried my mate's and IT'S THE BEST BLOOMIN GUITAR HEOR EVER!! On PS3 that is.

  9. Ghostbuster Thursday 28th May 2009 at 10:52

    getting a game this weekend and this is in my list to choose from. Entered a tournament where we played this game, minor nchanges to the HUD make it more awesome and the tracklist is great. with a fantastic mix of metallica songs and other songs.

  10. DuranDuran Thursday 28th May 2009 at 17:17

    Getting this on the release date, stuff my exams! Metallica are ossum!

  11. Gynjanynja Friday 29th May 2009 at 14:39

    Getting this on the release date, stuff my exams! Metallica are ossum!

    u rock man but ur name is the sux0r. METALLICA OMG I WANT NOW Master of Puppets OMG

  12. Angry-Gamer Saturday 30th May 2009 at 12:52

    Dont think i will be bying this one. The songs are Mostly Matallica which im not a great fan of and didnt really enjoy Aerosmith. I like Variaty in guitar hero games.

    Also I hope online is actually good. World Tour online play was in my opinion bad and i could only find someone after waiting half an hour unless i got lucky.

    Hope nintendo gets rid of friend codes bcause people think that they are terrible including myself.

  13. allanironmaiden Saturday 30th May 2009 at 18:02

    i'll keep this short.....i got the game on release day and its amazing. for a metallica fan like myself its a dream. songs such as frantic, mercyful fate and countless others will leave your hands aching but wanting more lol

    now if onl;y they made an iron maiden guitar hero!

  14. deadboy522 Sunday 7th Jun 2009 at 09:57

    They should make rolling stones guitar hero!

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