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Guitar Hero: Metallica rocks on!

Courtesy of Activision

No other music game on the market today will influence different genre’s of rock and roll, and Metallica, being the superforce that they, challenge you to rock like there is no tomorrow. Former developer Harmonix, that made the original Guitar Heroes, has moved on with Rock Band and instantly challenged their market position with their hundred dollar plus packs of plastic instruments and non-stop stream of new music packs eating up the disposable income of potential customers.

This is the first Guitar Hero game made after guitar hero world tour added drums and vocals with online gameplay. However I found the musical selection on guitar hero world tour to be rather disjointed and random in musical taste. This might be based on the Guitar Hero: World Tour engine but it brings the metal.

Guitar Hero: Metallica, is in some ways a step forward and also a few steps back. I thought that the music in Guitar Hero: World Tour and Guitar Hero: Aerosmith was a bit too wacky compared to the heavy metal and rock of the first three Guitar Hero games. World Tour had Wings for Pete’s Sake? WINGS! I am sorry but Wings does not rock. Guitar Hero Metallica is 100% pure unashamed unrepentant metal. It is a highly focused game pure in purpose. It is all about bringing the metal. I ended up enjoying this game much more than Guitar Hero: World Tour and Guitar Hero III and a hell of a lot more than Guitar Hero: Aerosmith.

I used to love Metallica all through out the Black album days and when Fuel came out I was listening to grunge, then when Lars got ticked off by Napster and went on his Anti-MP3 rant in front of Congress I felt out of touch with the band. After playing through Guitar Hero: Metallica I feel a much more connected with the band and I actually want to check out what they have been up to. I think the game benefitted greatly by having the band involved in the production and direction of the game. They acted out motion capture and helped pick the selection of tracks. The story focuses on a cover band that opens up for Metallica and then after a few songs the band comes out. I would say that a good 75% of all the songs are Metallica and the rest were selected by being friends or influences of the band. I loved the fact when Lemmy of Motorhead came out and played for Ace of Spades.

Each song had lyrics and history as well as Metalifacts. These are pop up trivia about the song.

The graphics are pretty tight. There is lots of animation taken right from motion capture from the band and detailed sets including lots of pyrotechnics. The art style is a bit more realistic compared to other Guitar Hero games. Now the only DLC available for the game is Death Magnetic album that was out for Guitar Hero World Tour but besides that everyone you are matched up with online will have all the same songs as you. I do love DLC but it is sort of sublime to be able to know that everyone in your band can pick the same song. There is no online career but there is quick-play and face off challenges.

I am actually a bit surprised to see that there was no unique equipment for this game. It is being sold as a separate disc pack and it assumes that you have instruments from Guitar Hero World Tour, other Guitar Hero games or even Rock Band but I was at least expecting Activision to try and cash in with a special Metallica branded guitar controller.

I played the Xbox 360 version but a PS3 and Wii version are also out.

I know that these games are pure musical fantasy but the whole point of video games is to have fun and this was hands down a metal up your arse video game experience. This was the best Guitar Hero game since Guitar Hero II and I hope that future games take advantage of being this focused. Rather than re-inventing the genra Neversoft focused on delivering a top knotch experience for Guitar Hero fans and Metallica fans.

Score Overall: 5 out of 5
Playability: 5 out of 5
Graphics: 4 out of 5
Sound: 10 out of 5!

*Images courtesy of Activision and Metallica

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