Daily Archives: June 10, 2009

Reviewlet: Guitar Hero – Metallica

Guitar Hero – Metallica is… Metallica-y. This isn’t terribly surprising, what with it having “Metallica” in the title and everything; 28 of the 49 songs in the game are by Metallica, you play them as motion-captured Metallica, the rest of the tracks can be played as one of Metallica, on signature Metallica guitars, if you buy/unlock them as a character, and there are lashings of Metallica extras on the disc.

If you’re unsure whether you should get the game or not, here’s a detailed in-depth questionnaire to help you decide:

1) Do you like Guitar Hero?
a) Oh yes! It’s a work of plastic instrumental genius!
b) It’s OK I guess.
c) No, it’s a stupid waste of time, learn to play a real guitar.

2) Do you like Metallica?
a) Oh yes! Who doesn’t like the genre-defining multi-Grammy winning fourth highest-selling music artist since 1991?
b) They’re OK I guess.
c) No, I hate them and everything they stand for.

If you answered:
Mostly (a): buy the game right now
Mostly (b): maybe rent the game, see how you like it
Mostly (c): don’t buy the game

Hope that helped.

You may be experiencing a strange sense of deja vu around now, as Guitar Hero: Metallica is a very similar idea to Guitar Hero: Aerosmith, taking a core engine (Guitar Hero III for Aerosmith, World Tour for Metallica) and building a band-centric game around it.

I have most of Metallica’s albums and saw them live a while back, so the Metallica-y-ness a major selling point for me compared to Aerosmith, whose songs never really gripped me even after a few playthroughs of their game. The non-Metallica tracks are a slightly mixed bag, some strong stuff from bands like Slayer, Motorhead, Queen and the copper-bottomed Thin Lizzy classic The Boys Are Back In Town, but generally the Metallica tracks are the highlight, as it should be (my favourite tracks from GH: Aerosmith remain the Kinks and Mott The Hoople covers from the first couple of tiers). Being based on World Tour it’s also full plastic band game, which may or may not be a major factor depending on whether you stick resolutely to pretending to play the guitar, or are more of a living room skinsman.

By crikey, though, it’s a bit tricky. I (just about) managed all except the final tiers of Guitar Hero III and World Tour on Expert, but I’ve started running into difficulty about halfway through the Metallica setlist, mostly thanks to Kirk Hammett solos. If you’re not familiar with the oeuvre these contain, on average, seven hundred and sixty two notes every second, and are often long enough to outlast any star power you might have saved up to assist your desperate flailings. I haven’t made a serious attempt at drums, bass or vocals yet, but being the drums have the extra-bass-pedalling Expert Plus difficulty, I can’t imagine they’re going to be proverbial strolls in the fake plastic park. Still, that’s what multiple difficulty levels are for; I imagine I’ll switch down to Hard to try and complete the guitar career (hopefully I won’t have to resort to Medium), and it’s good to have something to aim towards. Overall, seven thumbs up out of two with an extra “OH YEAH!” and some toast.