PS3 Reviews: Guitar Hero 5 Review

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Guitar Hero 5 Review

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Replay Value:



Online Gameplay:



Overall Rating:       9.2






Neversoft/Red Octane

Number Of Players:

1-4 (2-8 Online)



Release Date:

Maybe you have or haven't realized this, but Activision's Hero games are assaulting the industry, as there seems to be one released every single month. In March it was Metallica, in June it was Smash Hits, for September it's Guitar Hero 5, for October it's DJ Hero, for November it's Band Hero, and for December it's Guitar Hero: Van Halen. That's downright insane. Then, factor in the non-Hero stuff like The Beatles: Rock Band, Rock Band: LEGO, and Rock Band Unplugged, and it becomes painfully obvious that there is no breath in between the release of each music game. Well, if you're a fan of the genre and both series', then you can't complain, really. I know I'm not. I've got Guitar Hero 5 here and it's yet another iteration of this franchise that I can praise.

By now you may, or may not have, experienced the Guitar Hero instruments, such as the drumset. If you have experienced them, you can skip down to the gameplay talk. If you haven't, then here's what you need to know. If you've followed both Rock Band's and Guitar Hero's offerings, you'll know that Guitar Hero offers the more realistic drum-set, complete with two mounted rubber hats - something I asked to see out of Rock Band 2. Below the rubbery hats are three pads, which are notably larger and quieter than the Rock Band set. The bass-pedal, unfortunately, while easier to operate, doesn't attach anywhere and grips the floor using the rubber pads beneath it, so those with carpets may find themselves annoyed.

But allow me to discuss the biggest concern with the Guitar Hero drums: the material and design of the cymbals. Why Red Octane designed to use a rubber compound for the entire cymbal is beyond me - they should've just used it only for the top, and left the base plastic. Why? Because when you're drumming, the drum sticks would often get caught on the cymbal, throwing your rhythm completely off. Wood sticks to rubber, so instead of just sliding off, the sticks get stuck to the material - it's frustrating, to say the least. You can adjust the height of the cymbal, but not nearly high enough to avoid these problems.

My solution was simple, I plugged in my Rock Band 2 drum set and even though I was missing a pad, it was still extremely fun. But for those not fortunate enough to have both, some clever craftsmanship should fix the problem. And by clever craftsmanship, I mean scotch taping some paper to the bottom of the cymbals. It may not be the prettiest thing, but it works, it helps retain the fun of the game, and you get to use the better of the two rum sets. Also, I recently picked up a pair of cymbal add-ons for my Rock Band 2 drumset, and I was disappointed to see Guitar Hero 5 not register the drumset as a five-pad set like the official GH drums. So if you think upgrading your RB2 set will give you five notes to hit in GH5, it doesn't.

As far as the guitar, it has gone largely unchanged, with two exceptions, from what I gather. In comparison to the Rock Band guitar, the current Guitar Hero guitar is a bit larger, with a longer whammy bar, quieter strum, and a redesigned Select button that now mimics the bridge of a guitar. But the coolest feature are the touch pad sensors that sit further down the neck, allowing you to use either the standard buttons, or the sensors pads. Additionally, the touch-pad sensors can be used for sustain, staccato notes, and easier finger tapping, but if you're a GH vet, I'm sure you know all of this. For the Guitar Hero 5 bundle, the updated guitar features a digital touch-pad, and not an analogue one - so it's supposed to be 100% accurate now. Furthermore, the whammy bar has been beefed up a bit, as well.

Gameplay consists of the Career as the core mode. Obviously, this is where your campaign runs, but unlike GH: World Tour, playing through the Career no longer unlocks tracks, because they're all unlocked by default. You'll create your rockstars, name your band, and even create your band's logo. Your band will play behind you, and you can make your way through the campaign with any of the instruments or as a singer. It's fairly straightforward stuff, complete a number of enhancements, such as Band Moments, revised Star Power mechanic (it now only affects the player who earned it, not the whole band), Momentum, the ability of playing with four of the same instruments simultaneously, and other features. None of the features dramatically change the way the game plays, but they're still nice little improvements that do add to it.

Besides the standard gameplay modes is also the Music Studio mode, where you can now record a full ten-minute song of your own using the game's instruments, this is a vast improvement over the three-minute limit from the past. A variety of options will allow the gamer to configure the sound of their drums and guitars, allowing for a diverse range of effects. Uploading your created songs to the Guitar Hero Tunes service has limitations, as users cannot upload copyrighted material (covers), or upload more than 50 songs (up from a previous limit of five). And as far as multiplayer goes, you still have everything you had in the past, and even a few additions to make the multiplayer experience better. Furthermore, to keep the value going, you can import tracks from Guitar Hero: World Tour, but unfortunately not from Smash Hits. Lastly, Expert+ from GH: Metallica continues to live on, and numerous songs in the game feature the double bass.

Now here's where Guitar Hero 5 really differs from its past iterations, the visuals. A slew of all new motion capturing helps bring the on-screen rockers to life with some really smooth looking animations. More over, improved texture work and character detail prevents GH5 from looking too much like the past games, instead helps it look fresher, and less cartoony. You'll find on-screen rockers such as Kurt Cobain (Nirvana) and even Matthew Bellamy (Muse) looking strikingly similar to their real-life counterparts, and what's nice is that all of the big rockstars in the game have contributed to motion capturing their virtual avatars, with the obvious exception of Cobain. Beyond that, you still have the light show, and because the game features some really nice lighting work, the light show looks even better. Image clarity is great, so I doubt you'll have much to complain about. Overall, this is close to the visual update I've been hoping to see out of the game.

What I loved about World Tour, and I still love in GH5 is the mixer that allows me to adjust the volume of each individual instrument. To my surprise, Guitar Hero: World Tour actually had this very feature, giving the gameplay a slight boost above that of Rock Band 2 last year. With this feature, I can now turn down the vocals and guitars in order to hear the drums or bass better. Having control over the audio like this is a wish come true. So not only does Guitar Hero continue to feature superb audio clarity, but also a very much welcomed sound mixer.

As is the case with music games, it's the playlist that ultimately determines your choice. I tend to prefer Guitar Hero games for their louder/heavier soundtracks, and GH5 is no exception. With bands like, A Perfect Circle, Motley Crue, Queen, Iron Maiden, Queens of the Stone Age, Megadeth, Nirvana, Deep Purple, Wolfmother, Smashing Pumpkins, Blur, Bon Jovi, Bush, Eagles of Death Metal, Darkest Hour, Kings of Leon, Muse, Jimmy Eat World, Scars on Broadway, Rammstein, Weezer, The White Stripes and Rush...I simply cannot resist. And as a little tidbit, I discovered that Sony's SingStar mics work with the game, as well. Once again Activision has put together an extremely convincing soundtrack and have earned my attention.

3 Doors Down - “Kryptonite”
Arctic Monkeys - “Brianstorm”
A Perfect Circle - “Judith”
AFI - “Medicate”
Attack! Attack! UK - “You And Me”
Band Of Horses - “Cigarettes, Wedding Bands” 
Beastie Boys - “Gratitude”
Beck - “Gamma Ray”
Billy Idol - “Dancing With Myself”
Billy Squier - “Lonely Is The Night”
Blink-182 - “The Rock Show”
Blur - “Song 2”
Bob Dylan - “All Along The Watchtower”
Bon Jovi - “You Give Love A Bad Name”
Brand New - “Sowing Season (Yeah)”
The Bronx - “Six Days A Week” 
Bush - “Comedown”
Children Of Bodom - “Done With Everything, Die For Nothing”
Coldplay - “In My Place”
Darker My Love - “Blue Day”
Darkest Hour - “Demon(s)”
David Bowie - “Fame”
Deep Purple - “Woman From Tokyo ('99 Remix)”
The Derek Trucks Band - “Younk Funk”
Dire Straits - “Sultans Of Swing”
The Duke Spirit - “Send A Little Love Token”
Duran Duran - “Hungry Like The Wolf”
Eagles Of Death Metal - “Wannabe In L.A.”
Elliott Smith - “L.A.”
Elton John - “Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting)”
Face To Face - “Disconnected”
Garbage - “Only Happy When It Rains”
Gorillaz - “Feel Good Inc.”
Gov't Mule - “Streamline Woman”
Grand Funk Railroad - “We're An American Band”
Iggy Pop - “Lust For Life (Live)”
Iron Maiden - “2 Minutes To Midnight”
Jeff Beck - “Scatterbrain (Live)”
Jimmy Eat World - “Bleed American”
John Mellencamp - “Hurts So Good”
Johnny Cash - “Ring Of Fire”
Kaiser Chiefs - “Never Miss A Beat”
King Crimson - “21st Century Schizoid Man” 
Kings Of Leon - “Sex On Fire”
Kiss - “Shout It Out Loud”
Love and Rockets - “Mirror People”
Megadeth - “Sweating Bullets”
Mötley Crüe - “Looks That Kill”
Muse - “Plug In Baby”
My Morning Jacket - “One Big Holiday”
Nirvana - “Lithium (Live)”
Nirvana - “Smells Like Teen Spirit”
No Doubt - “Ex-Girlfriend”
Peter Frampton - “Do You Feel Like We Do? (Live)”
The Police - “So Lonely”
Public Enemy Featuring Zakk Wylde - “Bring the Noise 20XX”
Queen & David Bowie - “Under Pressure”
Queens Of The Stone Age - “Make It Wit Chu”
Rammstein – “Du Hast”
The Rolling Stones - “Sympathy For The Devil”
Rose Hill Drive - “Sneak Out” 
Rush - “The Spirit Of Radio (Live)”
Santana - “No One To Depend On (Live)”
Scars On Broadway - “They Say”
Screaming Trees - “Nearly Lost You”
Smashing Pumpkins - “Bullet With Butterfly Wings”
Sonic Youth - “Incinerate”
Spacehog - “In The Meantime”
Stevie Wonder - “Superstition” 
Sublime - “What I Got”
Sunny Day Real Estate - “Seven”
T. Rex - “20th Century Boy”
The Killers - “All The Pretty Faces”
The Raconteurs - “Steady As She Goes”
The Sword - “Maiden, Mother & Crone”
Thin Lizzy - “Jailbreak”
Thrice - “Deadbolt”
Tom Petty - “Runnin' Down A Dream”
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - “American Girl”
TV On The Radio - “Wolf Like Me”
Vampire Weekend - “A-Punk”
Weezer - “Why Bother?”
The White Stripes - “Blue Orchid”
Wild Cherry - “Play That Funky Music”
Wolfmother - “Back Round”

9/8/2009 Arnold Katayev

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New Comment System

Legacy Comment System (25 posts)

Tuesday, September 08, 2009 @ 7:28:07 PM

whaaaaaaat 9.2??? I would give a 7.5 .

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Tuesday, September 08, 2009 @ 7:31:36 PM

Just FYI, you will be able to import some songs from Smash Hits probably by next week at the latest I think. I read something on Activision's Guitar Hero website about that. Probably no Metallica though, except for the Death Magnetic DLC.

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ArnoldK PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, September 08, 2009 @ 7:42:47 PM

Ahhh, gotcha. Thanks!

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Tuesday, September 08, 2009 @ 8:02:07 PM

this games gettin buncha high reviews lately

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Tuesday, September 08, 2009 @ 8:03:30 PM

This is pretty high for a guirtar hero. I might just need to check it out.

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Tuesday, September 08, 2009 @ 8:12:50 PM

::whisper:: Don't do it kevin...

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Tuesday, September 08, 2009 @ 8:58:15 PM

Yes, please don't feed the beast of mediocrity.

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Tuesday, September 08, 2009 @ 9:32:50 PM

lol i wasn't actually going to do it! i mean come on! [reference to ps3 comercail ;)] Its activision! Ya right i would get another gh game. But then again.....NO must not look into the eyes of Medusa!

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Yo Bona
Tuesday, September 08, 2009 @ 9:51:26 PM

Slightly related: Anybody else hear more beatles music playing lately while walking through Target and listening to the radio and stuff? I even hear more people saying they love them and have always been into them, like when that movie Across the Universe came out.

I think it's a conspiracy. Michael Jackson didn't want Rock Band Beatles to come out... or Bill Gates didn't want to pay him... OR the beatles wanted the Rock Band money... so they all conspired to MURDER HIM!

Do you get to play the piano parts in "deadbolt" or "saturday night's alright (for fighting)" on an extra baby grand peripheral for only $240?

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Tuesday, September 08, 2009 @ 9:53:34 PM

While home for the weekend I noticed a Chicago radio station having a Beatles marathon. It was really annoying...

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Tuesday, September 08, 2009 @ 10:41:34 PM

I have noticed a lot more Beatles and I'm not going to lie, I have never liked them, and I still don't.

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Banky A
Tuesday, September 08, 2009 @ 11:14:42 PM

Better start liking them ^_^
Will be around for a long time lol

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Tuesday, September 08, 2009 @ 11:24:37 PM

Actually they wont, Paul and Ringo have at max 10 years left.

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Wednesday, September 09, 2009 @ 6:13:00 AM

They are also re-issuing all the albums tomorrow, which explains the mainstream attention.

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Tuesday, September 08, 2009 @ 9:59:20 PM

Buy GH5 and get GH Van Halen for free. Now that's a deal. Maybe I'll nab this after all.

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Tuesday, September 08, 2009 @ 10:21:24 PM

Ewww, two nirvana songs :(. Not enough 80's, although I do like seeing John Mellencamp on there.

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Tuesday, September 08, 2009 @ 10:54:02 PM

Didn't we just have a new Guitar Hero game recently? What is it, they want to out Madden Madden with an annual refresh?

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Tuesday, September 08, 2009 @ 11:26:24 PM

They're the taco bell of videogames, the chihuahua of entertainment. It's disgusting.

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Tuesday, September 08, 2009 @ 11:43:33 PM

Hopefully, this fresh game genre will keep growing and expand itself internationally in terms of language and culture. Wouldn't it be cool to be able to play music that is popular in your native country? Is any body familiar with Mana?

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Wednesday, September 09, 2009 @ 2:24:29 AM

Guitar Hero Mana ...NOOOOOOOOOO that open the doors to singstar RBD or Belinda =S.

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Wednesday, September 09, 2009 @ 9:40:58 AM

Yeah, you are probably right. lol...

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Wednesday, September 09, 2009 @ 2:01:35 AM

glad to see eagles of death metal is on there :)

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Wednesday, September 09, 2009 @ 7:46:35 AM

thats what i did i got the van halen deal but it wont be here till december..sigh

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Thursday, September 10, 2009 @ 8:22:18 PM

Too bad the best song is Sweating Bullets...

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Monday, December 28, 2009 @ 3:28:55 PM

I just read this review. Very nicely written and give more appropriate information. I would too like share the same with u guys. If anyone wants entire walkthrough of this game then go here -

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