Passing the Time

<div class=\"postavatar\">Passing the Time</div>

Happy Halloween!

I’m adding to this post a little after-the-fact because it’s been a busy week and I made getting a new comic up my top priority. If you’re reading this for the first time you won’t notice, so ignore everything I just said.

So, the big news of the week for me—as far as gaming goes anyway—is the release of Guitar Hero 3. I picked up my copy last Sunday, rocked my way through most of the Medium career mode to get warmed up, and then the disc stopped working. Buh. At first it only refused to load songs from the Hard track, but now it won’t load songs on any difficulty. Talk about a buzz kill. I’m going to exchange my copy for a new one today; hopefully this is just an isolated incident.

My impressions of the game (based on as much of it as I’ve been able to play so far) are almost entirely positive. Almost. Some of the new stuff Neversoft added, like the boss battles, are completely unnecessary. The fact that you HAVE to defeat the bosses (RATM’s Tom Morello, G’n’R’s Slash, and what I assume will be the Devil in the final battle) to advance in the game’s career mode is an annoying design decision that makes this tacked-on “feature” purely disruptive. Sure, if you get your ass kicked a few times by a boss you can skip it and move on, but that’s a frustrating delay when you just want to shred.

Another irksome bit is the introduction of way too much paid product placement, particularly the many references to Axe body spray and their annoying “Bow Chika Wow Wow” sound that the game forces you to listen to before encores. I know this complaint may sound odd coming from a marketing guy, but there’s a difference between well-conceived advertising and simply intrusive advertising. This stuff falls towards the latter end of that spectrum.

Okay, enough about the bad. A lot of the new stuff, like the hammer-on and pull-off indicators are good design decisions, and the song list absolutely rocks. It’s great that so many of the tracks in this version are by the original artists. A strange trade-off however is that some of the cover tracks are of noticeably lower quality than what I’ve come to expect from Guitar Hero. I guess there had to be some give and take, but how hard could it have been to find a decent KISS cover band to record a proper rendition of Rock and Roll All Nite? I mean, really.

I’m looking forward to the online play component and trying my hand at the reportedly brutal Hard difficulty setting (once I have a working copy of the game again). Overall, I have fewer complaints about GH3 than I do accolades, so if you’re a fan of the game you won’t be disappointed. And if you have the extra cash, I higly recommend the new wireless Les Paul. It’s a slick and responsive new controller that plays as good as it looks.

Rock on!


joe at dpad dot ca

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