Naturally, in all the wonder that is Beatles Rock Band, Guitar Hero 5 sort of slipped on by, looking like more of the same from the GH camp while the masses delighted in the most epic band to ever write music. The thing is, while Rock Band most definitely grabs the prize for tunes, Guitar Hero for the Wii has repositioned itself in the music gamer world and it is 100% worthy of your attention. More after the jump:
Before numero cinco, Guitar Hero was busy with volume, throwing in new flairs like band support and downloadable content to try and stay up-to-date, without ever really invigorating the franchise with new life. While each made for fun game diversions, it had become increasingly apparent that things had to change. And they have.
Guitar Hero 5 has grabbed the world-o-Wii and embraced it.
It starts right at the get-go with a party play mode that pops up before the main menu. If you don’t want that hassle of setting things up and wasting time, partiers can jump right in and play for fun – sharing controllers, changing things up, and enjoying faux guitar play with zero hassle. In and out – no waiting, no strict rules.
Once you jump into the guts of the game, things are slicker, nicer, and ripe for rocking. There’s 8-player online modes, and sub modes. Each player now gets star power nestled along their note road – no wandering eyes needed. This is upped by “band moments,” where players must perfectly tackle certain strings of notes – the living room version of those times on stage where the guys stand close and rock out. And THAT is upped by the challenges. Now, certain songs have challenges – it could be perfecting the vocals in David Bowie’s “Fame,” or tackling guitar notes in a certain tricky way. (Just choose a song, and the challenge will pop up and register if you pull it off.)
And the real kicker – the game now allows you to bring on DS fun. Enter: Roadie Battle. One-on-One v. the Computer or Two-on-Two, this new option allows two guitars to play a song while two others grab the DS and act as sabotaging roadies. While the guitars play, the DS makes the roadies run back and forth, sabotaging the other band’s equipment while also running back to fix their own. Each sabotaging move made on the DS (with pen swirls, tapping, and the usual DS movements) then messes up the song for the player. This could mean losing the notes all-together, having to play in the midst of a smoking screen, or trying to play while the notes appear backwards.
Want more? How about playable characters starting off with vixen Shirley Manson? There’s also Johnny Cash, Carlos Santana, and the big coup – Kurt Cobain. It took three years, but he’s finally an unlockable character. (Which may, or may not, please you.) The game also supports high-capacity SD cards, and that’s perfect for downloading past fare. Basically, for a few bucks, you can use GH5 to play the music previously released, one more step to making this the prime Guitar Hero disc. As for music on 5, it includes: “Kryptonite,” “All Along the Watchtower,” “Lust For Life,” “Du Hast,” “Superstition,” and “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” – as usual, a little bit of everything.
There are some eh moments – the less glee-inducing tracks we’ve grown accustomed to in Guitar Hero incarnations for example – but there’s so much good, and so much fun, that the less-than-stellar is easily forgettable. Every aspect of the game has new twists that make you wish they had always been there. If you want the best of past Guitar Hero and some new perks to keep things fresh, 5 should do it with ease.