We got to spend plenty of time with Activision's Guitar Hero III at their press centre as the press presence during the weekend at Games Convention ranges from nonexistant to a mere smattering of aromatic Europeans. While there's little to add to the amazingly successful Guitar Hero formula, Neversoft has certainly tried to make it their own, revamping portions of the game's HUD and adding the new Battle Mode.
They've also made the game seemingly much easier, even at Expert level difficulty. Using the new wireless Gibson Les Paul controllers, I found myself pulling off solo note sequences with ease, possibly a bit too much ease. Hammer-ons and pull-offs feel more forgiving than ever. Nice for noobs looking to faux shred, but it might not sit well with the more skilled.We got a chance to play through many of the newly revealed European skewed tracks, but finally got our hands on some old favourites including Tenacious D's "The Metal", Pearl Jam's "Even Flow" and Priestess' "Lay Down." While we struggled through some unfamiliar tracks like "Hier Kommt Alex" by Die Toten Hosen and "Avalancha" by HÃ©roes del Silencio, we rocked everything else like a hurricane.
While I suspect that many of the note charts aren't final, I was puzzled by the lack of Star Power fuelling notes on some tracks. There were many songs that would've only resulted in a single use of the multiplier doubler. Hopefully, those note charts will be addressed before final release.
Mark Wilson, Brian Crecente and I also went head-to-head with the new Battle Mode, a feature I found to suck virtually all the enjoyment out of the game. Some players may want to invest the time to mix up their Face-Offs and Pro Face-Offs, but I pretty much plan on avoiding this new addition like the plague.
After countless hours with the first three Guitar Hero games, Legends of Rock will still get my money. Hardcore plastic shredders will probably want to pay close attention to final impressions before they buy in.