Guitar Hero was released two years ago, with a simple idea: Allow anyone, regardless of musical talent, to pick up a guitar and jam to awesome classic rock music. Think air guitar, only instead of playing on "air" you strum and press "target" notes to obtain a score. Three versions later, and a company takeover, Guitar Hero 3 has arrived, and is available for Wii, as well as XBOX 360, PS3 and PS2. Although the concept hasn't changed from GH2, there are some new features in the latest installment of the phenomenon series.
On all platforms, GH3 introduces a new guitar, the wireless Gibson Les Paul, at $89.99 on Wii and PS2, and $99.99 on XBOX 360 and PS3. The guitar features removable faceplates featuring bands like KISS, Korn and Panic at the Disco, available separately. The Wii's guitar is different from the rest in that you place a Wiimote inside to transfer the guitar motions to the system. This sounds like a pain, but it is actually no more difficult than plugging in a Wii's nunchuck. The Wii version also exclusively features rumble and sound that come from the Wiimote inside the guitar.
GH3 is the third game on the Wii to take advantage of Nintendo's WiFi online service, which doesn't cost a dime (unlike Microsoft's XBOX Live). You can compete online against strangers, friends and "foes." To play against friends, you must exchange a friend code that the Wii creates for your system. Otherwise, you can choose to play against a stranger, to whom you are randomly assigned online. There is also the option to play face to face against your friends, although extra Wii guitars are hard to come by. Extra guitars are so far are only offered online at toysrus.com for a steep price of $59.99. (The guitar and game bundle is available everyone else for only $30 more.) It is expected that extra guitars will start popping up around the holiday season.
The GH3 song selection is by far better than the previous GH versions, including songs by Guns N' Roses, The Rolling Stones, The Killers, The Beastie Boys, Smashing Pumpkins and many more. The songs on "hard" and "expert" mode are more difficult to play than songs from prior versions.
The XBOX 360 and PS3 have some downloadable content that is not yet available for the Wii version. Activision, the new producer of GH3, says they are working on it, but a release date for improved Wii service is unknown. Also, the graphics won't be as impressive on the Wii as, as the Wii supports a maximum of 480p, which doesn't come close to the 1,080p graphics of the XBOX 360 and PS3. Wii graphics resemble the PS2's.
Music fans and gamers should strongly consider buying GH3 or upgrading to if they have an earlier version. "Guitar Hero 3" is the best installment in the series, and one of the best games out there. If you don't pick it up, you're depriving yourself of serious fun.
Bill Markarian is a junior at Williamsvile North.