David Klein On December 1, 2009 at 6:34 am

On its 5th installment and 2nd developer, the Guitar Hero franchise has been a mainstay in the gaming ecosystem. Game after the game the franchise continues to be a cash cow for Activision but good sales doesn’t exactly directly translate to quality games. The question to ponder is whether Neversoft has let the quality of the franchise slip with its constant iterations or if the game series is as strong as ever.

While innovation is great, the place you’ll be unlikely to find it in a rhythm game is in the graphics and to be quite honest I don’t really expect them to spend much time on it. Before I talk the graphics themselves I just want to make sure to remind everyone how useless they are in a rhythm game, you’re not even give them a second of thought unless you’re on the spectators to the game. Now with that pretext about how graphics aren’t important, they look absolutely great with all the characters models being superb and for the purposes of keeping the onlooker happy while they listen to the music it definitely does the job. While The Beatles: Rock Band still reigns supreme in visual, Guitar Hero 5 manages to look really good.

The track list delivers with a variety of bands that should be enough appease any rock music fan. With songs ranging from "2 Minutes to Midnight" by Iron Maiden to "Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting" you’ve got 85 songs from dozens of well known musicians. Since the release of Guitar Hero World Tour, the selection of DLC has been steadily growing and offers a lot more songs to an already jam-packed game. The game let’s you import songs from your Guitar Hero World Tour and Guitar Hero Smash Hits discs but it costs $3.50 and it doesn’t even import half the songs which is pretty disappointing. The tracks themselves are high quality studio qualities and sound great, so that’s isn’t much a worry.

Guitar Hero 5 been filled with plenty of different gaming modes to keep you busy. The game lets jump into the game as soon the game loads in Party Mode and let’s player join, leave and change their settings at their leisure making it perfect for parties where people have had enough and you don’t have to wait until the end of the song to swap in another player. In this game mode there are also no restrictions on how many of each instrument can be played, so you could have 4 drums tracks at once if you really wanted so there longer to the need to argue over who gets to play what instrument. I had no problem using any of my previous plastic instruments and it functioned well no matter what I tried. The game has moved the star power meter from Guitar Hero World Tour with the group meter to something like Rock Band where each player has their own individual star power meter. The game has a second multiplayer mode called Rockfest which has variety of stipulations that can be added to the multiplayer game which help keep it interesting for those who have already played these types of rhythm games to death. The career mode found in the game returns to something like you found in Guitar Hero 3 where you complete a selection of songs though needing a certain amount of total stars and then move on, its alright if you just want to play through the game and unlock ingame items but not exactly that big of a draw. There’s some challenges in the career mode as well where you have to accomplish certain objectives in some songs but they are largely uninteresting.

Guitar Hero 5 largely succeeds at providing you with your next fix of plastic guitar playing fun. The game adds a few things to make it easier to play making it even better for parties than ever and adds some specialized modes for the more advanced player in the Rockfest multiplayer mode. If you’re bored with the whole genre there’s still no moving past this is more of the same but if you’re not then there’s a lot to love here.  Guitar Hero 5 isn’t making drastic changes but it’s a great evolution in the series justifying it’s purchase for yet another year.


What is there to say, this is Guitar Hero, you’ve got a bunch of plastic instruments and you press buttons like it says on the screen.


Everything about the graphics looks great no matter how superficial and fairly useless it is


All the tracks are great studio quality tracks and the game has great selection of different rock songs.


Guitar Hero is an solid effort by Neversoft and is a great purchase for the rhythm game addict.

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