the Horn Farm Paste Mob

Guitar Hero III (PS2)

The whole game has a Woodstock ’99 feel to it– both the desperation with which it imitates some of its predecessors’ details, and the creepy, mindless sexism. Missing punctuation on the between-song jokes, a dumber-looking lead singer, constant in-game advertising, bonus tracks that I assume labels paid to have included… almost nothing about Guitar Hero III fails to insult its audience. The only improvement is in gameplay on the higher difficulty levels, where profuse three-finger chords and variation in level design provide a lot more fun than Guitar Hero II did. Fun matters more than anything else, but I’m not sure it matters more than EVERYTHING else.

And, inexplicably, the final battle was designed with the same flaw Guitar Hero II’s finale had: it starts with a section that’s too easy, followed by one that’s too hard. So you end up playing the boring part over and over again, punctuated with moments of intense frustration cut short by failure.

Toward the end of the original Guitar Hero, one of the semi-randomized load screens said something like “At some point, you may want to consider getting a real guitar.” This struck me as graceful, even affectionate. Guitar Hero III only makes one reference to the juncture between game and reality, but it’s this: “Real guitar players don’t play sitting down on the couch.” Ha! Take that, person who just gave us $50!

So I hear Rock Band is supposed to be pretty good.


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