- I got my car back, finally. It does not have the appearance of something that has been worked on for a month. It has the appearance of something that his been not worked on for 29 days and then quickly thrown together minutes before the deadline.
- Is anyone running OSX Leopard yet? I’m curious to know how you like it.
- Readers of this space may recall how I mentioned that, as much as I desperately, painfully wanted to, I was going to hold off on buying Guitar Hero III, because I’m swamped with freelance assignments and I didn’t want to be distracted. But then I remembered: I don’t sleep anymore! That gives me an extra eight hours a day! So I went to GameStop, picked that fucker up, wrote for six hours, and then busted out the guitar controller. Follows my review.
To be perfectly honest, I don’t like it that much – with the caveat that what I’m referring to is the new iteration. The game itself hasn’t changed much, and that’s good, because it’s one of the most fun games I’ve ever played in my life. And I think the song selection this time out is stronger than it is in GHII, which makes a world of difference.
BUT: The character design is dildos. I far prefer the exaggerated, fakey look of GHII to Neversoft’s grotesque pseudo-realism.
HOWEVER: The new costume choices and “styles” are lots of fun, even though, given the fact that I don’t like the overall look of the game, this is clearly a “the food is terrible, but what big portions!” scenario.
BUT: The overall look of the game is kinda crummy. The design is okay, but not as good in the previous version; the movements of the various characters isn’t as interesting and varied as it was; and the crowd movement is really samey and suffers in comparison to the previous iteration.
HOWEVER: I really dig the cut-scenes. They’re well-animated, clever and funny. I wish there were more of them.
BUT: Some of the songs are pretty laughable. The ‘rerecorded’ punk classics, “Anarchy in the UK” and “Holiday in Cambodia”, are ‘rerecorded’ to feature a bunch of fiddly, silly guitar solos which make the songs harder to play, in game terms, but add nothing to the experience of listening to them and in fact kind of destroy what was so fun about them. The imitation vocalists are notably worse this time around, too – the Jello Biafra impersonator is laughably bad, as is the guy who does the vocals in the ZZ Top cover, and the cover of “Paranoid” is just ridiculous.
HOWEVER: There’s a lot more original songs, and some of them are a straight-up blast. They’ve also done something fairly clever: in different songs, different instruments are brought up or down in the mix, forcing you to use your ears as well as your hands and your sense of rhythm. For example, in “Paranoid”, the drums are mixed really high, which can fool you into playing along with the rhythm instead of the lead if you’re not careful, and in “Paint It, Black”, the sitarish lead is way high in the mix so you really have to pay attention to the individual notes.
BUT: The songs continue to be censored (with no way to play them on an ‘adult’ setting, which is just asinine. There should at least be a removable parental lock or something. Sometimes the edit is really clumsy and obvious (like the sudden, rhythm-destroying blank in “Rock You Like a Hurricane”), and sometimes it’s subtle but still moronic (in “Holiday in Cambodia”, there’s this idiotic lyric: “Braggin’ that you know how the rivers feel cold”.
HOWEVER: Pretty great selection of guitars, if you care about that sort of thing. And the songs you can buy are pretty good.
BUT: I really don’t care for the Boss Battles. I don’t hate them or anything, they just seem to have wandered in from another game.
HOWEVER: A big fear of mine, that they would make the game substantially harder to appeal to the hardcore 10%ers, didn’t come true. The gameplay is essentially exactly the same, and even improved in at least one way – it takes less motion to activate Star Power, which means you’re less likely to be taken out of your rhythm and fuck up. And, of course, that means that your skills from the previous version transfer over. I played one game last night – a career mode at Medium setting – and almost finished (I couldn’t get passed the “Devil Went Down to Georgia” Boss Battle, and I seriously doubt I will for another couple of months – it’s hard as fuck). It’s good to learn that you don’t have to start from scratch with this one.
BUT: A handful of really good songs are only unlockable in Co-Op mode, which is a bummer if you’re a friendless loser like me.
HOWEVER: The downloadable content looks fantastic, if I can ever get my fucking Live connection to work again.
BUT: I really, really hate the fanservice aspect of the game. I don’t like the character design in the first place – all the female character have become extremely busty – and Midori is a total piece of stroke material, but they’ve even turned hardcore rock ‘n’ roller Casey Lynch into a piece of cheesecake. And come the fuck on – go-go girls? Pathetic. If I want to jerk off, I’ve got porn, don’t insult me by putting it in my simulated guitar game.
HOWEVER: While, overall, I’m pretty disappointed with the new aspects of the game, it’s still fun as hell to play. It’s just such a pure blast to hop around and work out your fingers playing the original versions of “Paint It, Black”, “Slow Ride”, “Kool Thing”, and “One”, I can’t even tell you. It really is the closest a lot of us will get to being a guitar god, and there aint’ nothing wrong with that.
- Oh yeah, happy Halloween.