Guitar Hero 5 Review

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Wanna be a rock superstar?


Having delivered some of the most audacious thrills in gaming history, it’s hard to imagine how Guitar Hero could get any better. But in polishing every aspect of the poodle-permed Simon Says formula, the developers behind this latest edition have once again cranked the volume up to 11, and beyond.

The biggest change in this fifth outing is that most modes now let players rock in any way they like and mix up the instruments, allowing you to have four drummers, four vocalists, three bassists and a lead guitar, or whatever blend of cute plastic controllers takes your fancy. Individual Star Power meters in the delirious multiplayer mode also help make the already-hilarious head-to-head action even funnier, but the slickest multiplayer addition is the Party Play mode that allows players to drop in and out of songs without bringing the action grinding to a halt. And with the addition of new song challenges spread across both the single and multiplayer modes that give you access to hidden costumes and guitars if you achieve certain goals during tracks, it’ll take months of fret-rattling action before you’re able to see all the treasures GH5 has to offer.

Like all rhythm action games, of course, GH5 will live or die based on its music selection, and the list of tracks it offers is varied enough to keep most wannabe guitar gods gurning; from hard drivin’ tracks from Nirvana, Megadeth and Motley Crue to the pop-perfection of Duran Duran, Gorillaz and No Doubt – via genuine classics from Bob Dylan, Iggy Pop and David Bowie, to name but a few – GH5’s selection of tunes is spot on, and will have all but the most stalwart curmudgeon grinning from ear to ear. But the real killer is the virtual appearance of a handful of licensed music heroes who’ve long since shuffled off this mortal coil, including guest slots from Kurt Cobain and Johnny Cash, the closest many younger players will ever come to the joyous feeling of seeing these legends in the flesh.

For those unconvinced by the Guitar Hero formula, there’s little here to seduce haters and so it’s hard to award the game an elusive fifth star. But, for fans of the hard rockin’, head bangin’, air-punchin’ series, Guitar Hero 5 is still a sublime treat.