Guitar Hero: Metallica Review

Written by Harry Butler

May 31, 2009 | 12:23

Tags: #guitar #guitar-hero #hero #metal #metallica #played #review #setlist

Companies: #activision-blizzard #game #rock

All Nightmare Long

Structurally, it's very similar to previous Guitar Hero games, but, mercifully, you’re not forced to slog through dozens of rubbish tracks in career mode just to unlock all the decent songs – unlocks come thick and fast and before long you’ll have all the available Metallica tracks ready to annihilate your fingers/hands/vocal chords with.

Other than the new set list and motion-captured likenesses of the band (which we must say are excellent) this is still business as usual for Guitar Hero though and gameplay-wise there’s little new here that isn’t already in Guitar Hero: World Tour. While that game did bring a few new tweaks to the franchise, anyone who’s played a previous Guitar Hero game will know the score.

Just as with World Tour, if you have a full set of instruments you can also play the tracks as a full band, and masters of the drum kit controller can look forward to a new Expert+ difficulty level which supports twin kick drum pedals (although a second pedal is, sadly, not included) - it's just a shame this difficulty isn't available for the other instruments.

Guitar Hero: Metallica Review Sad But True or Master of Puppets?

It’s all well and good talking about set lists and unlocks, but they’re no use if the game itself isn’t fun and we’re happy to report that Guitar Hero is still just as brilliantly entertaining as it ever was. With four (five for drummers) difficulty levels there’s an entry point for even the most meek of game guitar players (hey Joe!) while still offering challenge regardless of your level of experience – and when the game says Expert it really means it.

This makes for some epically rewarding gameplay, especially at higher difficulty levels where pulling off a complex solo section flawlessly, be it on drums, guitar or bass, can bring an almost unrivalled feeling of elation, and is only bettered by the fact you’re doing it to one of your favourite songs.

Guitar Hero: Metallica Review Sad But True or Master of Puppets?

Of course, taking that first step towards playing Guitar Hero or Rock Band, especially when looking to grab the full band kits, is still an expensive past-time. At time of writing the Guitar Hero wireless drum kit alone costs £80, while the full band kit will set you back a whopping £135. While the Rock Band “band in a box” (which is also compatible with Guitar Hero) is cheaper at £85, that’s still a sizable wedge considering those prices don’t even include a game. The wallet-impact is lessened by the availability of a guitar and game bundle available for Guitar Hero: Metallica for £70 - but either way you're spending a lot of moolah!Guitar Hero: Metallica Review Sad But True or Master of Puppets?

In the end, your enjoyment of Guitar Hero: Metallica will simply come down to your music taste and you’ll likely have decided long ago if you're going to like this game or not. If you haven't, then ask yourself: do you like Metallica and Guitar Hero? If you’re not so hot on Metallica the band then Metallica the game understandably loses a lot of appeal, and the twenty guest acts and unchanged Guitar Hero formula really aren’t enough to justify the purchase or convince past sceptics of the worth of rhythm games.

If the answer is yes to both though then it’s an easy recommendation, being brilliantly presented and packing a veritable “best of” set list that’ll delight even a casual ‘Tallica fan whilst keeping all the challenge and fun that’s made Guitar Hero so enormously popular in the first place. The feeling of actually playing a guitar (even if you are just fingering five brightly coloured buttons and a clicky strum bar) is as compelling as and even more convincing than ever before. If you’re a fan of both the band and the franchise then this really is the best match made in Metal Heaven that you can expect to find until Brutal Legend hits shelves later this year.

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