Review

Guitar Hero: Metallica Review (PS3)

The Guitar Hero franchise may be outselling Rock Band by more than 2-to-1, but both Rock Band titles scored higher, by us, than their Guitar Hero counterparts. It looked like Harmonix just got it, and that Neversoft couldn’t keep up. Maybe Lars just wasn’t happy with how Guitar Hero was, because Metallica has turned things around.

Disregard your love, hate, or love-hate relationship with the ever-popular Metallica. With a daring start into an immediate performance of “For Whom the Bell Tolls”, players are introduced to something unique. This isn’t last year’s Guitar Hero. This is Guitar Hero: Metallica, and it’s the best music game out.


Metallica just looks excellent on stage. Their performance rivals real ones.
This of course means that there has to be pyro. Lots and lots of pyro.

Metallica’s music, to your liking or not, has touched your life in some way. It’s impossible to not have heard at least one of their songs in this game (which can’t be said for the twenty other artists). If it is to your liking, then GH: Metallica is the perfect homage to the band.

Rocking out has never been easier. Sound like a PR line? It probably is, but it’s true. With the exception of the missing “Call of Ktulu” (co-written with former Metallica guitarist Dave Mustaine, which is probably why it’s missing), there’s enough metal to grow weary and tired of. Nobody said head-banging was easy!

On every instrument Metallica shines. Long guitar solos, heavy bass sections, intense high-speed drumming and the grungy, hard and soft vocal make the setlist nearly perfect. All of the Metallica songs will appeal to one group of Metallica fans or another (the older- or newer-style). It’s the additional artists that are questionable.

Sure, all the songs have either influenced or inspired Metallica in some way, but Bob Seger’s “Turn the Page”? The Foo Fighters’ “Stacked Actors”? Even Queen’s “Stone Cold Killers”, which Metallica covered on their Garage, Inc. album is a questionable choice for the given crowd. I felt out of place playing many of the songs because they were almost ridiculously different from the main Metallica setlist. All songs do not rock out the same.


Surprisingly, the rest of Guitar Hero's cast and created characters look and move excellently too. No more robot drummers!
Just in case Expert isn't hard enough, try Expert+ for the drums. That way you can drum just like Lars...with both feet.

It isn’t Metallica playing these songs on stage, mind you. Guitar Hero’s create-a-character let’s you make an avatar to jam on stage for you, and this time they’re just as fluid as the motion-captured band. No, they don’t have Metallica signature moves, but for the first time on-stage performances are more realistic than those from Rock Band 2. Meaning no more robotic drumming.

Considering how good the avatars look, Metallica would have to act like they would onstage, and they do. Watching James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett and Robert Trujillo perform is marvelous. Whether Nerversoft did an exceptional job at animations or literally had the band perform every song for them in skin-tight motion capture suits, I don’t care. All I know is that the only thing better would be seeing them live.

Because it’s Metallica, there are also a ton of extras. The drums have an “Expert+” gaming mode, which almost requires a second foot pedal to replicate Lars going mad on the drums. As with GH: World Tour, music creation and sharing is available, so making or downloading music is easy. Concert footage, behind-the-scenes videos, picture galleries, lyrics to all songs, and even random Metallica facts made the final cut. If there’s something about Metallica you wanted to know, it’s somewhere on this disc.

There are some slight disappointments, however. The drum tutorial is not nearly sufficient for anyone using the Guitar Hero drums for the first time, and by now something similar to Rock Band 2’s drum trainer is a no-brainer. The in-game story is also severely lacking, and it feels like the animations are placed just so there would technically be a story. Finally, only Metallica’s latest album, Death Magnetic, is available to download from the store. There is no transferring or playing other songs with GH: Metallica.

Star progress, where the number of stars earned corresponds to the venues and songs available, is an excellent system which doesn’t force players to beat every single song. On Expert, the later songs become so difficult that, even with an excellent knowledge of the song, I wasn’t able to beat them. Smartly, Neversoft made the last venue and song easier than the prior venue’s setlist, so beating the game doesn’t require completing every song. Sure, it’s a technicality, but it’s a nice one.


Hero of the hour, every hour.
Don't be surprised to find some special guest appearances. There are a few, and they're good. Motion capture and all.

GH: Metallica is also the most widely compatible rhythm game available on any system. It supports online play with a band like World Tour, has one-on-one matches, and even features new battle attacks specific to Metallica.


If you play rhythm games, you owe it to yourself to try Guitar Hero: Metallica. It has some of the best made venues (based off of actual performances), the best onstage performances we’ve ever seen in any game, a good soundtrack, and it’s the best metal game out. Metallica is definitely The Thing That Should Be.

Best game moment:
Drumming and singing ”Nothing Else Matters“ on hard at the same time, and getting five stars.

Game advertisements by <a href="http://www.game-advertising-online.com" target="_blank">Game Advertising Online</a> require iframes.

Videos

Comments

By Ska (I just got here) on Apr 08, 2009
Ska
If only there was an appearance of Cliff Burton when you played some older songs. =/
By Jamez (SI Newbie) on Apr 08, 2009
Jamez
Cliff Burton would indeed have been nice, but the band felt that putting him in, other than just being weird, would have diminished Robert Trujillo's appearance as a full fledged bandmember. I agree with them on that...but still.
By BoneArc (SI Elite) on Apr 10, 2009
BoneArc
o coool Guitar hero Metalica is a great Idea

My best Friend that is a girl is so into Metalica that she listens to it everyday and has T-shirts of it EVEN wallpapers everywhere LOL!
SO i bet alot of people like metalica
including me

its gona be a hit!
By stuntkid (SI Elite) on Apr 10, 2009
stuntkid
They'll probably have Cliff Burton as a DLC/ Special Guest/ unlockable character? I mean, Metallica fans would LOVE that!

BoneArc - I also have a friend who is a girl and she's mad about Metallica and Black Sabbath etc, haha.
By Wowerine (SI Elite) on Apr 14, 2009
Wowerine
I'm mad about metal! :D
I own this game, my score: 9,2 of 10. Because of the short song list. I'm sad I didn't play some of the mad songs from Kill 'Em All: Phantom Lord. :)
By slaythat (SI Veteran Member) on Apr 15, 2009
slaythat
Guitar Hero: Metallica is a juiced-up track pack likely to please both solo guitarists and full-on bands.

The Good:
Great array of Metallica songs Solid setlist includes plenty of other acts Good Metallica-flavored extras New level of challenge for expert drummers.
The Bad:
Not a great value Only supports Death Magnetic DLC.
By melzerith (SI Core) on Jun 24, 2009
melzerith
What happened to learning to play a real guitar? Is there a shortage of Strings? I knew it China has stopped making guitar strings. RUN for the hills The worlds gonna end man! Where all fuct Meow
By PyrettaBlaze (SI Veteran Member) on Nov 05, 2009
PyrettaBlaze
Not really a big fan of Metallica, but they do have some cool songs that I wouldn't mind playing.