Last week I went to a secret central London location to have a shred at Guitar Hero: Metallica. I stuck my nose up at Aerosmith and went ‘meh’ at Guitar Hero: World Tour because I was holding out for the big one: the nearest I’d get to Metallica playing in my front room.
The game is essentially World Tour, but with a lot more accessible gameplay. In career mode you play one of ‘Tallica Jnr, a support band with ambitions to support the big ‘M’. In this way you chug your way through 45 songs ranging from Metallica’s back catalogue to the band’s handpicked ‘support’ tracks by Slayer, Motorhead, Thin Lizzie and even Bob Seger.
But if you just want to dip in, it’s a much better game than World Tour. It’s much easier to progress, and you need fewer stars than before to unlock songs. But hardcore GH players won’t be put off as the new Expert + level in the drums takes it up a level.
My most praise, however, goes to the overall look of the game. Gone is the glam-rock frivolity of previous versions, replaced by a darker, more metal look. The avatars of the band look great, especially after you see the making-of-the-game videos of Metallica miming in motion shoots.
There’s loads of unlockable fan videos, including never-seen-before secret gigs and stadium shows as well as your usual complement of poodle haircuts to customise your character.
My only gripe is that the Guitar Hero studio hasn’t been updated past a few new sounds. However, there’s an excellent version of Metallica’s cover of Whiskey In The Jar to be played.
It won’t be everyone’s favourite game. It helps if you’re already a Metallica fan like me or if you’re a metalhead, generally. But the riffy nature of metal does lend itself better to the Guitar Hero controller: there’s more chugging and less wailing, and solos are more satisfying to crack.
Check out the Stuff.tv vidcast for a video review.