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    Linky's GameLog for Guitar Hero III (PS3)

    Tuesday 15 January, 2008


    In Guitar Hero 3, the player controls a "Guitar Hero" in his journey to stardom. It is played with a "guitar" controller rather than a standard controller, and has many elements unique to the game. It contains a career mode, practice mode that allows you to split the song up and practice small portions at varying speeds, a multiplayer mode, "battle" mode with powerups, and an online mode. In Guitar Hero, a "fret bar" scrolls down the screen with notes on it. Players strive to hit each note and strum at the correct time, using tools such as Hammer On's and Pull Off's to aid them.


    The gameplay in Guitar Hero 3 is extremely unique and improved from Guitar Hero 2. I've been playing Guitar Hero since a few months after Guitar Hero 2 came out, and the series has never lost my interest. Usually, when I play Guitar Hero I am extremely happy and focused. This time, I chose to work on Through the Fire and the Flames on expert. The song is extremely difficult and requires the introduction to be "tapped." The games characters and story are unimportant, and career mode is just a tool to keep track of song scores and unlock new songs or earn money. The game is an amazing amount of fun to play, and can be extremely social. When two people play each other on multiplayer mode, there is usually alot of trash talk and interaction between the players.
    The game is also fun to play in front of friends or crowds, and lends itself to hardcore players and tournaments. While working on the song I was playing, I hit the entire intro without hitting a note, and there was a huge sense of accomplishment for me (here is a video of someone else doing that intro, as I don't have a camera) There was a definite experience of flow in the game, and players can play for hours without getting bored. In the hour I played, I played 8 of my favorite songs and improved my top score on 2 of them. Instead of using characters, story, and narration to make the game interesting, Guitar Hero 3 relies solely on gameplay itself. I find there is alot of skill involved, and many instances of rewards and positive feedback, including score, the star system, and the "video crowd."

    Gameplay 2

    For my second hour playing the game, I chose to focus on Full Clearing two songs I have been close to for a while. I switched characters from the Elvis-like player to Slash, one of the heros of Guitar Hero. One of the things that Guitar Hero 3 incorporates that Guitar Hero 2 does not is boss battles and Heros, such as Slash and Lou, the devil. After accomplishing my first goal, which made me feel satisfied and happy, I decided to change and try one of the boss battles.
    The boss battles are an important part of the game, and one part that many people have trouble with and do not enjoy. This is one of the parts I have a qualm with, as the opponents do not miss a single note until you use a powerup, in which case they miss almost every note. It simply does not seem realistic that someone like Slash would miss every single note because of a whammy bar getting stuck, a single broken string, or being forced to play left-handed. The power-up system is something I discovered to be new in Guitar Hero 3, and can make a big difference in the multiplayer mode.
    I decided to play a few multiplayer matches with a friend next. While I am much better than him at the game, players are able to select different levels of difficulty and still play against each other. While I like the power-up system, and there is strategy in using them at the correct time, some of them are much more debilitating, and I feel it takes much of the skill out of the game. I started having much less fun playing in these battles, and started to play a simple one on one, where each person has a note chart, which is the same unless the players are on different difficulties, and the players play to achieve the higher score. It takes some of the gimmick out of the game, which probably amuses the beginner players, but adds more of the skill element that is important to the most serious players. Overall I always enjoy my time playing Guitar Hero and find it a rewarding way to waste my free time, and even compete with other players. I would love to play others online, and try the online mode, where there is a ranking ladder, but I have the Playstation 2 version which isn't compatible with the online mode. The Playstation 2 mode also lacks the ability to download new songs and charts like the other versions have.


    The game as a whole never gets boring because there is always room to improve. For the beginner players, a player can work on completing songs and ramping up difficulty. For good players, that can pass most songs on expert, there is correct usage of the Star Power mechanic. Because star power gives double score while activated, and you cannot achieve more Star Power while you have any, Star Power timing is critical, to the point that many players will chart the song and mathematically calculate the best use of Star Power. For the expert players, there is, and many of the expert players try to FC (full clear, or 100%) each song (I currently have 15 on guitar hero 3 and 12 on Guitar Hero 2). Scorehero keeps track of the top scores on each song, your ranking in comparison to the other players of the game, and has a forum where people can talk about Star Power usage, accomplishments, Leagues, and many other things. This game has generated a cult following because no one expected much when it first came out (Neversoft didn't even make the first two, rather one of their smaller sub-companies did). Most of the songs were covers because they couldn't afford the rights to the real songs. However, the games unique aspects made it extremely enjoyable and one of the biggest hits in years.
    One of the elements that makes Guitar Hero so unique is the controller. Rhythm and guitar games aren't new, and some of them were even fun and interesting to me, such as Amplitude. Amplitude even integrates multiple tracks and multiple instruments, but just doesn't have the elements that Guitar Hero does. The first important element is Star Power; because of Star Power, two people who hit the exact same notes can have vastly different scores on a song. Another is the guitar controller. I have tried playing without the guitar controller, but it was clunky and just not as fun. The guitar controller is incredibly well made, and simple yet elegant. It allows players to effectively and naturally start the game. Guitar Hero can also suit casual to expert gamers. Because Scorehero keeps track of scores, many serious or hardcore players (even players who get paid to play and play tournaments) can talk and keep track of their accomplishments. This competition has pushed Guitar Hero to a new level of skill - some of the songs that the game maker deemed "impossible" to get 100% on have recently been Full Cleared. A famous player, HellAshes, who has been on TV multiple times, has even won a car. Here is a video of him Full Clearing Jordan by Buckethead, one of the songs deemed impossible by Neversoft. The hammer on/pull off system is also essential to the game, making it much more akin to real guitar, and giving it the feel of a real guitar. A player that is able to successfully hammer on/pull off gets a huge sense of accomplishment. This also allows many impossible songs to be completed, and even allows for "tapping" which involves hitting the fret buttons with both hands and not strumming, much like a real guitar. For example, in the video posted above, the insane solos must be tapped ( The hammer on/pull off system in Guitar Hero 3 has been changed to make the timing window more lenient and to make them easier to see. In Guitar Hero 2, they were difficult to see because the only difference was a small black circle missing, whereas in Guitar Hero 3 the whole note is see-through if the note can be hammered on or pulled off. The ability to slow down songs to four different levels and practice at slower speeds is essential in many solos. I believe Guitar Hero is so successful because it caters to so many different types of gamers. It has the "near impossible" elements for hardcore gamers but can also cater to those just getting started, or at any level of skill.


    (Nicolas Kent - Grader)

    In the future, please put spaces between your paragraphs and post this as two separate log entries.

    Good analysis of guitar hero III.

    Saturday 19 January, 2008 by Jade
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