After waiting in line at Game Stop, with 16 other metal geeks, for the stroke of midnight, Guitar Hero Metallica for the Nintendo Wii was finally in my hands. Following reckless speeding, hours of late night gaming, bleeding, sweating, and joyous tearing, it became clear that this is the best of the franchise to date.
Why is GH Metallica better than World Tour? One area of improvement can be seen in “career” mode where you can play one song at a time instead of being forced into five songs per gig, which is time consuming if you only have, say, 10 minutes to play. The game screen also contains a new star ranking meter that displays how many stars you have earned while playing the song, rather than waiting for the song to be completed. “Quickplay” mode is fairly identical in format except the song selection is far superior to World Tour—there is not a bad song on the song list—no boring and wasteful bands such as Interpol, Coldplay, and Oasis. Instead the loser bands have been replaced by Slayer, Machine Head, and Corrosion of Conformity to name a few. You can also play as Lemmy of Motörhead and King Diamond!
Double-bass drum option: In “expert+” mode, you can now perform the faster thrash tracks on the drums, the way they are meant to be played. Remember how awkward performing “Pull Me Under” was in World Tour? The second bass drum pedal (sold separately) remedies this issue, however it does take some time to get used to this option for us non-drummers. Read how to set them up here.
Portrayal of the Metallica culture: Career mode begins with Metallica walking to the arena stage with “Ecstasy of Gold” pumping in the background, adding to the anticipation of the band’s performance. You then perform two songs as Metallica before the story begins. Basically, you have to prove yourself a worthy opening act for Metallica, while the devil tries to strike a deal with the Hall-of-Fame legends. You play tunes from Bob Seger, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Thin Lizzy as you earn stars to achieve the Metallica level. The detail of the band is another highlight of the game. From the band’s live mannerisms, stage setup, classic tours, and the authenticity of the instruments (such as the hysterical ping sound on Ulrich’s snare drum during “Frantic”), to the head banging signature “scary guy” on the load screen, the game-makers did it the right way!
The Flaw: There was a lot of Internet talk about the band’s decision to not include legendary bassist Cliff Burton and former bassist Jason Newstead in the game. It is still disappointing, but I still have confidence that they will one day create the characters for download, but I am a wishful thinker.
Guitar Hero Metallica is the best of the GH franchise because of the improvements in game-play, double bass drum playability, and the song list, however, the lack of Burton and Newstead prevent the game from achieving total perfection. A
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